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)
I thoroughly enjoyed "Life of Pi". This is so much more than just a story about survival on a boat for over 200 days (how boring would that be?). It is a treatise on several topics such as religion, prejudice, courage, and sanctity of life. The narration is also excellent, to match the prose. I believe every personal account of survival against all odds must delve into the philosophical realm, and this story has many such layers. However, the author uses humor as an effective counterbalance to keep the story from getting too heavy.
You would never guess that a story that takes place almost entirely in the confines of a small boat could be so engrossing, funny, sad ensightful and entertaining. The reader makes the story jump from the pages. What a lovely person Pi is...someone we would all want to know. A wonderful story that kept me glued to my iPod!
Of the 40+ books I've "read" so far this year, this is one of three I'd highly recommend. Others have mentioned what this book is about, so I won't bore you with repitition. I'll only say this: You'll remember this book a long while after reading it.
A fantastic book from beginning to end. Not only is the quality of the book superior, but the reader takes great pains to differentiate every character and give them each depth beyond what is written on paper. Clearly the reader has studied the book, and gives everything the correct inflection. The book itself is a glorious story, both heartwarming and heartbreaking, that drags you in from beginning to end.
To cover many of life's persistant questions (love and joy vs cruelty and fear, life vs death, the existance of God, faith and religion vs science and rationality, reality vs illusion) in a great tale of survival at sea is a remarkable feat. Along with all these deep thoughts is included facinating lessons on animal life and behavior, zookeeping, culinary and cultural pictures of south India, and usefull ideas for anyone who may find themselves stranded at sea. I listened to most of this book while walking on the beach, which is an excellent setting for this epic story. The readers are excellent, adding much to the experience by bringing the various ethnic accents to life. Also, listening beats trying to read the many difficult to pronounce Indian words.
This is a wonderful story, and totally engrossing; plus I feel it is one where being an audio book enhanced the literary experience. Very well read. It is a little slow initially, but not for long. I agree it definitely must be read to the end.
The first question that comes to mind is how the author conceived the idea of a boy in a liferaft with a tiger? And then he pulled it off!! I am amazed that one reviewer panned this book because I thought it was wonderful. It is a perfect example of perspective, because it shows the different ways that Pi viewed the tiger. But I won't ruin it with any details. Just get it and enjoy.
Although the start of the book is slow, the finish is magical. I highly recommend this book for those willing to reserve judgement until the end.
This story is an example of an ingenious literary technic of rendering a tale with the beginning being a story with very believeable personal life opinions and social statements and views, clear incidents of early childhood family experiences, continuing cleverly into a slowly woven tale told as a seemingly nonficticious adventure, still developing further into an epic like heroic saga and 'more than just real' dramatic account that keeps the reader guessing ..'can this perhaps truly have happened?'.
Read it all..you will be rewarded for your efforts! Bravo!
A lovely story of bravery, loss and turmoil. Never struggled to get through any of the story and was eager for the next opportunity to listen again.
"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.
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.
"Just didn't like it, not my kind of book"
I would not read another book written my Yann Martel, it just excite me at all. Jeff Woodman however, read the book well and he is the only reason that I kept on listening to the end.
The characters didn't come to life for me, the plot was boring and lacking something in my opinion. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen and for me, nothing ever did that made me change my opinion of the story at all.
I didn't really feel the narrator detracted from the book at all, he read it perfectly.
I was disappointed in the book, after being told that it was a good read, I expected a lot more from it than I got.
It just wasn't my type of book at all.
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