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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 (12055 )
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  •  
    Rebecca Baltimore, MD, United States 09-22-11
    Rebecca Baltimore, MD, United States 09-22-11 Member Since 2014

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    176
    14
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    "Half was good..."

    Reviewing this book is challenging. While the performance was satisfactory the book itself lacks interest in the beginning. The first half rambled on and on and skipped about on time lines. It was confusing and not very pertinent to the story. The second half was very interesting and entertaining. I finished it and was happy with reading it because all of the reviews raved and I couldn't pass it up but I should caution you that it was challenging to reach the interesting parts. If you are someone with plenty of "listening time" to make it through the first half then it is worth it because you will enjoy the second portion. But if you are someone who is cautious about using credits you may want to pass on this one...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelley 09-22-11
    Kelley 09-22-11

    Just another book reader......but a book reader with style and panache!!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    25
    4
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    "sweeet"

    SURPRISINGLY DIFFERENT STORY. THE AUTHOR WOVE THE STORY INTO A RICH TAPESTRY OF IMAGINED SOUNDS...SMELLS....AND EMOTIONS.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Just a tsp San Antonio TX 09-21-11
    Just a tsp San Antonio TX 09-21-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
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    123
    15
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    "Excellent"

    What can I say that others have not already said? This was excellent from beginning to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Auckland, New Zealand 09-21-11
    Lisa Auckland, New Zealand 09-21-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
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    29
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    "Bit too depressing for me"

    I love survival stories and shipwreck stories, and expect them to include some desperation and dark times, but this one had a bit too much, and also throws in some extreme brutality and a bit of horror on top. Even that's O.K if there's an uplifting payoff at the end, but after suffering though many long hours of listening, there wasn't much of that at all.
    As for the chapters about religion at the beginning, you'd have to be really interested in the subject to not give in and fast forward through them as I ended up doing.
    It's a well written story, but if you don't want to be depressed and disturbed, don't listen to it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Chilliwack, BC, Canada 09-18-11
    Jean Chilliwack, BC, Canada 09-18-11 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
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    164
    14
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    0
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    "Disappointing"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. After all the positive reviews about this book and recommendations from friends, I finally gave in and made my purchase. Thank goodness it was on sale or I would have been quite bitter about wasting a credit. I found the story boring and it seemed to drag on forever! I kept wishing it would just be over so I could move on to something else but eventually I simply gave up. The narrator made me listen a lot longer than I might have with someone less talented.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JS Apache Junction, Arizona, United States 09-15-11
    JS Apache Junction, Arizona, United States 09-15-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    142
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    "Life of Pi"

    It is a wonderful book. Although it started off slow with giving the religious infomration and background of Pi. But, as the story moved on, I understood why. The reader was so moving and I felt that it was actually Pi telling his story. I was right in there with him and Richard Parker. Would recommend this to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy FRIENDSWOOD, TEXAS, United States 09-14-11
    Cindy FRIENDSWOOD, TEXAS, United States 09-14-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    181
    8
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    6
    Overall
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    Story
    "Captivating story line"

    The story was captivating, but too gorey and gruesome when describing the death scenes of the animals and the end of some of characters towards the end of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zegarek NJ 09-13-11
    Zegarek NJ 09-13-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    8
    3
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    "really enjoyed this book"

    Thoroughly enjoyed, and at the end it makes you think! Reminds again the power of Fiction

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JenWill BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 09-08-11
    JenWill BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 09-08-11 Member Since 2015

    J.Williams

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Haven't Stopped Talking About It"

    Since I finished this book I haven't stopped discussing it with fellow readers. The deeper meaning of the story just touched me heart, and it does this without being confined to particular racial or religious barriers. Although it does start off slow, the narration is perfect. Stick with it. Don't worry about absorbing every word and just get to know the main character. You will not feel cheated by the slow beginning towards the end of the book. I hadn't heard anything about this book when I began listening, and it is certainly not a book I would have thought to chose on my own. Audible recommended it as a sale, and I am so glad purchased it on a whim when I needed something to listen to. Never have I read something that caused me to think so much about humanity and story telling; and how they come together to add purpose to our existence. It's a beautiful story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    girorv montreal, QC, Canada 09-05-11
    girorv montreal, QC, Canada 09-05-11 Member Since 2011

    To listen to a great book while I knit is heaven on earth.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "what a performance!"

    the first third of this story is a bit dull. I had a hard time listening to his description of life in a zoo. However the balance of the story more than makes up for it. Jeff Woodman does an amazing job with the narrative.
    Loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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 5 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 8 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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