Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2002
Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger.
Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story, so he tells a second one - more conventional, less fantastic. But is it more true?
A realistic, rousing adventure and meta-tale of survival, Life of Pi explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character claims, to "make you believe in God".
©2001 Yann Martell (P)2002 HighBridge Company
"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction and its human creators." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"If this century produces a classic work of survival literature, Martel is surely a contender." (The Nation)
"You've read it, right? No? Oh, God, hurry up. Life of Pi is wonderful." (Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly)
"Life Of Pi" is a great book, the start is a little slow but needed, though once it picks up, it never slows down. You feel like you are right there with him. The ending will blow you away! Don't miss this one!
I found every moment of this book to be pure gold. I agree that the audio version is perhaps even more perfect than the hard copy because the reader captures so brilliantly the comic timing and philosophic profundity with his subtle Indian accent and dry wit. I will certainly listen to this book again and again and again. And so should you.
I waited more than a month to write this review to see if I would still feel the same...I do. This book is destined to be a classic, and the audio version is possibly better than the printed one. The reader does a perfect job of bringing Pi to life. This book will make you ponder life, religion, and truth. When you are finished with this fictional novel, you'll undoubtedly have a fresh perspective on reality. I recommend it whole-heartedly. Listen...you'll not regret it.
An Indian Boy grows up as the son of a zookeeper. Heads off on a boat to Canada, where the story takes off... Very funny at times, drags (just a bit) early on. The narrator is Indian and tells the story from the viewpoint of the boy. Fantastically told! For a story so outrageous, the narrator makes it believable. Leaves you feeling good and believing that anything is possible. Highly Recommended.
Unlike some audiobooks that you feel are being read to you, the reader of this, Jeff Woodman, really has you believing he is the person telling the story, and he's telling it straight to you! No work of fiction is going to capture everyone's fancy, but for me this was a remarkable work that I've recommended to many friends already, and will share with my boys soon.
I earlier gave this book a very critical review. I could not stomach the first part that was heavily religious. However, after reading another review, I decided to give it a second chance, and happy am I that I did so.
What an incredible story. It is engrossing, charming, pure of heart, shocking, and revitalizing. The protagonist is a wonderful character that never lets go of his will to give his life meaning through telling a good story.
In the end, it is not at all about religion, or faith in religion. The protagonist pities those who reject religion not because they reject the truth, but because they miss out on the best story. And the same can be said for this book, which I think you shouldn't miss.
And, importantly, the narration is very nicely done
This book is not for the faint of heart (or for the 'short-attention-span'). Although some may have found it overly tedious, I would have to challenge that this is a brilliant unity of effect, recreating for the reader the long and thoughtful journey the characters went through. It is a simulation, of sorts, of those lazy summer afternoon stories with grandpa out on the veranda, that is, a reward for those with the patience and stillness of mind and imagination to appreciate it. In our high octane society, this book is a welcome change of pace.
I have an audible library of over 300 books, and this is my first 5 star, truly perfect review. I thought this book was incredibly moving, spiritual without being "churchy" and inspiring in every manner. The audible performance is also fantastic. The production, ennunciation, and word usage is just flawless.
A big, huge, HUGE, thumbs up !!
I can understand why this book won the Booker prize. The story is at times grotesque and yet is always oddly compelling. It is improbable yet realistic, horrific yet uplifting. The book also inspires reflection, which I suppose is the hallmark of "literature". There were points in this book that I almost stopped listening, it was too gory, too improbable, and yet I had to know what happened next, where will this story take me? The first part is, as many other reviewers have noted, somewhat slow. Furthermore I was wondering where is this lifeboat with a tiger that I was promised by the story blurb? However, once I got to that lifeboat I found that the prestory was quite helpful, filling out the character and making some of the earlier remarks that seemed out of place, meaningful.
The narration of this book was quite good, capturing well the matter of fact yet hallucinatory tone of the story. At first the story was difficult to follow and I had to back to the book to ensure that I hadn't somehow skipped a section. My brother in law said it was cheating to listen to this book, but I disagree. I think that the act of listening slowed down the experience and made it more poignant and forceful than reading it on paper. It is easy to skip or skim sections while reading when they first make you uncomfortble but more difficult to do while listening and so I at least absorbed the story more fully hearing it rather than reading it.
If you are looking for literature this is it. It has a well developed theme, well employed literary devices and plenty of meat for analysis. If you are looking for an easy to follow story for entertainment you may be disappointed.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
One of the best books I've read this year. Yann Martel manages to take a relatively simple premise (a boy stuck on a life boat with a tiger) and turn it into both an engaging story and a compelling reflection on spirituality, loss, nature (human and animal), and the will to survive. The main character, Pi Patel, speaks with such sincerity, eloquence, and gentle humor that I felt emotionally connected to him within a few pages, and found his thoughts throughout the book as interesting as his deeds.
