Quotes by Yann Martel

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So you want another story?" Uhh... no. We would like to know what really happened." Doesn't the telling of something always become a story?" Uhh... perhaps in English. In Japanese a story would have an element of invention in it. We don't want any invention. We want the 'straight facts,' as you say in English." Isn't telling about something-using words, English or Japanese-already something of an invention? Isn't just looking upon this world already something of an invention? more...

Oncoming death is terrible enough, but worse still is oncoming death with time to spare, time in which all the happiness that was yours and all the happiness that might have been yours becomes clear to you. You see with utter lucidity all that you are losing. more...

It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. more...

That's what fiction is about, isn't it, the selective transforming of reality? The twisting of it to bring out its essence? more...

I cannot think of a better way to spread the faith. No thundering from a pulpit, no condemnation from bad churches, no peer pressure, just a book of scripture quietly waiting to say hello, as gentle and powerful as a little girl's kiss on your cheek. more...

I am reminded of a story of Lord Krishna when he was a cowherd. Every night he invites the milkmaids to dance with him in the forest. They come and they dance. The night is dark, the fire in their midst roars and crackles, the beat of the music gets ever faster - the girls dance and dance and dance with their sweet lord, who has made himself so abundant as to be in the arms of each and every girl. But the moment the girls become possessive, the moment each one imagines that Krishna is her partner alone, he vanishes. So it is that we should not be jealous of God. more...

I couldn't get Him out of my head. Still can't. I spent three solid days thinking about Him. The more He bothered me, the less I coul forget Him. And the more I learned about Him, the less I wanted to leave Him. more...

I can well imagine an athiest's last words: "White, white! L-L-Love! My God!" - and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying "Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain," and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story. more...

I had to stop hoping so much that a ship would rescue me. I should not count on outside help. Survival had to start with me. In my experience, a castaway's worst mistake is to hope too much and to do too little. Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one's life away. more...

Why can't reason give greater answers? Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in an answer? Why such a vast net if there's so little fish to catch? more...

Socially inferior animals are the ones that make the most strenuous, resourceful efforts to get to know their keepers. They prove to be the ones most faithful to them...it is a fact commonly known in the trade. more...

There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God... These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. more...

Just beyond the ticket booth Father had painted on a wall in bright red letters the question: DO YOU KNOW WHICH IS THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL IN THE ZOO? An arrow pointed to a small curtain. There were so many eager, curious hands that pulled at the curtain that we had to replace it regularly. Behind it was a mirror. more...

Atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them - and then they leap. more...

My alarm clock during my childhood was a pride of lions. more...

Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love - but sometimes it was so hard to love. more...

Misery loves company, and madness calls it forth. more...

It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse. more...

Christianity is a religion in a rush. Look at the world created in seven says. Even on a symbolic lovel, that's creation in frenzy. more...

Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. more...

It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names. more...

You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked up and felt much better. more...

These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart. more...

These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy...walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, 'Business as usual.' But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening. more...

It is pointless to say that this or that night was the worst of my life. I have so many bad nights to choose from that I've made none the champion. more...

Life on a lifeboat isn't much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements couldn't be more simple, nor the stakes higher. more...

The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar. more...

I wept like a child. It was not because I was overcome at having survived my ordeal, though I was. Nor was it the presence of my brothers and sisters, though that too was very moving. I was weeping because ....fill in the blank with whatever/whoever helped you survive... had left me so unceremoniously. more...

I turned around, stepped over the Zebra and threw myself overboard. more...

My gratitude to him is as boundless as the Pacific ocean. more...

If you stumble about believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe? more...

How bitterly glad I am to see you. You bring joy and pain in equal measure. Joy because you are with me, but pain because it won't be for long. What do you know about the sea? Nothing. What do I know about the sea? Nothing. Without a driver this bus is lost. Our lives are over. Come aboard if your destination is oblivion- It should be our next stop. We can sit together. You can have the window seat, if you want. But it's a sad view. Oh enough of this disembling. Let me say plainly: I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you. Not the spiders, please. more...

I love Canada...It is a great country much too cold for good sense, inhabited by compassionate, intelligent people with bad hairdos. more...

I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both. more...

Christianity stretches back through the ages, but in essence it exists only at one time: right now. more...

The presence of God is the finest of rewards. more...

I preferred to set off and perish in search of my own kind than to live a lonely half-life of physical comfort and spiritual death on this murderous island. more...

