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)
Imagine for a moment being a castaway for hundreds of days alone at sea. Imagine what those days would consist of. Not much but sitting. Okay, now imagine reading hundreds of pages of someone sitting for hundreds of days on a boat that is lost at sea. Yawn.
With a book titled "Life of Pi", I assumed I would be intellectually stimulated with thought provoking insight or interesting scientific facts. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Instead, I was listening to someone who tries to be politically correct by worshipping in Jesus, Vishnu and Mohommed simultaneously. All without offering any spiritual lesson to grasp from. The pages only consist of bird, fish and animal killings to detail, repeatedly, travelling far from any kind of plot. One is left tossing, like at sea alright....Swinging from boredom to nausea and back to boredom again.
You know how you download a listen and expect to hear a great story... but are given a lesson on the author's research??? This is it. There was so much detail about zoology it was hard to enjoy the story. The underlying story was good and the narrator was great... but the details were overwhelming. Maybe the abridged version would have been better.
I have been an avid audio book listener for many years, and I truly enjoy good fiction by gifted writers such a Michael Crichton and Dan Brown. I chose this book because it had received many favorable ratings and seemed to be featured on Audible's site. To put it simply, among many dozens of audiobooks I have listened to, this is the all time worst book that I have ever encountered. I kept listening to the continuous prattle of childish drivel by the main character hoping that it would get better. After a few hours of listening, I simply couldn't stand it any longer and gave up. A total waste of a book credit. I even deleted the file from my computer, as it was not even worth taking up disk space.
I wanted to read this book since my Pilatis instructor kept telling me how exciting it was. She could not put the book down. I could not listen to the whole story. It was too gory and it became unbelievably painful for me to listen to. I stopped when the hyena was eating the other animal. However the reader was very good. I would have wanted to be able to listen more because tha character of Pi was great and I really wanted to know what was going to happen.The author really created tension.
I quit listening to this after the first part. Not only does the author bore you with too many examples in run-on sentences, he does the same with the killing of the animals. The goat/tiger sequence was understandable, but by the third killing I was physically nauseated. It may have a great ending, but this is one listener who won't hear it.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
The last seconds of both halves of this recording end in repetition of syllables mid-sentence. I will have to visit my library to see exactly how this wretched book ended. For shame, Audible!
I suspect this is one of those books that became a best-seller because it was marketed as a best-seller. I wonder if ordinary people read it or go to the movie just to see what happens next or, as a literature major might suppose, to enjoy the allegory and other exercises of the mind. As it happens, my own educated brain was just not up to such exercise.
Dear friends, if any of you are technically elderly and have a very elderly small economy car that is supposed to last forever, and that car is determined a total loss and unrepairable, if you gave that car a name and it carried you to any number of hospital visits and pow-wows and blowouts at Costco, if you are grieving for a machine more than you usually do over the passing of human beings, if you are waiting YEARS for the VA to deliver your entitlements and fear you will die before that happens -- then pass on this book at least until you find yourself in a better frame of mind. I was already facing the end of all good things, mortality, planned obsolescence, when I started this book, expecting a lively adventure. But no, it grossed me out, confused me, and dwelt on death for at least 227 days.
I liked the tiger and the circus game Pi played with him. The author seems to know something of animal psychology. As I help rehab bears and bobcats among other wildlife, and am fascinated by animal communication literature (Penelope Smith, for example, not the cutesy domestic pet nonsense that has been around for a while), the relationship with Richard Parker was riveting. I was very glad that Pi waited until the tiger returned to the boat before leaving the island.
Thank Heaven this is only fiction! If it were true, I would take it more seriously, realizing that a desperate man could actually be tempted to eat the dung of a constipated tiger. I can read anything that is supposed to be true. As I told an intake worker who was making a face at me, "If I lived it, you can damn well listen without making a face!" As fiction, the story is interesting and lively, but quite a downer. I find Real Life enough of a puzzlement, thank you!
I downloaded this book simply because it appeared on quite a few lists of good books. Based on the premise alone I probably would not have gotten it. But I was pleasantly surprised, the book kept my attention throughout. The narrators voice I found a little distracting initially, but I got used to it quickly.
Overall I would definitely recommend it.
The animal and zoo information might make a good documentary, assuming it is true. "Pi" did not understand any of the 3 religions he followed. Each of the 3 contradicts the other 2 in their understanding of God. They could all be wrong but they can't all be right. If this is the author's view, his thinking is less than clear. The author is a creative writer. For me, the book was not as good as the recomendations indicated.
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