For these Thursday’s “Writing faith-based fiction” series, a few weeks ago–I can’t remember the exact Thursday–I used an example of The Life of Pi for writing faith-based fiction. I love how Yann Martel brings together the Christian faith with the Hindi faith in his story. I thought he had written in (and joined) the two faiths so elegantly that it did not offend my Christian sensibilities.
But as a writer, I am also fascinated that the publisher, Mariner Books, classified the genres on Amazon in Sea Adventures, Teens, and in Literary fiction categories. I understand why but to me the story felt more like magical realism at times, especially with the scenes where Pi was in the boat with the tiger. Yann Martel won the 2002 Man Booker Award for The Life of Pi which was released in 2003. Martel has a Wiki page where you can learn more about him and his life as a Spanish-born Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, and a #1 international bestseller.
So, why am I bringing up Martel’s story again? Well, because I love the devices he’s used writing this story–the suspense and tension found on the boat, the ending and the arc of the character when we learn how Pi’s faith kept him sane through the turmoil on the ocean. Which, is a Biblical reference to being tossed by the waves. Here’s that passage from the New King James Version found in Matthew 14:
Jesus Walks on the Sea
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,[a] tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
When you think about Martel’s Life of Pi and this scripture you can see that once Pi contained his fears, he conquered them, (through his faith we learn later) and then was saved.
Some have said that this is a story of survival and I have to say, aren’t all stories… but, for me, The Life of Pi is a story of great faith and redemption once he accepts his fate and then accepts his faith.
So, how do you feel about faith-based stories or even The Life of Pi? I’d love to get your take on it.
And, hey, I write novels. And sometimes poetry. ~Susan