Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction
Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true?
Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Canadian author Yann Martel’s crowd-pleasing allegorical novel tells the story of a wide-eyed young man who survives more than seven months at sea in a lifeboat with a menagerie of wild animals. After an idyllic childhood in lush Pondicherry, where his family ran the local zoo, Pi Patel embarks on a new chapter when his family decides to leave India and emigrate to Canada. When their ship capsizes, the heartbroken Pi must employ his intimate knowledge of animal behavior—and his boundless faith—to survive a harrowing ordeal. Martel’s vivid prose and assured storytelling make Life of Pi a moving, crowd-pleasing pageturner.
A tinted review in adult Forecasts indicates a book that's of exceptional importance to our readers, but hasn't received a starred or boxed review.LIFE OF PIYann Martel. Harcourt, $25 (336p) 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 (n 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. FYI:Booksellers would be wise to advise readers to browse through Martel's introductory note. His captivating honesty about the genesis of his story is almost worth the price of the book itself.
Fanciful and entertaining
I wish I read the book without reading the reviews too extensively beforehand. I think reading the reviews ruined the element of surprise that I think would have made this book engrossing, not merely entertaining. Regardless, I find the writing style lovely. The author's note hooked me immediately. I laughed out loud on several occasions, particular how he was named from a swimming pool in Paris. That's just lol twisted humor. I was completely creeped out by his discovery of the true nature of the seemingly idyllic island. I loved learning about animal psychology, and how he used it on the Bengal tiger to survive.
Unlike many reviews about the first half of the book being slow, I enjoyed his forays into various religions and found it comical at times. I would recommend the book to my two kids in middle school but I don't think they'll grasp the 'deeper' themes about religion or god and find it boring. I think chapter 39 is when the 'action' part starts. But the 'action' part might pale in comparison to the media deluge kids nowadays are used to. My 10 year old has read the Hunger Games trilogy and is on book 5 of 7 of the Harry Potter series. The 'action' in these books are more along the lines of their expectations of 'entertaining.'
I am glad I read the book. I highly recommend it. It is suitable for all ages. I think I will go see the movie by Ang Lee.
Great book but bad ebook copy. Purchase somewhere else.
I love this book and read it a few years ago in hard copy. Now reading a lot of things on my iPad, I decided to buy it on iBooks.
However, when I came to the final chapters, not only does there appear to be a super confusing typo (talking about mixing up two towns with similar names, both are typed in this ebook identically, ruining the point of the chapter and making it highly confusing), but also, the entire final chapter is prefaced by saying that the writer is representing multiple languages with differing fonts. Every word is in exactly the same font. Once again the ebook takes out the creativity of the author and the point of much of that chapter.
I definitely recommend the book but would suggest either purchasing it in paper form, or on a competing app if there is a better copy on kindle, etc.
If someone from apple corrects this, please let me know and I'll change my review...
Don't give up if you're Christian.
When I read the reviews saying "don't read if you're Christian" -- It upsets me that that is the only content people can take away from this book. I'm a Christian and read the whole book, and was not offended. In no part does he out rightly reject God. In fact, the whole book is him praying to God and trusting in him. I think this book actually helped me understand the views of different people and could help me connect with more people and bring up God and beliefs. I benefited. I don't think you should just give up on a book because the main character is Islam or Hindu. (In several parts he takes on Christian practices). It's true there are people with different religions than just Christianity.
Besides from the deep religious undertones, I loved this book. Quite a turning plot twist at the end. It took me a while to read -- but I'm glad I stuck with it. If you're into somewhat philosophical themes you'll love this book. It is a bit gory so if you don't like graphic content such as detailed descriptions of death-- maybe not for you.
Overall a great book. And I can't wait to see how it is portrayed in the upcoming movie.