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)
This is a story of a boy. A boy named Pi Patel. (he's actually piscina patel, but ... you get the idea) It's decent. He's from India and is immigrating to Canada. His Father is a zoologist and the animals are coming with him.
The ship goes down. Pi gets stranded on a boat, with animals. But there's actually a decent amount of story before he gets stranded on the boat.
I think the whole being stranded on a boat idea is a metaphor for human life. As in, we have enough of an idea to keep us going, but the question of human existence is kind of a mystery and we are hungry for more. There are also things that could eat us alive, and little bits that can sustain us.
Before he gets stranded on the boat, you learn he is religious. Like, 3 religions religious. Specifically Hindu, Christian and Muslim. Some people don't like that. Specifically the Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Interesting but kind of inconsequential commentary at that point.
I'm gonna get to the end of the story but before that, the moral of the story is: Some stories are more imaginative and creative. Those are better stories. Religions (or 3 religions) can be a better story than the factual. If you choose a better story, you may enjoy life more. (Donald Miller would approve? Read "A million miles in a thousand years" you'll know what i'm talking about.)
The most interesting part for me was at the end. But first, two things:
1. I'll be honest and say Yann Martel lost me when Pi was on the boat. Lots of symbolism and later there's some explanation for some of it, but it was too detailed or abstract and didn't hold my interest.
Pi ends up making it. There's a bunch of animals and they all die except the Tiger, who runs off when he finally lands in Mexico.
Afterwards, he gets interviewed by some Japanese guys who are part of the company who ran the boat that sank. They want to know why the boat sank. Pi tells them the story with the animals etc. They want a different more factual story and so he gives them one. (the animals represent people!) THEN!
he asks them if either story answers their question (about the boat sinking). It doesn't. then he asks which story is better. They say the one with animals.
So, Religion often doesn't answer the questions we are asking. Choose the one (or 3) with better stories.
Believer in what you can't see
Yes, I first read the story and then I listened to an audio version and I would have to say that the audio version brought color and texture to a story that required more than the written word.
The trauma on the lifeboat was the most memorable because you had to experience the terrible death of others and you couldn't do anything about it.
He was Pi which allow an understanding of what and how the character felt through the whole story.
No, some of the scenes are so disturbing that I had to take a break before continuing.
It took me a long time to get engaged in this one. I particularly disliked the vivid descriptions of how carnivores kill and eat their food. Slowly, the story pulled me in, but I wasn't sure I'd stay with it at first. I did like the way the author concluded the story with an alternate explanation of the events. It made me revisit the different events of the story that I took more at face value as I read them, and see them in a new light.
No because the rambling on about philosophy bored me.
No, I want my time back.
not sure why I listened to the whole thing. :(
I am so glad I finally purchased Life of Pi and especially pleased that it was in the form of an audiobook. The journey on which this book takes you is simply unforgettable. The performance of the narrator added colour and depth. A great listen!
An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.
Call me ignorant, point the finger at me and laugh a pitiful laugh but I just didn't get it. Everyone I know loved it, loves the movie, thinks it is genius but for this Antipodean Audiofile, I didn't quite abandon ship but boy did I feel like it. Maybe I am missing the Spiritual Gene or am not a Zoo-a-holic, I don't know but don't blame me if you listen and get befuddled like me.
Did not read print, but loved the audio
It's a completely realistic fantastic story. I hung on every one of Pi's words. I could imagine that events would have unfolded just that way. Pi's spirituality and his parent's bafflement at this was touching. Mostly, to me, his connection to the animals who were as they were. This was not Disney.
When Pi decided that he has animal management skills and started to train Richard Parker.
The realism and drama were continued as Pi continued to re-enforce the training as needed, always aware, always alert.
Never relying on a perceived "connection" to Richard Parker.
I could not wait for the movie, which was done well, though, as usually, could not transmit all that the book did. Also, it was toned down for the children who probably expected a Disney animal story.
Loved the visuals. It struck me by how much I had the sense of deja vu, since the words had already painted the pictures for me, shade by subtle shade.
This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.
** I am trying to write this with no spoilers (bar what you already know from the book cover) **
Yes, for the vast majority of the book, this is a story of one young man, a boat lost at sea and a tiger and, while it may seem interesting as an oddity or even as a short story, I would challenge anyone to come with a scenario for a complete book.
Amazingly enough, the book takes these ingredients and makes of it infinitely more. It is a tale of the daily life of a young Indian boy with a greatly interesting family as well. It is tale of survival when stranded with no water or food. It is tale of companionship between potential foes. It is a tale of adventures in the high seas. The book really kept me on my toes with new things happening at every page and great combination of humor and dramatic tension.
I should also mention that the narrator is absolutely fantastic; some may think that he is overdoing it with the indian accent but, in my opinion, it is delightful to hear. It's just not only the accent he does, but the boyish naive talk and the tension when something sad or unexpected occurs. He is also an artist with other voice acting when needed, from japanese to french. I have listened many voice actors on audible, and gave 5's quite often but on that same scale, this would be easily a 9 or 10.
A fellow listener inclined to share my opinion on these productions. Maybe even inspire someone toward a powerful, or educational audiobook!
I really love a book that can run me through my emotions. This book was able to play my heart strings, from the beginning to the end! The character Pi has been developed so well, you can not help but love him, and root for his safe rescue or return to safety. If you like books where you are wiping tears off your face so you can finish an intensely written page, you are gonna love this(I predict future classic) in audible form, as you don't have to dry your eyes to continue along the trail of magnificent literature. Don't you dare hesitate to buy this one!!
I could be sitting here at work doing my thing but I was right there with the main character the entire time.
The Indian accent was a nice touch to the story.
The tile couldnt be better suited for the book
"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!
"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.
"An exciting story, but with a touch of repetition!"
I enjoyed the accent played by Jeff Woodman and think Yann Martel did very well to come up with a storyline for someone stranded on a lifeboat for months on end. It seems a daunting task to come up with a plot that won't lead the listener to become bored after a few hours of listening, but I think the author succeeded in keeping the listener's attention and interest throughout.
Not particularly exciting or surprising, as expected really.
Yes. It has urged me to seek out the film on DVD.
Life of Pi is a good listen. I would recommend this book to friends, it firmly places you into the shoes of someone experiencing hunger, thirst, loneliness and the desperate will to survive against all odds. This book has it's gory moments (not distasteful, the right amount too, not over the top) but vital to the theme and well executed by Martel.
At times I found myself a bit bored as the story is set primarily on a lifeboat in the middle of the vast ocean. However, I found that I was not bored for too long as the author came up with some good twists and even gave plenty of interesting facts animals.
An entertaining book not for the feint hearted!
"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.
"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.
"Adventures at High Sea..."
I found this to be very enjoyable listen an the speaker sounds just like the older actor in the film, the narrator speaks so well that if you close your eyes you could be sat right next to Pi an Richard Parker the tiger ,wishing him more adventures. I believe I've heard Life of Pi three or four times and will continue to listen to it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes adventure stories...
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