The blackness would stir and eventually go away, and God would remain, a shining point of light in my heart. I would go on loving. more...

The paths to liberation are numerous, but the bank along the way is always the same, the Bank of Karma, where the liberation account of each of us is credited or debited depending on our actions. more...

To me, religion is about our dignity, not our depravity. more...

You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it. more...

Progress is unstoppable. It is a drumbeat to which we must all march. Technology helps and good ideas spread - these are two lows of nature. If you don't let technology help you, if you resist good ideas, you condemn yourself to dinosaurhood! I am utterly convinced of this. more...

God is universal," spluttered the priest. The imam nodded strong approval. "There is only one God." "And with their one god Muslims are always causing troubles and provoking riots. The proof of how bad Islam is, is how uncivilized Muslims are,: pronounced the pandit. "Says the slave-driver of the cast system," huffed the imam. "Hindus enslave people and worship dressed-up dolls." "They are golden calf lovers. They kneel before the cows," the priest chimed in. "While Christians kneel before a white man! They are flunkies of a foreign god. They are nightmare of all nonwhite people. more...

Life is a peephole, a single tiny entry onto a vastness-how can I not dwell on this brief, cramped view of things? This peephole is all I've got! more...

As for hearing, the sloth is not so much deaf as uninterested in sound. more...

Fanatics do not have faith - they have belief. With faith you let go. You trust. Whereas with belief you cling. more...

I'm not a consumer. I hate buying clothes. I don't have a mobile. I just don't need things. I don't like things. more...

Reality is how we interpret it. Imagination and volition play a part in that interpretation. Which means that all reality is to some extent a fiction. more...

Music moves me - duh - and that is like having a window opening on a heightened reality, but the effect is fleeting: When the music ends, the magic, the uplifting, vanishes and the window slams shut. Words, on the other hand, by the nature of how they work, emotions evoked by dint of carefully laid out thoughts, have a more lingering effect. more...

I'm looking at a dead event and trying to give it new life. In a sense, I'm a taxidermist. more...

A great literary work can be completely, completely unpredictable. Which can sometimes make them very hard to read, but it gives them a great originality. more...

I love Canada. It's a wonderful political act of faith that exists atop a breathtakingly beautiful land. more...

Books are something social - a writer speaking to a reader - so I think making the reading of a book the center of a social event, the meeting of a book club, is a brilliant idea. more...

I can't live for more than four years outside of Canada. I'm Canadian, so ultimately that is my reference point. more...

Words are much better at relating emotions and thoughts. more...

I like using animals because they help suspend my reader's disbelief. We have certain ideas about dentists. We don't have many ideas about rhinoceros dentists. more...

Words aren't very good at describing complicated, strange visual things. You can try, and the reader will have some sort of image in their mind, but words aren't good at that. more...

A movie will do in one second, with one image, what it will take a novelist at least a page to describe. more...

Any writer will be happy and good only if they know what they're doing and why they're doing it. more...

Cinema is incredibly concise. more...

I find that movies tend to fix the aesthetics of a story in people's minds. more...

I think art comes from some sense of discomfort with the world, some sense of not quite fitting with it. more...

The moral of a fable is eternal. The moral of a story is temporary to a story. more...

How do you live with evil? Art is traditionally - certainly with my secular background - the answer, but art is very self-referential, whereas religion claims to go beyond the bounds of human existence. more...

In all big cities the style of life is the same. Same endless array of restaurants; same big museums with the usual suspects; same anonymity, which can be thrilling when you're young but which I found got tiresome. more...

If you write genre fiction, you follow the rules, and you have to follow them because readers expect that. more...

A movie is so visually powerful, so overwhelming, that it tends to crowd out how you might have imagined things. more...

Cinema is visually powerful, it is a complete experience, reaches a different audience. It's something I really like. I like movies. more...

I am not an autobiographical writer. more...

I write slowly. more...

Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect? Love. more...

If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn't love hard to believe? more...

Despair was a heavy blackness that let no light in or out. It was a hell beyond expression. I thank God it always passed. more...

I spent more hours than I can count a quiet witness to the highly mannered, manifold expressions of life that grace our planet. It is something so bright, loud, weird and delicate as to stupefy the senses. more...

I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape. more...

It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. more...

There's no peace like the peace of an inner courtyard on a sunny day. more...

I wish I could convey the perfection of a seal slipping into water or a spider monkey swinging from point to point or a lion merely turning its head. But language founders in such seas. Better to picture it in your head if you want to feel it. more...

