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.
"Nice as Pi"
First off all thank you Jeff Woodman for the great narration of this audio book. I often listen to the books I download on my dull motorway journey to and from work.Sometimes I listen while taking a bath, others on lazy Sunday mornings in bed. It didn't matter where I listened to this book because I was always where the author wanted me to be,which in this books case from about half way through is floating in a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal Tiger for company.This book describes the feelings both mentally and physically of being a starving survivor so well that I could feel my own stomach rumble and feel the heat of the sun on my own parched lips.I'm not so sure about the first fifty or so chapters that tell about Pi's school life,life as a Zoo Keepers son in India and of his devotion to religions and God, but I really enjoyed this listen and the twist at the end that certainly gets you thinking what was true and what was the mental defence a starving brain puts in place to save ones sanity.
"The secrets of survival, tigers and bananas..."
I'll keep this brief: This is a good book, wonderfully read. The narration has exactly the right level of dry humour, and truly makes you believe in the stalwart, surprising character of Pi Patel.
"Unlike anything else!"
This book is impossible to categorize! Fantasy, adventure, blood-curdling violence, indomitable human-spirit, truth v. fiction, religion, humour, natural history, animal behaviour: it has it all! I think listening to the book is better than reading it as there is an awful lot of details about sorts of things that are a bit boring, especially the first part of the book, but if you're doing something else it just flows in one ear and out the other. In the end I enjoyed it and I thought the reader was good. I went to see the film after I'd listened to the book. The film is a visual feast and a much sanitized and softened version of the savagery of the book.
I liked this audiobook a lot. It does take some time to get used to the narration which sounds a little computer generated in the beginning, however that enhances the story when you come to understand the logic of it. The story is highly original and although it is not always clear where its going the ending makes it all worthwhile. It is one of those stories that is more impressive after you sit down to think about it than when you are immersed in it. It also has to be one of the only books I have read whereby after having finished it going back to chapter one feels like a continuation rather than the beginning again.
There are many who have said that this book strengthens their faith in God, but for me it confirmed my cynicism of all religion. People will take from it what they will which is the the strength of the completed book. Books that make you think about life and the world get high marks from me and this is such a book.
"A deeply worrying message"
The message of Life of Pi is simple - lies are better than truth. Personally I find this to be a deeply worrying message.
The fake Indian accent grates after a while.
I would have cut all the religious aspects, as they are relentless and very tiring. I get it, Martel wants you to believe in fairy tales/religion because the real world is full of bad things. Personally I'd take truth, evidence, and reality any day. Nothing good comes from believing lies.
Quite how this turgid, preachy nonsense ever won awards is beyond me.
This book leaves me with a lot of questions and not about the plot. Why is this such a great bestseller, why is this to be said philosophical, why do so many people read such a book, why was this made in a movie????
During listening to this book I was bored a lot of the time, I was angry about stupid assumptions, I was interested on some occations, I was glad the end got closer and closer....
In the beginning the description of the young Pi are to long for me and the parts about religion are not very insidefull to me (taking on three religions at the same time, does not make it a world religion but stripping every religion from its meaning, or is: there is one or some gods, a real believe) besides some comments made me really doubt that the author really knows as much about animals as he wanted to make us believe (a cobra stolen from the zoo by a snake charmer is facing a live of serving?? What about they suffering from getting their teeth broken out).....
There are very distgusting parts (e.g. the zebra gets eaten alive for a whole night and day....)
The story is unlikly but that doesn't bother me. In the end (last 30 minutes) the story gets a really good turn (don't want to put it differntly, because it would spoil it for other readers) and makes the other part on the lifboat really symbolic, but the ten hours of description were to much.....
"A must read for so many reasons"
Life of Pi is as enjoyable as it is thought provoking. It's an absorbing, engaging story I'd recommend to anyone. I had to listen to it at every opportunity. I even volunteered to wash up and clean the whole kitchen just so I could have it on in the background!
Jeff Woodman was the perfect narrator, I was amazed that he was able to produce an accent that merged Canadian with Indian; I felt I was listening to Pi Patel telling me his story.
It's wonderful, download it!
"Strange and interesting"
I enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as I had hoped. Because of its reputation and award, I thought it would have more depth, and maybe I missed any metaphors or spiritual message, but to me it was quite a straightforward though beautifully told story.
The character of Pi was engaging and the strangeness of his story makes it compulsive listening, just because it is so different to anything else I have read. The depiction of Richard Parker, the oddly-named 450-pound Bengal Tiger that Pi finds himself sharing a lifeboat with is superb, as are the exploits on the boat.
A memorable listen, well read and recommended.
"Enigmatic and fascinating"
The reader's voice took a little getting accustomed to but the story is well worth the praise and attention it has received. The narrative which brushes always against the surreal and plays it against the commonplace brutality of real life reminds the reader of the great Mervyn Peake. It touches a very real nerve in the human psyche and is highly recommended.
"Affirms the power of storytelling"
Unlike some listeners who found the first third of the book a little slow I enjoyed it from the beginning ? with its witty observations and asides on people, animals and religion. The tale of survival had me enthralled ? it is insightful, lyrical and descriptive though perhaps it drags a little toward the end and becomes rather too fanciful. The ending cleverly draws all the elements together and makes you think about the role and importance of storytelling long after the book is finished. The excellent choice of narrator enhances the enjoyment of the novel.
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