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Life of Pi | [Yann Martel]

Life of Pi

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: If you've never been lost in the middle of the ocean, on a small boat filled with wild animals, you have missed a great adventure. Luckily, you have a chance to be transported to that terrifying and wondrous trip through the magic of Martell's writing and Woodman's narration. Whether you are in the car, at the gym, or walking the dog as you listen, you'll begin to feel the rock of the waves against your boat and feel the heat of a tiger's breath on your neck. (Beth Anderson)

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (11833 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Peter San Francisco, CA, USA 08-22-03
    Peter San Francisco, CA, USA 08-22-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
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    13
    4
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    "This is what storytelling is all about"

    The whole point of this book is not the beginning, nor the end, but the journey through the story itself: you get enough insight into Pi's character to believe his emotions and motivations, and the story moves right along across the Pacific.
    If anyone gave you a summary of the book you would think it sounds ridiculous: an Indian boy drifts across the Pacific with a Tiger. However, once you start reading, you are ready to suspend any disbelief in the plausibility of that concept. Simply amazing.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Parry Saint Paul, MN, USA 05-09-03
    Parry Saint Paul, MN, USA 05-09-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
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    14
    7
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    0
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    Overall
    "Outstanding"

    Very original, thoughtful and just a great story. It's a really enjoyable book. The narration is just perfect, you feel like Pi is telling his fascinating story right to you, the narrator captured the character very well. Highly recommended.

    75 of 87 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayle 09-01-13
    Gayle 09-01-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    126
    ratings
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    141
    98
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    "I Think I Must Have Missed Something..."

    I read all the glowing reviews for this title so, when it was offered as the Daily Deal, I went ahead and bought it. It started out fairly well - interesting, flowed well, but then...it just went off the deep end. It got a little boring and drug after awhile at sea, then...the island...what the?! I forced myself to finish it thinking it had to get better or at least have a good finish - Nope, not so! The narrator did a wonderful job and is probably the only reason I suffered through the entire mess to the end. What a colossal waste of nearly 12 hours! Needless to say, I will NOT be wasting anymore of my time by watching the movie!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Petaluma, CA, United States 04-07-09
    Alan Petaluma, CA, United States 04-07-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    14
    6
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    "missing important part"

    great book, excellently read~~~

    BUT it is missing the vital, and i mean vital, opening "authors note" of 6 pages. This "note' is an integral part of the novel and the publisher, HighBridge Audio, has known of this ommission for years and should have added it in by now.

    Have a look at the book in a bookstore so to read the few pages before you begin...

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Plano, TX, USA 10-02-08
    Kim Plano, TX, USA 10-02-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
    ratings
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    274
    17
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    1
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    "Glad I downloaded it"

    I knew nothing about the Life of Pi before I got this download other than someone mentioned it on a website during a "Tell me your favorite books" thread, and a number of people agreed.

    I loved the story, and the narrator brought it to life vividly.

    I recommend you read for yourself before seeing other reviews, I think many read too much or to little into into it.

    Take the journey, and decide for yourself what is real and what is not.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Yeats Tulsa, OK 08-18-08
    B. Yeats Tulsa, OK 08-18-08 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
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    "Breathless"

    This book left me breathless, unable to speak. Some reviews have said the beginning is slow, but I like all the details, and they helped paint a picture of who he was in his youth. The middle of the book locked me in, and I became obsessed, the end left me breathless wanting to listen again so I could go back over the details of the story. You will enjoy it very much.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    junerenee 06-26-08
    junerenee 06-26-08 Member Since 2006

    I joined audible when I first discovered in in 2006. I listen while: working out, knitting, cleaning, driving... Multitasking=win!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Loved it."

    I loved loved loved this audio book! From beginning to end. Beautifully written. It was one of those books where you can't wait to find out what happens, but you are sad when it ends. The narrator was very pleasing to listen to as well!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tan. 04-19-05
    Tan. 04-19-05 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Difficult at the beginning, but well worth it!"

    I have to admit that I really did have a difficult time getting into this book at first. However, after I did it developed into an exquisite story! You can almost taste, hear, smell what's happening. Well worth the effort.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie East Millstone, NJ, United States 01-19-05
    Laurie East Millstone, NJ, United States 01-19-05 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    "Mystical, magical, memorable"

    This is one of those books which I looked at in bookstores countless times but had no interest in reading. The reviews here convinced me to give it a try and it turned out to be one of the best novels I have ever read. The narrator was perfect and I believe that I got much more out of listening to the book than I would have by silently reading it, though I plan to do that in the future, my appreciation for the novel is so deep. It does start out a bit slowly, but listen carefully so you can get to know Pi before his great challenge.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    10-06-03
    10-06-03 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    178
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    "Life of Pi"

    I listened in my car and I didn't want to get out. I found myself thinking about both the theology and the zoology of survival as the book unfolded, when I was not in the car. The main charachter is passionate for life from both perspectives, which is exciting to the listener. I could feel his joys, fears, and pain. The reader is perfect for this book, with his clearly understood Indian accent.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • Sandra
    Redditch, worcestershire, United Kingdom
    12/17/06
    Overall
    "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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Matt Gibson
    Bristol, UK
    10/21/07
    Overall
    "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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    1/6/13
    Overall
    "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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Marcus
    Oxford, United Kingdom
    5/7/12
    Overall
    "Good listen"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    Brighton, United Kingdom
    6/9/11
    Overall
    "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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    Beulah, United Kingdom
    6/23/10
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Nick
    Stevenage, United Kingdom
    3/25/09
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    Germany
    12/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "??????????????"

    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.....

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mendo Shutaro
    Leamington
    9/25/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A deeply worrying message"
    Would you try another book written by Yann Martel or narrated by Jeff Woodman?

    No


    What could Yann Martel have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The message of Life of Pi is simple - lies are better than truth. Personally I find this to be a deeply worrying message.


    What didn’t you like about Jeff Woodman’s performance?

    The fake Indian accent grates after a while.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Life of Pi?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Quite how this turgid, preachy nonsense ever won awards is beyond me.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Laurel
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    4/20/09
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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