Repetition is important in the training not only of animals but also of humans." Yann Martel in Life of Pi, Page 25 more...

Japanese-owned cargo ship Tsimtsum, flying Panamanian flag, sank July 2nd, 1977, in Pacific, four days out of Manila. Am in lifeboat. Pi Patel my name. Have some food, some water, but Bengal tiger a serious problem. Please advise family in Winnepeg, Canada. Any help very much appreciated. Thank you. more...

My zoology thesis was a functional analysis of the thyroid gland of the three-toed sloth. I chose the sloth because its demeanour - calm, quiet and introspective - did something to soothe my shattered self. more...

Sometimes I got my majors mixed up. A number of my fellow religious-studies students - muddled agnostics who didn't know which way was up, who were in the thrall of reason, that fool's gold for the bright - reminded me of the three-toed sloth; and the three-toed sloth, such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God. more...

Music is a bird's answer to the noise and heaviness of words. It puts the mind in a state of exhilarated speechlessness. .. more...

Jesus, Mary, Muhammad and Vishnu, how good to see you Richard Parker! more...

To my mind, faith is like being in the sun. When you are in the sun, can you avoid creating a shadow? Can you shake that area of darkness that clings to you, always shaped like you, as if constantly to remind you of yourself? You can't. This shadow is doubt. And it goes wherever you go as long as you stay in the sun. And who wouldn't want to be in the sun? more...

There are animals we haven't stopped by. Don't think they're harmless. Life will defend itself no matter how small it is. more...

When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival. more...

I thought they were helping me. I was so full of trust in them that I felt grateful as they carried me in the air. Only when they threw me overboard did I begin to have doubts. more...

People move because of the wear and tear of anxiety. Because of the gnawing feeling that no matter how hard they work their efforts will yield nothing, that what they build up in one year will be torn down in one day by others. Because of the impression that the future is blocked up, that *they* might do all right but not their children. Because of the feeling that nothing will change, that happiness and prosperity are possible only somewhere else. more...

For the first time I noticed - as I would notice repeatedly during my ordeal, between one throe of agony and the next - that my suffering was taking place in a grand setting. I saw my suffering for what it was, finite and insignificant, and I was still. My suffering did not fit anywhere, I realized. And I could accept this. It was all right. more...

Animals in the wild lead lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving social hierarchy in an environment where the supply of fear is high and the supply of food is low and where territory must constantly be defended and parasites forever endured. more...

My greatest wish - other than salvation - was to have a book. more...

[The taxidermist is] a historian, dealing with an animal's past; the zookeeper is a politician, dealing with an animal's present; and everyone else is a citizen who must decide on that animal's future (...) The indifference of the many, combined with the active hatred of the few, has sealed the fate of animals. more...

If you stumble over mere believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe? Reason is excellent for getting food, clothing and shelter. Reason is the very best tool kit. Nothing beats reason for keeping tigers away. But be excessively reasonable and you risk throwing out the universe with the bathwater more...

All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive. more...

Christianity is a religion in a rush. more...

Religion is more than rite and ritual. more...

I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion. more...

Dawn came and matters were worse for it. Because now, emerging from the darkness, I could see, what before I had only felt, the great curtains of rain crashing down on me from towering heights and the waves that threw a path over me and trod me underfoot one after another. more...

You can get used to anything - haven't I already said that? Isn't that what all survivors say? more...

High calls low and low calls high. I tell you, if you were in such dire straits as I was, you too would elevate your thoughts. The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar. more...

Was it the forgetfulness of old age or personal incapacity that made the man able to say please but not thank you? more...

I was not wounded in any part of my body, but I had never experienced such intense pain, such a ripping of the nerves, such an ache of the heart. more...

...if you fall into a lion's pit, the reason the lion will tear you to pieces is not because it's hungry-be assured, zoo animals are amply fed-or because it's bloodthirsty, but because you've invaded it's territory. more...

A house is a compressed territory where our basic needs can be fulfilled close by and safely. more...

Books lined the shelves of bookstores like kids standing in a row to play baseball or soccer, and mine was the gangly, unathletic kid that no one wanted on their team. more...

Religion?" Mr Kumar grinned broadly. "I don't believe in religion. Religion is darkness. more...

It's amazing how willpower can build walls. more...

He's a shy man. Life has taught him not to show off what is most precious to him. more...

