The opening line of Martel's introduction says, "This book was born as I was hungry," but the next line says, "Let me explain" (vii). Martel then describes how he faced failure as a writer in the 1990s. This failure left him hungry for success for a very long time. As with any dream that seems to fail, a person will either give up or fight harder to achieve it. Failure also breeds discouragement, which Martel describes as follows:
". . . the whisper that has been pestering you all along from the back of your mind . . . speaking the flat, awful truth: it won't work" (viii).
Martel further explains that he felt as though an element was missing from his work. He compares this missing element of his story to a missing ingredient that makes a particular recipe work just right. Because of this missing ingredient, the author says that his story felt "emotionally dead," and it left him "with an aching hunger" (ix). Not only was Martel hungry for success, but he was also hungry for a secret ingredient for a novel--something original. When the idea of Life of Pi presented itself, Martel realized its unique value and pursued it. As a result, Martel was emotionally fed because he knew he had finally found a good story worth writing. Furthermore, the success that he found from Life of Pi drove away discouragement so he could finally feel emotionally satisfied with his career.