Though it's hard to imagine, at first, that a story about being stranded at sea wouldn't wear thin after a while, the plot contains enough turns and twists as to be enthralling from start to finish. Granted, Martel does ask the reader to suspend his or her sense of the plausible at times, but he does so with such a light touch that I never minded. Each part of the book flows naturally to the next part, and even the sections that seem tangential to the main story still feel connected in an important way to it.
In short, this is one of those remarkable books that is both entertaining and genuinely moving.
Also, since this is an audiobook, I will add that whoever provided Pi's voice did a great job. The Indian accent definitely adds something to the telling, and makes a few descriptions a touch more humorous. The other characters are good, too.
I found the narration of this book intensely irritating, with a cod-Indian accent that never sounded natural. The story was extremely slow, with a tediously long set-up. I nearly gave up early on but the middle section held my attention just enough to keep me going - although when I got to the final twist, I was disappointed and wished I hadn't bothered. How on earth did this tiresome book win the Man Booker Prize?
"Fantastical and endearing."
I loved this book. The only minor complaint I have is that it drags a little in places. Otherwise it's a wonderful story and the protagonist is very compelling and instantly likeable. It's also very funny in places and made me laugh out loud while I was at work a couple of times. The narrator is frankly perfect for the role and I can't imagine anyone could do it better.
"Better than the film"
I have now read 4 plus times and I just love it. Will read again for sure.
"A boy and a tiger - fantastic story"
Like another book review recently, I remember reading this when it first came out and struggling to get into the story. And was glad that I did. Having seen the film recently, it prompted me to get the audiobook, and I loved the story all over again.
If you are new to Pi, you may find some of the sections do ramble on a bit. I did find my mind wandering on occasion. But the story is wonderful, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this for your listening experience.
Jeff Woodman does a very nice job with the characterisations. I was sure I recognised his voice, but can't place where......
I don't understand why all the hype? How does this become an oscar winning movie? To say the story is slow to start would be an understatement. After listening to 40 chapters of philosophical and religious rambling by the time the "adventure" started i honestly didn't care if Pi lived or died.
It was so boring in the middle i found myself zoning out for minutes at a time only to come back to find the story had not progressed in the slightest and i had missed nothing of import.
I will admit the ending was better. The last hour or so did hold my attention and change my perspective of the book. HOWEVER this does not make up for the 11 hours of deadly dull, flat drivel that proceeds it.
"Brilliant story told with style"
The cleverness of the plot - how on earth do you survive on a lifeboat with a tiger?
Towards the end where Pi narrates the alternative story.
This was a truly unique story and beautifully read, one of my favourites listens so far.
"An exciting story, but with a touch of repetition!"
I enjoyed the accent played by Jeff Woodman and think Yann Martel did very well to come up with a storyline for someone stranded on a lifeboat for months on end. It seems a daunting task to come up with a plot that won't lead the listener to become bored after a few hours of listening, but I think the author succeeded in keeping the listener's attention and interest throughout.
Not particularly exciting or surprising, as expected really.
Yes. It has urged me to seek out the film on DVD.
Life of Pi is a good listen. I would recommend this book to friends, it firmly places you into the shoes of someone experiencing hunger, thirst, loneliness and the desperate will to survive against all odds. This book has it's gory moments (not distasteful, the right amount too, not over the top) but vital to the theme and well executed by Martel.
At times I found myself a bit bored as the story is set primarily on a lifeboat in the middle of the vast ocean. However, I found that I was not bored for too long as the author came up with some good twists and even gave plenty of interesting facts animals.
An entertaining book not for the feint hearted!
What a book this is. I would recommend it to anybody with a big heart. It's quite educational too. You get to know so many interesting facts about zoos, animals there and about religion too. I truly enjoyed it and in my opinion it's slightly better than the movie because it's of course written in much more detail. It raises interesting philosophical questions too and trust me, you won't be bored! :)
Maybe Robinson Crusoe because it's about survival and friendship.
I really liked his different accents he was impersonating. I enjoyed that.
"Good to hear it read to me"
Not better, but gave me a different perspective. I heard things I hadn't noticed when I read the book.
Stupid question. Again duh.
No idea. Stupid question. I'm getting fed up with these stupid questions...
Really enjoyed coming back to this. It is very beautifully crafted and the audio version helped me to appreciate this even more.
I am really pleased that I am probably one of the few people who hasn't seen this film. The reading of the story was authentic sounding, and, the spoken word gets you right into the head of this young boy in a way that surely can't ever be portrayed in a film. Excellent plot, especially when Pi finds himself having to make up a story at the end for others because they can't believe his real experience.
A good listen, great narration worthy of my token. I even learned a bit about some animals.
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