Words are cold, muddy toads trying to understand sprites dancing in a field-but they're all we have. more...

In my youth, it was my good luck to have a few good teachers, men and women, who came into my head and lit a match. more...

Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat wearing Muslims. more...

To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. more...

If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams. more...

When you've suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling. more...

I have nothing to say of my working life, only that a tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he's not careful. more...

Can there be any happiness greater than the happiness of salvation? more...

I ask you, is it the fig tree's fault that it's not the season for figs? What kind of thing is that to do to an innocent tree, wither it instantly? more...

If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. more...

Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud... more...

The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story? more...

My suffering left me sad and gloomy. more...

To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures who people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing-I'm sorry, I would rather not go on. more...

Colonialism is a terrible bane for a people upon whom it is imposed, but a blessing for a language. English's drive to exploit the new and the alien, its zeal in robbing words from other languages, its incapacity to feel qualms over the matter, its museum-size overabundance of vocabulary, it shoulder-shrug approach to spelling, its don't-worry-be-happy concern for grammar-the result was a language whose colour and wealth Henry loved. more...

If you went to a home, kicked down the front door, chased the people who lived there out into the street and said, Go! You are free! Free as a bird! Go! Go! - do you think they would shout and dance for joy? They wouldn't. Birds are not free. The people you've just evicted would sputter, With what right do you throw us out? This is our home. We own it. We have lived here for years. We're calling the police, you scoundrel. more...

And what of my extended family-birds, beasts, and reptiles? They too have drowned. Every single thing I value in life has been destroyed. And I am allowed no explanation? I am to suffer hell without any account from heaven? In that case, what is the purpose of reason, Richard Parker? Is it no more than to shine at practicalities-the getting of food, clothing and shelter? Why can't reason give greater answers? Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in an answer? Why such a vast net if there's so little fish to catch? (pg. 98) more...

But I want to pray to Allah. I want to be a Christian. more...

Nothing beats reason for keeping tigers away. But be excessively reasonable and you risk throwing out the universe with the bathwater. more...

Words of divine consciousness: moral exaltation; lasting feelings of elevation, elation, joy; a quickening of the moral sense, which strikes one as more important than an intellectual understanding of things; an alignment of the universe along moral lines, not intellectual ones; a realization that the founding principle of existence is what we call love, which works itself out sometimes not clearly, not cleanly, not immediately, nonetheless ineluctably. more...

What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell. more...

A realization that the founding principle of existence is what we call love, which works itself out sometimes not clearly, not cleanly, not immediately, nonetheless ineluctably. more...

Scientists are a friendly, atheistic, hard-working, beer-drinking lot whose minds are preoccupied with sex, chess and baseball when they are not preoccupied with science. more...

If literature does one thing, it makes you more empathetic by making you live other lives and feel the pain of others. Ideologues don't feel the pain of others because they haven't imaginatively got under their skins. more...

Art is a gift: you create and then you give away. How readers receive that gift is their business. If they hate it, that's their response to it. Others respond by liking it. Either way, that is their interaction with the book, which is no longer mine. more...

So tell me, since it makes no factual difference to you and you can't prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals?' Mr. Okamoto: 'That's an interesting question?' Mr. Chiba: 'The story with animals.' Mr. Okamoto: 'Yes. The story with animals is the better story.' Pi Patel: 'Thank you. And so it goes with God. more...

Books, like people, can't be reduced to the cost of the materials with which they were made. Books, like people, become unique and precious once you get to know them. more...

I have a story that will make you believe in God. more...

Everything was screaming: the sea, the wind, my heart. more...

It was as unbelievable as the moon catching fire. more...

For fear, real fear such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you. more...

I was giving up. I would have given up - if a voice hadn't made itself heard in my heart. The voice said "I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen everyday. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen. more...

I've never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. The pain is like an axe that chops my heart. more...

I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. more...

I felt I was beating a rainbow to death more...

Stories-individual stories, family stories, national stories-are what stitch together the disparate elements of human existence into a coherent whole. We are story animals. more...

Just as music is noise that makes sense, a painting is colour that makes sense, so a story is life that makes sense. more...

If you took the city of Tokyo and turned it upside down and shook it you would be amazed at the animals that fall out: badgers, wolves, boa constrictors, crocodiles, ostriches, baboons, capybaras, wild boars, leopards, manatees, ruminants, in untold numbers. There is no doubt in my mind that that feral giraffes and feral hippos have been living in Tokyo for generations without seeing a soul. more...

