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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life unlike any other
Yann Martel's novel takes us from a small community in India to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where a boy and a tiger share a lifeboat and develop, if not a friendship, a unique understanding of one another. The novel begins slowly and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I also couldn't put it down, especially once on the high seas. Like any seafaring tale, it...
Published on Nov. 4 2002 by Michael Cox

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bugga-boo
I'm not sure what I liked more, the book or the negative reviews. Having spent the last 5 years of my life in undergrad philosophy, Life of Pi didn't offer any new philosophical insights. For those who grasped the point made in the end, it's a rather old argument, but presented in a very colourful story that at first I wasn't able to get into, but then became quite...
Published on Oct. 23 2004 by Richard Tarleton


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life unlike any other, Nov. 4 2002
By 
Michael Cox "Michael JS Cox" (Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
Yann Martel's novel takes us from a small community in India to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where a boy and a tiger share a lifeboat and develop, if not a friendship, a unique understanding of one another. The novel begins slowly and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I also couldn't put it down, especially once on the high seas. Like any seafaring tale, it may be "tall" in parts, and you can, if you wish, choose to believe an alternate story provided for you near the end, but I prefer the taller of the two tales, and was bleary-eyed but well rewarded for reading it in one long sitting.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful piece of literature!, Dec 5 2002
By 
Dan Goddard (Olds, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
This is one of the most powerful novels I have ever read. It begins with a section that builds up the main character flawlessly. Then it shifts to wonderfully written story of survival, exploring almost every angle of human nature in the face of adversity. It delves into relationships in the most interesting of ways, and makes one think twice about their own. The third and final section of the book brings a bit of a twist in the plot; it left me enjoying the book in it's entirity even more. It is one of those feel good books, which I could not put down.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and symbolic - I loved this book, May 30 2002
By 
This review is from: Life of Pi (Hardcover)
I read between 50 and 80 books a year and it is the rare novel that does not disappoint me on some level. This book never let me down, I was never bored and I never felt the author cheated or left loose ends. The language was simple and lyrical but full of symbolism and symmetry. I loved the main character's honesty and optimism and his simple will to survive. Above all I loved the choice of an alternate ending, neither story is a perfect fit leaving the reader the choice to make up their own mind. I laughed, I cried and I'm recommending it to everyone I know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bugga-boo, Oct. 23 2004
This review is from: Life of Pi (Hardcover)
I'm not sure what I liked more, the book or the negative reviews. Having spent the last 5 years of my life in undergrad philosophy, Life of Pi didn't offer any new philosophical insights. For those who grasped the point made in the end, it's a rather old argument, but presented in a very colourful story that at first I wasn't able to get into, but then became quite enthralled with.I can't help but wonder if the people who didn't "get it" were distracted when reading. I notice a number of reviews saying the beginning has nothing to do with the middle or end. Not to be vague and blunt, but the beginning is the beginning that leads to the middle and the end. In order to find the significance in the story, simply pay attention to who and what Pi is during his time in India. His devotion to religion and family, the influences of his two friends Kumar and what each represents and the small bits of information into the character of animals and humans.Did the book make me believe in God? Well, no, that would be sort of silly. As someone very non-religious I doubt any book could do that. But I understood its message clearly enough and I even agree with the principle. Especially as its presented in this work, its very moving, something I'm not apt to say often.For the life of me I can't figure the reviews from people who say it has no ending, I'm not sure what more they hoped for, what the thought lacking. I read the ending no less than 6 hours ago, it was clear to me and very appropriate as well. Again, I suspect perhaps some readers were just too distracted or were reading in such a way as to focus only on the hapter at hand without appreciating the whole story as it had been built to that point.In any event, I'd certainly recommend the book. It draws on in some places but more than makes up for it on the whole.Life of Pi was a good story. Not in the sense in that it had plenty of action, lots of violence or contained an exorbitant amount of plot twists but because it contained a very original story, on a setting that has been literarily exhausted over time; the castaway.Despite this, I'm quite surprised that the novel was awarded as much critical acclaim that it has gotten. For a self-toted theological novel, it is quite weak on the religious aspects of Islam, Hinduism and Christianity, of which, I myself am almost totally ignorant of all but the latter. The story didn't show me any insights on the religions themselves or even delve deeply into the finer points each religion in question has, respectively.The bulk of the story, where Pi is adrift, is quite good on the whole. Martel writes in detail almost everything that could possibly effect and affect Pi on his journey and explains how Pi reacts and deals with each situation. It brings a sense of survival that all good castaway stories should have. Yet, at times, I found some of his description confusing. Some of descriptions of the lifeboat and raft interaction were tipsy and left me wondering what it actually was he was writing about.The strongest part of the novel, in which most people should pay close attention to, is the interaction between Pi and Richard Parker. Martel obviously spent a lot of time trying to deal with and plan this relationship throughout the novel and it came off very well in the end. I am not able to say whether or not he accurately portrayed a relationship between different creatures such as these, but his explanations and details were very logical and practical.The novel wasn't difficult to read. The linguistic level of the story wasn't high, there weren't a lot of suggested philosophical points being brought about, you weren't expected to understand adverse emotional troubles between many characters. All the signs of a mainstream novel these days. Despite what many critics and people say, this novel is not the quality of a classic. Yet, Martel may well be on his way to being a fine writer. This, his third novel, is certainly a step up from his previous work, so, keep an eye open for him in the future.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best I've read in a while, May 19 2002
This review is from: Life of Pi (Hardcover)
"Life of Pi" is a lovely, intelligent and unique novel - one of the best I've read in a while.
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a fairy tale, Jan. 1 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
My son loves this book simply as a fairy tale. But, for us adults, if we look between the lines, there is alot more depth than a charming story. And alot of it is spiritual in nature. My favorite spiritual book that I would recommend is, I Talked To God And He Wants To Talk To You. It is the best book ever and I would be remiss if I didn't mention it here. Yet, The Life of Pi rates right up there with my favorite spiritual inspiration.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Read, Feb. 27 2003
By 
H. Bourne (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
I felt this novel started out a bit light-hearted, an easy read that holds your attention right from the beginning. It is humor-filled, informative and gives very definitive opinions without feeling preachy. This is a well-spun yarn that keeps you thinking that maybe there is some factual basis for this fictional story. The tone changes quite a bit during the shipwreck scene with very graphic descriptions that make an already active imagination go into overdrive. It may not be a good idea to read that part of the book just before sleeping. By the end of the novel, I just thought, "Wow." There's no other way to describe it. It's a very riveting novel that reels you in from the get-go and it's almost impossible to put down until you're finished. I really enjoyed it. If you're looking for something to divert your mind from the mundane concerns of life, this is the book to pick up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing modern fable, Oct. 6 2006
By 
Mark Wakely (Lombard, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Life of Pi (Mass Market Paperback)
This novel works best when viewed not as a possibility- like most modern fiction- but as a fable, with the events exaggerated and elements of the fantastic present. Only then is it possible to accept the improbable here, and see the story as a clever means of conveying lessons about religion and faith. Like religious belief, Martel wants us to make a leap of faith with him, and consider the ramifications of the story he's telling rather than argue the details. On that level, the book is brilliant, and raises some important ideas that are worth mulling over when the book is done.

-Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so magic realism, Oct. 25 2003
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
In the book jacket one of the reviewers compares this book to the works of Magic Realism. I myself find that comparison erroneous and offensive.
The book is charming and well written, but it is a lot more "A Beautiful Mind" than any magic realism. That the character does not have a solid ground on truth is already exhibited by the premise that one may combine all three major religions, please God equally as it were. That would only be possible by disassociating himself from the true demands of any faith, by separating the Christian in oneself from the hindu, etc. How schizophrenic is that?
Then there is the matter of how the rest of the story goes. Yes, perhaps a necessary way in which the character manages to cope with a horrible reality... none of the faiths seem to work, because none of them is truly accepted ... thus, something else needs to be invented, this communion with the animals.
A story that makes you believe in God? Hardly, perhaps a new-age type of deity that pleases neither God nor man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Journey, Dec 15 2002
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
Never would I have thought that the story of just a boy and a tiger lost out at sea, could touch on so many things in life, love,loss,family,religion,belief, faith. Martel writes a story that simply does not linger, yet jump from one page to the next. Told in three parts with a true sense of where it's going, Life of Pi is amazingly believeable, and told in such a way that you most likely have never read before. No book or movie that I have read/viewed has come this close to telling the ultimate story of self, and the things we cling to for comfort, hope, and fear.
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Life of Pi
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Paperback - Oct. 10 2002)
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