Life of Pi Paperback – Oct 10 2002
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Serious novels about young boys being drawn closer to God while trapped on lifeboats with dangerous wild animals ought to be impossible. Life of Pi, Yann Martel's second novel, proves they're not. Its plot stretches the limits of credibility into new and exciting shapes, and the fact that Martel has made his materials into an enchanting story is almost unbelievable. Martel's Pi is Piscine Molitor Patel, a boy from Pondicherry, one of the few Indian towns to be colonized by France. Pi is an intelligent, unusual child: he has a scientific turn of mind but is also a practising Hindu, Moslem, and Christian. Pi's family runs a large zoo, but they decide to sell their animals to zoos in the United States and emigrate to Canada. Crossing the Pacific (with their animals), they're shipwrecked halfway between China and Midway. Pi survives, only to find himself sharing a lifeboat with an injured zebra, a spotted hyena, an orangutan, and Richard Parker--an immense Bengal tiger.
Most of these animals are doomed, but Pi and Richard Parker cling to life, establishing a tacit order on the lifeboat. Martel handles this part of the story perfectly: one would expect Life of Pi to become cute, or perhaps preachy, but it is neither. Life on the boat proceeds in strict accordance with the rules of ecology and territorialism, and the interdependence of the passengers is both believable and absorbing. Life of Pi is a superb novel, both for its story and for its rich examinations of religion, isolation, and love. If this is an indication of what is to come, we can expect great things from Yann Martel. --Jack Illingworth
From Publishers Weekly
A fabulous romp through an imagination by turns ecstatic, cunning, despairing and resilient, this novel is an impressive achievement "a story that will make you believe in God," as one character says. The peripatetic Pi (ne the much-taunted Piscine) Patel spends a beguiling boyhood in Pondicherry, India, as the son of a zookeeper. Growing up beside the wild beasts, Pi gathers an encyclopedic knowledge of the animal world. His curious mind also makes the leap from his native Hinduism to Christianity and Islam, all three of which he practices with joyous abandon. In his 16th year, Pi sets sail with his family and some of their menagerie to start a new life in Canada. Halfway to Midway Island, the ship sinks into the Pacific, leaving Pi stranded on a life raft with a hyena, an orangutan, an injured zebra and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. After the beast dispatches the others, Pi is left to survive for 227 days with his large feline companion on the 26-foot-long raft, using all his knowledge, wits and faith to keep himself alive. The scenes flow together effortlessly, and the sharp observations of the young narrator keep the tale brisk and engaging. Martel's potentially unbelievable plot line soon demolishes the reader's defenses, cleverly set up by events of young Pi's life that almost naturally lead to his biggest ordeal. This richly patterned work, Martel's second novel, won Canada's 2001 Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. In it, Martel displays the clever voice and tremendous storytelling skills of an emerging master.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I really liked the ending of the book, particularly the last few chapters; it made me critically analyze the entire novel and see all the events from a new perspective. This is one of those books that, after you have read the last page, require time to digest before moving on to another book. I almost liked the book more after I had finished it than I did while I was reading it. Overall, recommended.
Though I found Pi's views on the lives of zoo animals a bit off (in fact they made me not WANT to like the book!), he is an incredibly endearing, smart character whom I could not help respecting and rooting for. He is a teenage boy - a practicing Christian, Muslim AND Hindu (all at the same time - much to the consternation of his family and various religious mentors)who escapes a sinking ship in a lifeboat shared by an orangutan, a hyena and a tiger.
Pi and the tiger survive for 227 amazing days in the lifeboat (during which they make an amazing 'botanical' discovery worthy of Star-Trek in its Mr. Spock days) before landing on the coast of Mexico. There Pi provides the authorities two different explanations for his amazing survival.
It's up to you to decide which one is true...
Really worth reading, "Life of Pi" stands out brightly amongst the novels I've read in the past few years, and I'll be recommending it for years to come.
Most recent customer reviews
I watched the movie and loved it. Since books are almost always better than the movies, I bought the book, expecting it to be even better. How could it not? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gsauve
The prints of these books are not great. Book three, within the novel, is printed twice. One is correct one is not.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The life of Pi is a story of courage and survival.
It is a wonderfully written journey through life's struggle.
Life is a strange thing. All living things have a life, and it is up to them how they live it. The worth of a life is something no one should be in charge of, but some people... Read morePublished 5 months ago by TeenageRead
I enjoyed it. Much better than the movie, which was all about the visual effectsPublished 7 months ago by Michael P. Wiseman
I loved the first part of the book that discusses the different religions. The second part was really fun and quick to read.Published 8 months ago by PaolaG
An amazingly rich and creative tale, “Life of Pi” is the story of Piscine Molitor (Pi) Patel, a South Indian boy and his 227-day saga of survival while stranded on a lifeboat in... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Rashmi Pluscec