Life and death live and die in exactly the same spot, the body. It is from there that both babies and cancers are born. more...

First wonder goes deepest; wonder after that fits in the impression made by the first. more...

My ears were full. Nothing more, not one more sound, could push into them and be registered. more...

Blessed be shock. Blessed be the part of us that protects us from too much pain and sorrow. At the heart of life is a fusebox. more...

Slice a pear and you will find that its flesh is incandescent white. It glows with inner light. Those who carry a knife and a pear are never afraid of the dark. more...

...for everything has a trace of the divine in it. more...

The individual soul touches upon the world soul like a well reaches for the water table. That which sustains the universe beyond thought and language, and that which is at the core of us and struggles for expression, is the same thing. The finite within the infinite, the infinite within the finite. more...

You bring joy and pain in equal measure. Joy because you are with me, but pain because it wont be for long. more...

Come aboard if your destination is oblivion- it should be our next stop. We can sit together. You can have the window seat if you want. But it's a sad view. more...

There's nothing like the unimaginable to make people believe. more...

We are all born like Catholics, aren't we-in limbo, without religion, until some figure introduces us to God? more...

As for fame, fame felt like nothing. Fame was not a sensation like love or hunger or loneliness, welling from within and invisible to the outside eye. It was rather entirely external, coming from the minds of others. It existed in the way people looked at him or behaved towards him. In that, being famous was no different from being gay, or Jewish, or from a visible minority: you are who you are, and then people project onto you some notion they have. more...

Fiction and nonfiction are not so easily divided. Fiction may not be real, but it's true; it goes beyond the garland of facts to get to emotional and psychological truths. more...

In a healthy individual, a broken bone that has healed properly is strongest where it was once broken. You have not lost any life, Henry told himself. You will still get your fair share of years. Yet the quality of his life changed. Once you've been struck by violence, you acquire companions that never leave you entirely: Suspicion, Fear, Anxiety, Despair, Joylessness. The natural smile is taken from you and the natural pleasures you once enjoyed lose their appeal. more...

Afterwards, when it's all over, you meet God. What do you say to God? more...

My greatest wish - other than salvation - was to have a book. A long book with a never-ending story. One I could read again and again, with new eyes and a fresh understanding each time. more...

It was a huge zoo, spread over numberless acres, big enough to require a train to explore it, though it seemed to get smaler as I grew older, train included. Now it's so small it fits in my head. more...

I did not count the days or the weeks or the months. Time is an illusion that only makes us pant. I survived because I forgot even the very notion of time. more...

Fiction and nonfiction are not so easily divided. Fiction may not be real, but it's true; it goes beyond the garland of facts to get to emotional and psychological truths. As for nonfiction, for history, it may be real, but its truth is slippery, hard to access, with no fixed meaning bolted to it. If history doesn't become story, it dies to everyone except the historian. more...

A work of art works because it is true, not because it is real. more...

If you don't have dreams, how do you maneuver reality? Where do you get the ideas to change reality if not from dreams? more...

I love Canada. Its a wonderful political act of faith that exists atop a breathtakingly beautiful land. more...

How does one say in the jargon of musicology that my sould was pulled out of me and thrown up in the air, to be tossed about by the music. How does one say that I breathed, that I existed, in harmony with the ups and downs of those notes. What kind of notes both elevate and cast down, exalt and crush? more...

And in between the two, in between the sky and the sea, were all the winds. And there were all the nights and all the moons. To be a castaway is to be a point perpetually at the centre of a circle. However much things may appear to change-the sea may shift from whisper to rage, the sky might go from fresh blue to blinding white to darkest black-the geometry never changes. Your gaze is always a radius. The circumference is ever great. In fact, the circles multiply. To be a castaway is to be caught in a harrowing ballet of circles. more...

I'm happy pretty well anywhere on this big, beautiful planet. more...

I'm still learning my craft. more...

If a film project were available and the timing was right, I might be interested. more...

If I didn't have children, I think my life would be a failure. more...

'Life of Pi' was actually a very simple novel to write. more...

May books spread the world over! more...

Most of us get our history through story. more...

My next book - each one while I'm working on it - dances in my mind and thrills me at every turn. If it didn't, why would I write it? more...

The idea of a flip book still really appeals to me. That idea of fiction and non-fiction. more...

