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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Denise Valencia, CA, USA 09-30-09
    Denise Valencia, CA, USA 09-30-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow start, fabulous finish"

    At first it was hard to get into Pi's life. It was slow, but interesting. It did give backround and set up for why and how such a young boy of 16 could survive the seas for so long. I did enjoy the authors writing and the wonderful narration. As others have mentioned, the story really takes off once Pi is shipwrecked with Richard Parker, a 450 lb Bengal Tiger! Not only did he survive, he survived 227 days. He even repeatedly stated he could not have survived without Richard Parker. I loved the dialogue Pi had with himself and RP. Very humorous in the face of death at every turn. I can absolutely recommend this audiobook to friends.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan new york, NY, USA 09-03-09
    Jonathan new york, NY, USA 09-03-09 Member Since 2013
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    "Slow start - but then I loved it"

    Life of Pi is a brilliant book, it is wonderful as an audiobook and it is some of the best narration I have ever heard.

    I must admit I almost stopped listening about 1/4 of the way through. The first part of the book did not inspire me to go on. I felt more like I was trudging through information that I was mildly interested in but not enough to keep listening to. I am so glad I persevered.

    This part of the book simply sets the table. Once - I do not think I am giving too much away here - Pi is in the life raft with Richard Parker the book soars. The story is fascinating and the details, well, it is a book of delicious details - writerly and humorous. Just as Pi's survival is painstakingly workmanlike, Martel's prose describing that survival seems effortless - the ending put it over the top.

    This is a book that I never read, but I can't imagine my own dull voice doing justice to Martel's words the way Jeff Woodman's narration does. The voice, the story, the individual scenes linger on long after this book is finished. In fact, when the book is done is when so many thoughts and questions about its significance and real meaning begin.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gisella Mexico D.F., Mexico 07-21-09
    Gisella Mexico D.F., Mexico 07-21-09 Member Since 2012

    Avid listener, teacher of English as a foreign language in Mexico City. Very interested in recommendations.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't miss it"

    This book was recommended to me within the website so many times and I was reluctant. Giving in to the recommendation was highly rewarding. This is one of the very best audiobooks I've ever heard. It's light, simple, yet profound in meaning, very humorous and soul fulfilling.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Malibu CA, United States 06-06-09
    Laura Malibu CA, United States 06-06-09
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    "Suspend Disbelief"

    Life of Pi is among the most original and poignant books I've read. I'm surprised to see any negative reviews. If you're looking to be completely transported this is the book! Spoiler: many questions cannot be answered.

    The narrator is superb.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 05-27-09
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 05-27-09 Member Since 2014
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    "so original"

    How is it that a voyage in a life boat with a boy and a tiger could be so engrossing? I really enjoyed this book and only wished I had read hard copy with a book group to discuss all the themes.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvonne c, IL, United States 05-25-09
    Yvonne c, IL, United States 05-25-09 Member Since 2014
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    "Too Many Obstacles"

    This book came highly recommended by friends who have read it, and has been critically well reviewed. I'm parting company with them.

    The parts dealing directly with Pi's life were interesting. They were interspersed with long, really long, philosophical, theological and religious lectures. The author blathers on and on as if in love with the sight of his own words and entranced by the sound of his own voice. It didn't advance the story at all.

    It was like running an obstacle course to get back to the interesting parts, and finally I just tired of it. I tried three times, and finally decided that I'd had enough.

    The narrator was excellent. But not even he could enliven this pseudo treatise.

    How/why this book received the excellent reviews and awards is a mystery to me.

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Plano, Texas 05-08-09
    Mark Plano, Texas 05-08-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very fun to listen to"

    I enjoyed this book. I knew nothing about the book when I started listening, and I think that made it even better. Every adventure was interesting and heart-breaking at the same time.

    The Narrators voice was fun and added to the authenticity of the story.

    The language was at times beautiful and at times a little too flowery for me, but it didn't detract from the story. The author also almost slapped you in the head with his foreshadowing, but somehow it worked.

    I would highly recommend this book. I didn't want to get out of my car when I was listening to it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Hermitage, PA, United States 04-29-09
    D Hermitage, PA, United States 04-29-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Good Listen"

    I finally got around to listening to this one. I was hesitant, but I would say it was worth a listen. It may be a bit overhyped, I don't think I would say it was the best book I have ever read! I did enjoy the narration, the character's accent made it more enjoyable. I must advise that if you are squeamish at all I would skip this book! Yes, Yes I realize that it is all part of the animal kingdom but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy listening to very graphic descriptions of such things! It is difficult especially if you are an animal lover like me!
    So if you can stomach through those parts you may find yourself enjoying this book. In fact, you may find yourself re-reading it all over again once you hear how it ends!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael kansas city, MO, United States 04-11-09
    Michael kansas city, MO, United States 04-11-09 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

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    "second or first favorite.."

    where is the movie for this.. this has got to be one of the most brilliant well thought out stories i have ever heard. its one you wish you could memorize to tell your grand kids one day.. the ending is as good as.... no its better than that.. hands down my pick of the year..

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. F. Plona Phoenix, AZ 04-06-09
    T. F. Plona Phoenix, AZ 04-06-09 Member Since 2012

    Plimtuna

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    "Three distinct parts make a solid whole"

    There are three parts to this story of Pi; the foundation/beginning, the time at sea and the rescue. All three have their purpose and that purpose is to make a whole story.

    Some reviewers have written that the first part was too slow and pondering. Others loved the second section, but hated the rescue. Nevertheless, until you see that each part makes the other parts necessary and plausible you will not fully understand and appreciate the book.

    Pi is a character that I want to meet one day. He is a breath of fresh air. His thinking process, his analysis of life and his take on reality are all unique and uplifting.

    I listened to the book in record time for me. I found myself wishing my journey in my car would not end. I slowed down to give myself more time to listen. I am already planning to share the book or the audio version with my wife and children. As I am sure, the book will create a great conversation and a opportunity for a shared experience.

    The audio reader of the book was quite believable as the voice of Pi. The accent, tone and timing were quite good.

    I would strongly recommend this fanciful tale.

    Extra Note: To those who balked at the depictions of animals eating other animals I recommend you study more about the reality of the animal kingdom. It is not all stuffed bears and cuddly tiger cubs. Violence and death and savagery do happen in the wild, it is the nature of life.

    1 of 2 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
  • 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
  • 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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
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