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)
While I enjoyed the animal psychology aspect of it, it just goes on and on and on. Finally, I gave up and stopped listening.
This book was slow to start for me. I was not interested in the book to begin with and the accent of the reader/voice made it hard for me to understand at times. I forced myself to listen to the book because I paid lost of money, the book started to make sense and I became very interested. Good book - Slow start.
It is imparative that you start this book nearly exactly halfway through, about when Pi boards the boat America. If not, you will end up not finishing the book which would be a shame. Once Pi embarks on his actual adventure Martel draws an imaginative world that raises eyebrows and teases common sense.
Nothing in the first half of the book is necessary except to know that Pi was once taught to fear and respect the tiger, and that his father owns a zoo. Beyond that, skip it and you will join a young man on a truly unbelieveable adventure.
I had this book on my wish list for a long time before I bought it. It didn't seem like it would appeal to me, but the reviews from other listeners finally "sold" me. I found the book very boring. It started slowly and ended strangely. I don't see what the attraction was to merit such great reviews. I wish I hadn't bought it.
Too bad. I was engaged throughout most of the book; personal relationships, science, zoology, religious philosophy; east indian culture, etc. The story, fortunately or unfortunately (I'm not sure which) became more and more fantastic and then from the point of the island experience through the twist in storylines at the end I felt cheated and even used. I can appreciate a good unexpected storyline but it felt rather disingenuos of the writer and didn't really fit with any of the rest of the book. This along with the fact that the writer was not consistent with Pi's philosophical and other views throughout (e.g., the comment about how horrible Japanese whale fishing is juxtaposed against his own and the Tiger's carnivorous ways) was disappointing. I got something from it and will not de-recommend. Nuff said.
This book started interestingly, but slow. Mid-way through, I was hooked! The book was fantastic and has left me thinking about it still. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys an unusual and interesting story.
I am amazed so many found this book "magical". I found it replete with newage bombastic pontifications of philosophic pomposity coupled with supercilious boring repetition which leads me to think he was paid by the word! It was as if he regurgitated everything he could think of about everything he talked about. Next time I read "stick it out and you will be rewarded in the end", I will rather listen to my gut feelings...don't waste your time. PI is not 3.14 but a 1.0! The only good thing about this book was that it ended and that was a long tedious time coming.
This book is not as clever as it pretends to be actually, the wordplay and puns are more juvenile and don't really mesh with the story. If fact, he doesn't really know how to tell a coherent story with believable and likable characters. What a pity. This book has been much overhyped by people who don't know what good literature is.
This book was actually fun. Not very deep, not very probable, but an interesting concept. If you want something that doesn't require alot of thinking, unraveling, or deep thought, this is a quick, easy to follow, light, and humorous story. A good diversion from some of the mundane literature that's out there today. Enjoy it.
"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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