The language of prose is very different than the language of cinema, so the movie has to successfully translate what was in the book. more...

You can't quantify human pain the way you can measure out sugar. Death comes one individual at a time. more...

Every book I've written has been a different attempt to understand something, and the success or failure of the previous one is irrelevant. I write the book I want. more...

It's true, too, that I'm tired of using books as political bullets and grenades. Books are too precious and wonderful to be used for long in such a fashion. more...

Life on a lifeboat isn't much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with a few pieces. The elements couldn't be more simple, nor the stakes higher. Physically it is extraordinarily arduous, and morally it is killing...You get your happiness where you can. You reach a point where you're at the bottom of hell, yet you have your arms crossed and a smile on your face, and you feel you're the luckiest person on earth. Why? Because at your feet you have a tiny dead fish more...

It's hard to visualize James Bond without seeing one of the actors who played him. And it's hard to visualize Harry Potter without seeing Daniel Radcliffe. A movie is so visually powerful, so overwhelming, that it tends to crowd out how you might have imagined things. more...

A movie tends to box you in, at least as far as the aesthetics. You have an incredibly kinetic experience, which is the joy of cinema. more...

I love cinema. I think the risk of the aesthetics being fixed is compensated by other advantages. Cinema is visually powerful, it is a complete experience, reaches different audience. It's something I really like. I like movies. more...

What works in a story is very different than what works in cinema. For example, dialogue in books: If you translate it too faithfully, it sounds a little stilted, because we often don't speak the way we speak in novels. Oral language is much punchier, shorter sentences. more...

In a movie, you need good actors, whereas in a book, you don't, unless you have a really bad imagination. In a book, your imagination will do the acting for you. Also, the process of revelation is often different. Tension is achieved in a different way. more...

As much as I love movies, it would be presumptuous of me to think that I know how to make one. more...

Most people take who they are, naturally, as a given, and they're interested in the sexual other, but not in being the sexual other. Most men are interested in women - whether sexually or not is not the question - but they don't necessarily want to be a woman. more...

The planet is populated by human beings, of which there are only two sexes, and the role of the writer is to explore otherness, other realities. So the idea of a man exploring what it's like to be a woman doesn't strike me as being that wild or crazy an idea. more...

Just as art brings you to another place, so does religion - and to ask questions of factuality tends to reduce both. If you say you were inspired by a novel, that implies that your book is a work of fiction. more...

Truth is a nebulous thing. There are certain, definite truths, but the truth of our lives goes far beyond facts. more...

Life is an interpretation of a series of facts, and that interpretation is really what life is about. So the division between non-fiction and fiction has a certain logic, but it's a very limited one. And by and large, it isn't helpful. more...

I meet a number of people as a writer of fiction who say "Oh, I don't read much fiction," as if the history of the United States, just as an example, isn't an exercise in storytelling and myth-making. more...

Religion is just an alternate way of reading reality - you read material reality, and then you add on an extra layer of religiosity that deepens that understanding of reality. Some countries have lost that capacity, or dismissed it or marginalized it. more...

War subjects itself to transportation in a way that we find acceptable. more...

We always see the Holocaust in terms of black-and-white images, barking Germans, cowering Jews. We know very well-known fixed places like Auschwitz, Birkenau, Treblinka, and Beltzec. Instead, war can live in a couple having a spat, when we say, "That was a real war." We very rarely have the Holocaust live in the terms of today. And I think that's a problem, because it becomes ancient history. more...

To me, the research is a way of exploring what it means to be alive. more...

I am not a particularly natural writer. I am not a person who can write in paragraphs the way some writers do. For me, it's sentence by sentence, sometimes word-by-word. And I revise constantly. It's a very laborious process, but I love doing it. more...

There is nothing more satisfying than having a sentence fall into place in a way you feel is right, and then adding another one and then another one. It's extraordinarily satisfying. more...

In art, something comes of nothing. Out of the thin air and the ether, you create a story. And that is intensely satisfying. more...

If you don't let technology help you, if you resist good ideas, you condemn yourself to dinosaurhood. more...

Time is an illusion that makes us all pant. more...

Much hostile and aggressive behaviour among animals is the expression of social insecurity. more...

Gloom is but a shadow of a cloud passing by more...

science can only take you so far and then you have to leap more...

You may not believe in life, but I don't believe in death. Move on! more...

...animals don't escape from somewhere but from something more...

I explore it now in the only place left for it, my memory. more...

