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Life of Pi Paperback – Black & White, May 1, 2003
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Yann Martel's imaginative and unforgettable Life of Pi is a magical reading experience, an endless blue expanse of storytelling about adventure, survival, and ultimately, faith. The precocious son of a zookeeper, 16-year-old Pi Patel is raised in Pondicherry, India, where he tries on various faiths for size, attracting "religions the way a dog attracts fleas." Planning a move to Canada, his father packs up the family and their menagerie and they hitch a ride on an enormous freighter. After a harrowing shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a 26-foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker ("His head was the size and color of the lifebuoy, with teeth"). It sounds like a colorful setup, but these wild beasts don't burst into song as if co-starring in an anthropomorphized Disney feature. After much gore and infighting, Pi and Richard Parker remain the boat's sole passengers, drifting for 227 days through shark-infested waters while fighting hunger, the elements, and an overactive imagination. In rich, hallucinatory passages, Pi recounts the harrowing journey as the days blur together, elegantly cataloging the endless passage of time and his struggles to survive: "It is pointless to say that this or that night was the worst of my life. I have so many bad nights to choose from that I've made none the champion."
An award winner in Canada, Life of Pi, Yann Martel's second novel, should prove to be a breakout book in the U.S. At one point in his journey, Pi recounts, "My greatest wish--other than salvation--was to have a book. A long book with a never-ending story. One that I could read again and again, with new eyes and fresh understanding each time." It's safe to say that the fabulous, fablelike Life of Pi is such a book. --Brad Thomas Parsons
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.
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Top customer reviews
I,for one, am a HUGE reader. Honestly, even though I read excessively, I rarely find books that where when I finish, I wish to start over and read again. Anyway, this story is about a young boy who's name is Pi. When his family moves from their current home via ship, it has assorted animals from their old business, a zoo.The ship ends up sinking, and when Pi gets in a lifeboat he doesn't realize that there is a tiger there also. This book explains the love/ relationship between the two as they journey through the ocean, all alone.
I recommend this book to all YA, adults, or middle school level. Kudos to Yann Mattel, your book just got a 5.
Life of Pi takes place in 1970's India where we get the story of Pi growing up in a zoo. The book continues with Pi ending in a shipwreck and having to share a lifeboat with a tiger.
The way Martel tells the story is very interesting. There's the parallel story of Martel himself going to visit an older Pi who tells the story that we are now reading. There's the occasional zoology lesson interspersed and an examination of faith. All this combined with the brutality of surviving in the Pacific Ocean. All of this is told through Pi, through Martel, through Pi which makes it quite a third hand telling.
The ending is however genius as it completely flips the story on its head and you might have a revelation from it.
Overall a great read, and be sure to catch the movie as well!
The explicit attention to detail and information will have one truly believing that they're experiencing this journey with Pi. It's really hard to complete in words the adventure and amazement this book took me through. I would have to say with indefinite confidence that no other novel has left me speechless like this one. Would HIGHLY recommend.
Pi credits his religion, his faith in God as the thing that saved him. He actually practices 3 different religions, apparently with no difficulty Pi relies on his ingenuity for survival. He finds and used many things on the lifeboat to survive, i.e., he builds his own life raft (that he attaches to the lifeboat by rope) while afraid of sleeping with Richard Parker so close. Collecting rainwater, catching fish and turtles, and developing a relationship with Richard Parker, all demonstrate his uncanny abilities.
The book is very well written; it is a pleasure to read. Pi narrates, but he is relating the story to a another person who actually writes the novel. I cannot give the book 5 stars; there is a section where apparently Pi is hallucinating and I struggled to read pages that made no sense to me. Pi does tell the reader in the beginning that anyone who reads and believes the book will strengthen their belief in God. Survival is possible, but not alone.