Last night Chrissy and I went to go see Life of Pi. I read the novel years ago and loved it, and reread it this summer, still adored it and completely fell in love with the film.
I’ve talked before about how important I believe stories are. I always have, and Life of Pi underscores that. I’ve been thinking about stories a lot recently and I was so glad to have this frame of reference. I started thinking about it when I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and then Jimmy Buffett’s A Salty Piece of Land.
Now, at first glance these three stories have nothing to do with one another. Life of Pi is an epic parable about one man’s relationship with God. American Gods is a modern classic about the nature of an immigrant nation. And A Salty Piece of Land is about lighthouses written by the same man who gave us “Cheeseburger in Paradise” let alone the Margaritaville Empire.
But all three focus on the power of stories. Pi Patel relates his story to our unnamed author, and then tells him a second story. (I won’t spoil, it’s a phenomenal twist) He asks the author, “Which story do you prefer?” and the author chooses which version he considers the truth. The protagonist of American Gods, Shadow learns that stories are powerful enough to harness energy. The stories the immigrants brought over to America with them manifested in the creatures that are having such a profound affect on his life. Tully, the cowboy sailor lighthouse keeper at the center of A Salty Piece of Land, uses stories as a way to frame his own experience in the Caribbean.
It’s the stories that are the important part, and I kind of love that.