Yann Martel


Spanish-born Canadian Author of Novel "Life of Pi"

Author Quotes

One such time I left town and on my way back, at a point where the land was high and I could see the sea to my left and down the road a long ways, I suddenly felt I was in heaven. The spot was in fact no different from when I had passed it not long before, but my way of seeing it had changed. The feeling, a paradoxical mix of pulsing energy and profound peace, was intense and blissful. Whereas before the road, the sea, the trees, the air, the sun all spoke differently to me, now they spoke one language of unity. Tree took account of road, which was aware of air, which was mindful of sea, which shared things with sun. Every element lived in harmonious relation with its neighbor, and all was kith and kin. I knelt a mortal; I rose an immortal. I felt like the center of a small circle coinciding with the center of a much larger one.

Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.

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.

The cruelty of children comes as news to no one.

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.

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.

There will always be those who take upon themselves to defend God, like the Supreme Being is the basis of all being was something weak and in need of support. These people walk by a widow and corroded by leprosy begging for some pais, passing indifferently were living nomadically street children in rags and think, That's how it is in the world. But if you are going to feel the slightest breach to God, it is quite another matter. Blush on the face, literally clog them, they spit angry words. The intensity of their indignation is astounding. Their bitterness scares.

Those who carry a knife and a pear are never afraid of the dark.

Trees were not hard, irritable things, but discreetly orgasmic beings moaning at a level too deep for our brutish ears. And flowers were quick explosive orgasms, like making love in the shower.

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!

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

Nil magnum nisi bonum. No greatness without goodness.

Only death consistently excites your emotions, whether contemplating it when life is safe and stale, or fleeing it when life is threatened and precious.

Religion is more than rite and ritual.

Some of us give up on life with only a resigned sigh. 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 what the cost of battle, the losses we take, the improbability of success. We fight to the very end. It's not a question of courage. It's... an inability to let go. It may be nothing more than life hungry stupidity.

The fact I choose doubt as a philosophy of life is like choosing immobility as a means of transport.

The most beautiful rooms I have entered have been empty ones. Warehouses full of light and dust. Empty attics with a view. Coastlines. Prairies.

The three-toed sloth lives a peaceful, vegetarian life in perfect harmony with its environment. A good-natured smile is forever on its lips...I have seen that smile with my own eyes. I am not one given to projecting human traits and emotions onto animals, but many a time during that month in Brazil, looking up at a sloth in repose, I felt I was in the presence of upside-down yogis deep in meditation or hermits deep in prayer, wise beings whose intense imaginative lives were beyond the reach of scientific probing.

There?s sunlight and shade, spots and patterns of color, your mind is elsewhere?so you don?t make out what is right in front of you.

Time and sunshine healed a sore, but the process was slow, and new boils appeared if I didn't stay dry.

Two blind people in two separate lifeboats meeting up in the Pacific?the coincidence seems a little far-fetched, no?

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.

My agency was pure and miraculous. It conferred power upon me.

Nil magnum nisi bonum. There is no glory without virtue.

Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary. 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. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid down. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.

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Spanish-born Canadian Author of Novel "Life of Pi"