My feelings can perhaps be imagined, but they can hardly be described. more...

We were, literally and figuratively, in the same boat. more...

No one dies of nausea, but it can seriously sap the will to live. more...

Don't you bully me with your politeness! more...

The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. more...

If you take two steps towards God,' he used to tell me, 'God runs to you! more...

I have a fierce will to live. Others fight a little, then lose hope. Still others - and I am one of those - never give up. We fight and fight and fight. We fight no matter the cost of battle, the losses we take, the improbability of success. We fight to the very end. more...

I have read that there are two fears that cannot be trained out of us: the startle reaction upon hearing an unexpected noise, and vertigo. I would like to add a third, to wit, the rapid and direct approch of a known killer more...

Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you've defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you. more...

How long does it take for a broken spirit to kill a body that has food, water and shelter? more...

Mockery be damned, my urine looked delicious. more...

Bapu Gandhi said, 'All religions are true.' I just want to love God. more...

Don't you bully me with your politeness! more...

The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. more...

Bapu Gandhi said, 'All religions are true.' I just want to love God. more...

How true is that necessity is the mother of invention, how very true. more...

The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar. It was natural that, bereft and desperate as I was, in the throes of unremitting suffering. I should turn to God more...

I wept heartily over this poor little deceased soul. It was the first sentient being I had ever killed. I was now a killer. I was now as guilty as Cain. I was sixteen years old, a harmless boy, bookish and religious, and now I had blood on my hands. It's a terrible burden to carry. All sentient life is sacred. more...

I can only tell my story, what you believe is up to you. more...

Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching. Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching. And when I was beyond all hope of saving, he gave me rest. Then he gave me a sign to continue my journey. more...

I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye. more...

Life on a lifeboat is' much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements could' be more simple, nor the stakes higher. more...

Progress is unstoppable. It is a drumbeat to which we must all march. Technology helps and good ideas spread - these are two lows of nature. If you do' let technology help you, if you resist good ideas, you condemn yourself to dinosaurhood! I am utterly convinced of this. more...

I had to stop hoping so much that a ship would rescue me. I should not count on outside help. Survival had to start with me. In my experience, a castaway's worst mistake is to hope too much and to do too little. Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one's life away. more...

I went about the job in a direct way. I took the hatchet in both my hands and vigorously beat the fish on the head with the hammerhead (I still did' have the stomach to use the sharp edge). The dorado did the most extraordinary thing as it died: it began to flash all kinds of colours in rapid succession. Blue, green, red, gold, and violet flickered and shimmered neon-like on its surface as it struggled. I felt I was beating a rainbow to death. more...

We believe what we see."...What do you do when you're in the dark? more...

To my mind, faith is like being in the sun. When you are in the sun, can you avoid creating a shadow? Can you shake that area of darkness that clings to you, always shaped like you, as if constantly to remind you of yourself? You ca'. This shadow is doubt. And it goes wherever you go as long as you stay in the sun. And who would' want to be in the sun? more...

Do' worry about being good.... Aspire to be authentic. more...

Do' you bully me with your politeness! more...

The reason death sticks so closely to life is' biological necessity - it's envy. more...

The moon was a sharply defined crescent and the sky was perfectly clear. The stars shone with such fierce, contained brilliance that it seemed absurd to call the night dark. more...

At moments of wonder, it is easy to avoid small thinking, to entertain thoughts that span the universe, that capture both thunder and tinkle, thick and thin, the near and the far. more...

The worst pair of opposites is boredom and terror. Sometimes your life is a pendulum swing from one to the other. more...

For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. more...

Nature can put on a thrilling show. The stage is vast, the lighting is dramatic, the extras are innumerable, and the budget for special effects is absolutely unlimited. more...

Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love-but sometimes it was so hard to love. Sometimes my heart was sinking so fast with anger, desolation and weariness, I was afraid it would sink to the very bottom of the Pacific and I would not be able to lift it back up. more...

Don't worry about being good.... Aspire to be authentic. more...

If you are pitched into misery, remember that your days on this earth are counted and you might as well make the best of those you have left. more...

Life on a lifeboat isn't much of a life. more...

When the course of experience made me see that there is no saviour and no special grace, no remission beyond the human, that pain is to be endured and fades, if it fades, only with time, then God became nothing to me but a dyslexic dog, with neither bark nor bite. more...

If there's only one nation in the sky, shouldn't all passports be valid for it? more...

