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
"Surprised by how much I enjoyed this book!"
I had actively avoided reading this book as I thought it sounded far-fetched and too high brow for me. (I have a bias against books that win literary prizes too.) However I overcame my prejudice and am so glad that I did. The character of Pi is endearing, open-minded and clear thinking and I am so glad that I spent that time getting to know him. I really enjoyed this audio book. The narrator was a perfect story teller.
"Life of Pi"
Having read this book years ago, I wanted to remind myself of it before seeing the film recently released. Wow, it was even more beautiful than I remembered. Once again, I couldn't put it down/turn it off. Jeff Woodman read so well and I was completely captivated by the story. When I read the book I felt it was slow to start, but somehow it didn't seem the case when listening to it and I enjoyed every minute. I am not sure I am ready to see the movie yet - wouldn't want to spoil it!
"A good listen"
Really enjoyable story, well narrated which really brings it to life. This is the kind of book that works well in audio format as it is quite wordy and requires a bit of concentration to read. Vivid descriptions really captured my imagination and kept me looking forward to the next chapter. I was sorry when it finished!
"Not really getting it."
Although a nice, even paced listen, I wasn't inspired, nor hanging off every chapter. It would make a good bedtime reading novel, after you've read "Little Prince" too many times, perhaps. Since I've read it I hear some reviewers comment on it being allegorical. Personally speaking I think that, if indeed this was the intention then it is a contrivance too far. I see this book appearing in a GCSE reading list near you soon, where neo-interlectuals will be invited to ponder over the various stories, and consider whether indeed they are metaphors or simply the wonderful imagination of the author. Now, if that was the intended undercurrent, then one wonders if the movie people got it too.
I loved this book. I did not expect much, as few my friends did not like the movie. I did not see the movie, but the book is very good. Highly recommended.
"Life of Pi"
I first saw the movie and I liked it! Then I was curious and wanted to find out how the book was! While I was reading (listening) the book I tried to compare it with the film: The film is very exciting but you must read (listen) the book to appreciate the poetry of the story!
"A little bit of a disappointment."
Although this is a wonderful story i felt let down by the Audiobook. The problem maybe that i had watched the film before listening to the book and new what was happening. To me the "Life of Pi" is one of those few occasions when you can say the FILM is better then the BOOK, it's usually the other way round.
There is nothing wrong with the voice actors or the sound quality they are all great, as usual for audible, my issue was that the pace of the story was very slow and it seemed disjointed. it didn't flow very well.
The Life Of Pi is a wonderful story but for me the film will always be better.
This has to be one of the most amazing books I've ever read and am so looking forward to listening to the audio book this time round.
Amazing creativity and a gripping story.
"Surprising, exciting and applied philosophy"
This was an enjoyable read. I loved the explorations of religion and the beauty of practising all simultaneously.
The time on the ocean was portrayed with such clarity that I travelled along with Picine.
Jeff Woodman did a fabulous job narrating this book.
I love this book! Reading it was a pleasure, listening to Jeff Woodman was even better, I felt I was in the lifeboat with Pi struggling along with him at every instance, I can't speak highly enough of this wonderful tale :)
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