I’m not exactly known for my patience with stories that want to be spiritual. In novels like this it somehow comes out worse because if you read it without looking for it you get a pretty straightforward story. The story itself is interesting, though the first part of the novel is more a deluge of information about zoos and religion than it is about any true character development, while still being a great reason for him to know the things he knows.
The second part gets more interesting, though the back and forth for the first few chapters within it bothered me, as if Martel wrote it out of order and decided to just keep it that way. The interactions between Patel and the tiger are interesting and believable in many ways. Sometimes the imagination has to be stretched to the limits to believe what has just happened, but it still is told well.
The ending, and a slight reveal, actually gave it a horror vibe while not being a horror novel. It was well done and you think to yourself, “I’d have rather read the story I did read.”
So I liked this novel. Why 3 stars? Because this was supposed to be a spiritual journey and I read it pretty straightforward without really ever getting that feel. It’s a great source of information told in a story. It’s an interesting fight of survival, but spiritual? I just didn’t get the vibe. Beautiful, sad, and destructive it did well, but trying to capture anything beyond it and it seems forced. As a story this is a 4 star novel. As something more, which it wanted to be, it lost a star rating.
Reasons to Read:
- You are fed information while in a story, you’ll learn something and not realize it’s what’s happening
- The interactions are interesting and it’s well told
- Piscine Patel is actually a very intelligent and sweet character who goes to lengths we have to wonder if we would in the same situation
Reasons Not to Read:
- The feel the novel wants you to have is only truly apparent by searching through it
- You might be thrown off by the ending