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)
Definitely worth listening to. The only reason that I didn't give it five stars is because it is a bit slow at times. Interesting story, with plot twists and some bits of humor that temper the overlying sadness of Pi's situation.
OK story, more than just a story, but a fable shouldn't read as if the author is being paid by the word. I almost began feeling like I was adrift in a lifeboat with no hope for rescue. That may be the author's point, but who wants to feel like they're in a lost and pointless story? The ending was doubly satisfying...finally, the book ended...I was beginning to think it would never end, and yes, the ending of the book made me feel like I hadn't wasted my time, thankfully. After reading so many gushing reviews of this title, I was thinking "the emperor isn't wearing any clothes"! It's OK, but I can't see 5 stars!!
This was an awesome book! It begins a bit tedious and explanatory but unwinds into a whirlwind of a story that will keep your imagination running. This is a book that will keep you thinking long after you're done with it. I highly recommend it!
A savory story which swells the heart and sparks the mind. The author is an inspired artist well rooted in his medium. The narration was superb and proved the Indian accent to be a proud member of the wonderful spices of India.
This book was a treat! More so because of the super narration. I was hooked immediately and completely forgot that this is a work of fiction. If I'm ever stranded on a desert island, this is the book I want to have with me--in case I run into a tiger!
This is now one of my favorite books of all time. Mixing zoology, religion, and suvivalism, Yann Martel has written a moving and vastly interesting book. Rarely do you find a book with such elegant writing paired with an intriguing plot. I urge you to read this book.
The book did start a little slow - description and reviews set high expectations - but the quality of the writing, and of the narration really paid off. The combination of different accents by the narrator, intriguing plot development, delicious philosophical nuances and an intriguing twist at the end made for a thought-provoking but not pretentious work of literature.
An ending worth waiting for. If listening to diatribes on religion and animals in zoos isn't your thing the first half of the book may be too much. But, it maintains thoughtfulness without getting bogged down in any one topic (philosophy, religion or otherwise).
A stunning book - a masterpiece of imagination and intelligence. Its so full of subtle observations about the human (and animal) condition that you can't possibly capture them all with a single reading (or listening). Brilliantly conceived and brilliantly told.
The audiobook rendition is excellent - there are not many things that will have me lying in bed at 2 in the morning with a pair of headphones! I'm well into the second run through.
"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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