I know what you want. You want a story that won't surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won't make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story. You want dry, yeastless factuality. more...

Art is the suitcase of history, carrying the essentials. Art is the life buoy of history. Art is seed, art is memory, art is vaccine. more...

It is simple and brutal: a person can get used to anything, even to killing. more...

But once a dead God, always a dead God, even resurrected. The Son must have the taste of death forever in his mouth. The Trinity must be tainted by it; there must be a certain stench at the right hand of God the Father. The horror must be real. Why would God wish that upon Himself? Why not leave death to mortals? Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect? - Love. That was his answer. more...

The tennis challenger starts strong but soon loses confidence in his playing. The champion racks up the games. But in the final set, when the challenger has nothing left to lose, he becomes relaxed again, insouciant, daring. Suddenly he's playing like the devil and the champion must work hard to get those last points. more...

I went about the job in a direct way. I took the hatchet in both my hands and vigorously beat the fish on the head with the hammerhead (I still didn't have the stomach to use the sharp edge). The dorado did the most extraordinary thing as it died: it began to flash all kinds of colours in rapid succession. Blue, green, red, gold, and violet flickered and shimmered neon-like on its surface as it struggled. I felt I was beating a rainbow to death. more...

My life is like a memento mori painting from European art: there is always a grinning skull at my side to remind me of the folly of human ambition. more...

It is a vast country, so that inspires you. It's also the greatest hotel on earth: It welcomes people from everywhere. It's a good country to write from because in many ways Canada is the world. more...

We believe what we see.'...What do you do when you're in the dark? more...

Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one's life away. more...

Art is a gift: you create and then you give away. How readers receive that gift is their business. If they hate it, that's their response to it. Others respond by liking it. Either way, that is their interaction with the book, which is no longer mine. more...

Work, work, work, but what mark do we leave, what point do we make? People who are too beholden to work become like erasers: as things move forward, they leave in their wake no trace of themselves. more...

Isn't telling about something-using words, English or Japanese-already something of an invention? Isn't just looking upon this world already something of an invention? more...

Artists invent things as a way of telling the truth. more...

India is a place where all stories are possible. You forget that the imagination can take hold of anything and contemplate it and love it and describe it. more...

The three religions because I wanted to discuss faith, not organized religion, so wanted to relativize organized religion by having Pi practice three. I would have like PI to be a Jew, too, to practice Judaism, but there are two religions that are explicitly incompatible: Christianity and Judaism. Where one begins, the other ends, according to Christians, and where one endures, the other strays, according to Jews. more...

I go to mass every Sunday, but love going to mosques too. Muslims pray in a beautiful way. more...

People always seek to compare. They can take the new, but only if it is somehow connected to the familiar. We need that in our lives, the mix of the new and the old. But of course I'm flattered about the comparison with Old man and the sea. Hemingway is a great writer. more...

A zoo is not an ideal place for an animal - of course the best place for a chimp is the wilds of Tanzania - but a good zoo is a decent, acceptable place. Animals are far more flexible than we realize. IF they weren't, they wouldn't have survived. But my opinion about zoos came after research. Initially I had the opinion that most people have, that they are jails. more...

Zoo is an artificial territory, an approximation. Civilization is our natural territory. more...

Sitting in an office for TOO long is not natural, perhaps, so that's why we should change it. I didn't say that out-and-out capitalism, which reduces humanity to dollar figures, is natural. more...

We think we live in a global village. We don't. The world is a big and beautiful and incredibly varied place. It can only be known locally, with your two feet on the ground. We should stick to our own gardens, as Voltaire said. more...

The animals might embody certain traits. We think of tigers as being ferocious, etc. But to my mind, it was the other way around: the humans embodied certain animal traits. more...

Just do it. Get it down on the page. Work hard. And then let go. Ask yourself why you want to write. You have to be clear about that. more...

I chose the name Pi because it's an irrational number (one with no discernable pattern). Yet scientists use this irrational number to come to a "rational" understanding of the universe. To me, religion is a bit like that, "irrational" yet with it we come together we come to a sound understanding of the universe. more...

We commonly say in the trade that the most dangerous animal in a zoo is Man. more...

Life will defend itself no matter how small it is. more...

Why do people move? What makes them uproot and leave everything they've known for a great unknown beyond the horizon? ... The answer is the same the world over: people move in the hope of a better life. more...

Bapu Gandhi said, "All religions are true." I just want to love God. more...


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