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Life of Pi Paperback – Oct 10 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 269 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada; 1 edition (Oct. 10 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676973779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676973778
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 269 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
Time for a letter to one of the books that changed my life forever, guys! I only tend to write "letters" to books that have affected me as a person and as a whole. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is one of those books. I can see why the world went crazy.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: I received this signed book as part of a Random House Facebook giveaway.

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?
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Format: 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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