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
Dear My One and Only Special Book,
I expected much worse from you. When I began reading Young Adult Fiction, I was introduced to you and your movie (which was fabulous as well), but I had doubts. A book about a boy and a tiger, both stranded on a float-boat-thing in the middle of the Pacific where there are fantasy aspects? That didn't seem like quite my cup of tea. And then, tenth grade rolled around and my friends, who had English first semester, couldn't stop raving about you. I began to anticipate your arrival into my heart more and more. (That also couldn't sound even more cheesier). They kept telling me about how there is a big shocker at the end of you and how our teacher explained it amazingly. I COULDN'T WAIT.
I read you almost in a night, in a sitting. I finished you before the rest of my class did, and I couldn't stop squealing with my best friend about the ending and everything. I would like to share your plot with the rest of Goodreads and the blogging community, if you don't mind.
"Richard Parker has stayed with me. I've never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart."
People.Read more ›
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. The beginning didn't grab me, and it was confusing as it shifted story lines, but once Pi's voyage started it became really fascinating. Once I got near the end, I kept reading without stopping because I didn't want to put the book down without knowing how it all ended.
I wish I paid more attention to details as I read, but the descriptions made up for the times I started to skim lines. Pi's life following up to the main part of the story was a curious thing - and I couldn't help but think at the time that it was irrelevant - yet his exploration of religion and his relationship to animals and the zoo were intriguing. Once the voyage began, I knew the type of character he was and it was a great experience to be immersed in his character as he suffered through his trials.
I didn't understand who the tiger was at first, as the name Richard Parker was thrown around as though it were an important man that Pi was betrayed by; it threw me off as it jolted me back and forth through story lines. But the relationship that Pi had with Richard Parker was interesting to see developed, and I wasn't expecting to enjoy his training of the tiger and his survival story as much as I did.
One would think that discussing the day to day boring bits of surviving hundreds of days on a boat would be mind-numbingly boring, but everything was described so wonderfully that I found myself hoping, cheering, cringing, and grimacing along with Pi. The story made me think - think things like 'would I be able to kill and eat raw fish so easily?' or, more so, 'would I even be able to survive; could I make the necessary preparations to even try?Read more ›
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 7 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 7 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 11 months ago by TeenageRead
I enjoyed it. Much better than the movie, which was all about the visual effectsPublished 13 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 13 months ago by PaolaG