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 loved this book for its insight into feelings of fear and hope. The narrator's delivery irked me for the first ten minutes until I got used to it, and then I became quite attached to the character and his plight. It was hard to limit myself to listening to the book in small segments, and I found myself mesmerized by the imagery of the premise, even when I wasn't listening to the book. I found the story inspiring for demonstrating that a less-than-super hero can prevail. The attention given to animal psychology made the book very believable. Kudos to the author for pacing the book in such a way that the reader can get the sense of being lost at sea. Highly recommended!
This is by far the best book I have read in years. The opening drew me in immediately. Despite a lot of zoology exposition, it clips along well and I found it fascinating (but then, I find animal behavior fascinating). Martel writes about zoology and zookeeping with authority. Later you realize how important all this discussion is, as it explains how Pi managed to survive with Richard Parker.
Once the main adventure gets going, it is riveting. Highly suspenseful despite the small setting. Throughout, the prose is excellent. I had a hard time putting this book down and I found excuses to catch snatches of it. The ending is satisfying with a touch of mystery, and it makes a point about doubts and what people prefer to believe. Highly, highly recommended.
The narrator is also perfect for this material. He has a light Indian accent but his words are clear and he puts the right inflection when needed. He also does the two other accents very well.
The story-telling device the author uses makes the story interesting. He uses the protagonist's knowledge for zoo animals to convey his thoughts, feelings, and experiences and as a metaphor for the human condition. The story is poignant with vivid images. It moves from realism to surrealism with a twist at the end. Every chapter leaves you eager for the next.
To top it off, the reader of the story is perfect for the part and is easy to listen to.
I could only get through about a third of this book. I had to force myslef through every chapter. It's just so slow. I also thought the Narrators Indian accent was trerrible.
All in all a big disappointment.
This book was a joy to listen to - the narration is wonderful, the quality of the recording is excellent. I did not want to turn off the story. I enjoyed the insight into the Indian culture, and was fascinated by Pi's view on religion and life. Don't miss this colorful and imaginative story of survival.
A Public Speaker and Executive Coach who is interested in humanities, history, astronomy, and comparative religions. A skeptical mind that is hard to convince and a true believer in the underlying commonalities among the human species
This is a great story to listen to, especially with an excellent and expressive narrator. If you listen just for entertainment, its a wonderful story about survival and human ingenuity. If you are looking for more, there is a wealth of hidden meanings and insights about life, relegion, and how humans can create their own world.
poor grad student
Very few audiobooks can make me smile in amusement or bite my lips in empathic horror and Life of Pi made me do just that. I enjoyed the first half of the book which dealt with Pi's quest to find God, and his witty dialogue. His point of view on matter of religion and life are both deep and enlightening, thoroughly from someone who has glimpsed God and swam far and deep in life's temperamental seas. The second half of the book is pure story telling joy. I recommend this book highly.
Hundreds of reviewers have said they love this story, but narrator Jeff Woodman deserves much credit, too. I'm glad I bought the audiobook, rather than the hard copy. Woodman does wonderful voices, and understands characters as well as film actors do. Also check out his reading of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" by Mark Haddon.
As in another review I read on this book it did begin slow but when it got started I could not stop listening. The narriration was excellent and I would recomend this bood to all that love to get away from reality and relax.
Best book I've ever read. Author takes us to an extremely detailed and informed account of life as lived by a person with deep spirituality and optimism. This book promotes the use of imagination and invites to discover the pleasures of knowing stuff, religion, survivorship, zoo administration, life...
"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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"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!
"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.
"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.
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.....
"A deeply worrying message"
The message of Life of Pi is simple - lies are better than truth. Personally I find this to be a deeply worrying message.
The fake Indian accent grates after a while.
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.
Quite how this turgid, preachy nonsense ever won awards is beyond me.
"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.
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