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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 (10363 )
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4.2 (5660 )
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4.4 (5628 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 03-28-04
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 03-28-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    168
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    "Great!"

    Definitely worth listening to. The only reason that I didn't give it five stars is because it is a bit slow at times. Interesting story, with plot twists and some bits of humor that temper the overlying sadness of Pi's situation.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Round Rock, TX, USA 03-27-04
    Mark Round Rock, TX, USA 03-27-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much"

    OK story, more than just a story, but a fable shouldn't read as if the author is being paid by the word. I almost began feeling like I was adrift in a lifeboat with no hope for rescue. That may be the author's point, but who wants to feel like they're in a lost and pointless story? The ending was doubly satisfying...finally, the book ended...I was beginning to think it would never end, and yes, the ending of the book made me feel like I hadn't wasted my time, thankfully. After reading so many gushing reviews of this title, I was thinking "the emperor isn't wearing any clothes"! It's OK, but I can't see 5 stars!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Lake Worth, FL, USA 03-26-04
    Ryan Lake Worth, FL, USA 03-26-04 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    135
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    "Great Story!"

    This was an awesome book! It begins a bit tedious and explanatory but unwinds into a whirlwind of a story that will keep your imagination running. This is a book that will keep you thinking long after you're done with it. I highly recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc S 03-17-04
    Marc S 03-17-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Refreshing and Uplifting"

    A savory story which swells the heart and sparks the mind. The author is an inspired artist well rooted in his medium. The narration was superb and proved the Indian accent to be a proud member of the wonderful spices of India.

    Bravo, bravo!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Orange, CT, USA 03-09-04
    Daniel Orange, CT, USA 03-09-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "An interesting tale..."

    Morbidly fun descriptions, a depressing yet fun book. I know, that sounds totally sketchy. But you must read it to understand!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol sierra Vista, AZ, United States 02-20-04
    Carol sierra Vista, AZ, United States 02-20-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "A Fantastic Book"

    This book was a treat! More so because of the super narration. I was hooked immediately and completely forgot that this is a work of fiction. If I'm ever stranded on a desert island, this is the book I want to have with me--in case I run into a tiger!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Fresno, CA, USA 02-19-04
    Laura Fresno, CA, USA 02-19-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely stunning"

    This is now one of my favorite books of all time. Mixing zoology, religion, and suvivalism, Yann Martel has written a moving and vastly interesting book. Rarely do you find a book with such elegant writing paired with an intriguing plot. I urge you to read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K&R in SD San Diego 02-19-04
    K&R in SD San Diego 02-19-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Save your money!"

    This is the worst book I have listened to from Audible. The endless detail just wore me down. Other reviews on this book have mentioned how it came together in the end. I don't agree at all. This book is one that I would have passed up had I known how really bad it was. Almost anything I had done with my time besides listen to this book would have been better. Save your money or book credit for something worthwhile. This is not it!

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Muller SF CA USA 02-12-04
    P. Muller SF CA USA 02-12-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Well-written big fun"

    The book did start a little slow - description and reviews set high expectations - but the quality of the writing, and of the narration really paid off. The combination of different accents by the narrator, intriguing plot development, delicious philosophical nuances and an intriguing twist at the end made for a thought-provoking but not pretentious work of literature.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Minnetonka, MN, USA 02-10-04
    Tim Minnetonka, MN, USA 02-10-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Best yet"

    I've gone through 5 audiobooks, and this is the best yet. Get through the first 3 1/2 hours and you're rewarded with prose bitingly real and parabolic. The essay like style at the onset fades quickly as the adventure sets to sea, and the pursuing tale kept my earphones on long after the drive.

    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
  • Philip
    Stafford, United Kingdom
    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 4 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 3 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!

    2 of 2 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
  • 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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