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)
Audio books are a different experience from reading. I find that I tend to forget what I listened to, perhaps because I am usually working out, pulling weeds or doing some other painfully mundane task while I listen to my book. The Life of Pi was an exception.The images so vivid, the story so entertaining ,the character, Pi, is enchanting. I had to go on the web to read about the author. I expect this will be my favorite read for the year. Try it. You will enjoy the ride.
A few minutes into this book I began to worry that I had wasted my purchase on an uninteresting, navel-gazing, mystical study of relativistic, religious pap. The writing seemed clear enough the narrator's voice was just fine, but I had to force myself to remain interested. The story-within-a-story structure seemed to indicate that a deeper level was still to come, so I suspended my skepticism in order to really buy into the main character and his flashbacks and childhood memories. Soon I was almost fascinated by this young man and where he was headed, and I found myself in a kind of disappointed state of shock when the story abruptly changed, slathering me in the kind of plot-driven action that I had been craving in the earlier chapters. But I soon became so absorbed in this new plot that the other became a faraway memory-- the earlier flashbacks now became my own as I tossed in the book's new drama. From this point on I was riveted. I squirmed with a real desire to join Pi in his dilemma, and I reacted to his every decision and thought as if my own. At the end of the book, after an odd and unsettling ending, I had to admit that I had been hooked, had struggled, and had been reeled with resistance into a layered, colorful, and fascinating world that I could never have entered on my own. Only the best of authors can pull this kind of thing off, and I glowed for days afterward. As a matter of fact, I've been inspired to write my first and only review of anything-- this one-- so read this book and stick with it; it's worth it.
If you are like me, I am very hesitant to use my credits--they are like gold. I want a good return for my purchase. So, if you are at the stage where you want to read other listeners' reviews to confirm your desire to purchase this book--STOP and just hit "ADD TO CART" now. You will NOT be disappointed. This story is so well written, so rich, that I started to believe it was a true story! Honestly, I checked! This book has it all--humor, despair, hope, and an unbelievable uniqueness. You have not heard this story before, it is not a carbon copy book. It is truly something special! Plus, the narration of this book is perfect. I have listened to Jeff Woodman before and was SHOCKED to realize (later) he was the narrator. I pictured a young Indian man, not a skinny white guy. 10-stars to you, Jeff! He made the book even more magical.
What a beautiful book. I am left at the end not feeling sure of what really happened, but with a strong idea of what I wish had been the truth. Pi and Richard Parker are painted so clearly I grew equally attached to both characters, and the relationship between them is heartwarming and shocking.
The narration is excellent as well, and drew me in so completley that immediately upon completion I wish to start the book over from the beginning.
This is the most fascinatingly brilliant book I've read in years.
This is a wonderful book to hear read. I have never been moved to write any type of review but this proves there is always a first! The book carries the listener away on a journey that touchs one deeply on many levels. This is not religious proselytizing but a lesson learned by a young boy in the power of believing. I really look forward to listening to this book over and over. Do yourself a favor, sit back and take the journey!
I have listened to about 30 audiobooks in the past two years and this one is arguably the best. Compelling story, beautifully written and by far the best adaptation to an audiobook because the reader catches so much of the essence of the narrator. I believe that the reader made this book better than the written word can possibly cover because he puts such a perfect emphasis on the narrator's emotions. It is a far fetched tale, but stay with it, it is well worth the trip.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said. I'm sorry I waited so long to listen to it. Bought it years ago and couldn't bring myself to pick it up. Purchased this in a $5 sale and held onto it for months. Delighted I finally gave this book the time. Incredible tale of a boy who sets upon a multi-categorical religious quest. One of my top 10 favorites of all time.
This book takes you on a journey of soul searching for yourself. You understand the importance of a simple bite of food, the generousity of friends, the power of the universe. The character development is suberb and the narrator is what makes this book incredible. I am convinced it is better to listen to the story as opposed to reading it. I cannot imagine anyone attempting to make this into a movie since it would diminish the sheer work of ones imagination. Do yourself a favor and read/listen to it.
I have been listening to audiobooks for over an hour/day for over 4 years and Life of Pi is one of the most magical blends of "narration" (what should be called reading), writing, and spiritual adventuring I've ever experienced. The Alexander McCall Smith books, the James Herriot books and the Harry Potter series (which I hope that Audible will be able to afford some day) are similarly blessed with perfect reading, but the strength of this novel is in its writing and story. I think that it works better in the story-telling realm, and is one of the few books that I've found a better listen than a read.
WARNING: I am a Comparative Literature scholar, so I was excited and delighted by literary devices that may put off other readers. However, I truly believe that anyone who can just relax and listen to the story develop (for example, the reviewer listening while driving as opposed to the listener who needed more out of the story sooner than it was given) will feel that they have experienced something even greater than a good read.
I am embarrassed to admit that because Life of Pi was recommended to me by a math teacher, I avoided reading this book for years because I thought it was about math! (Had I bothered to read a synopsis I would have discovered my error immediately, but anyhow...) It is a great story, and unlike some of the other reviewers, I thought it was engaging from beginning to end. With so much insight into the lives of animals, it made me reevaluate my position on this planet as an almighty human, and I found it beautifully humbling.
I don't understand why all the hype? How does this become an oscar winning movie? To say the story is slow to start would be an understatement. After listening to 40 chapters of philosophical and religious rambling by the time the "adventure" started i honestly didn't care if Pi lived or died.
It was so boring in the middle i found myself zoning out for minutes at a time only to come back to find the story had not progressed in the slightest and i had missed nothing of import.
I will admit the ending was better. The last hour or so did hold my attention and change my perspective of the book. HOWEVER this does not make up for the 11 hours of deadly dull, flat drivel that proceeds it.
"Brilliant story told with style"
The cleverness of the plot - how on earth do you survive on a lifeboat with a tiger?
Towards the end where Pi narrates the alternative story.
This was a truly unique story and beautifully read, one of my favourites listens so far.
"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!
What a book this is. I would recommend it to anybody with a big heart. It's quite educational too. You get to know so many interesting facts about zoos, animals there and about religion too. I truly enjoyed it and in my opinion it's slightly better than the movie because it's of course written in much more detail. It raises interesting philosophical questions too and trust me, you won't be bored! :)
Maybe Robinson Crusoe because it's about survival and friendship.
I really liked his different accents he was impersonating. I enjoyed that.
"Good to hear it read to me"
Not better, but gave me a different perspective. I heard things I hadn't noticed when I read the book.
Stupid question. Again duh.
No idea. Stupid question. I'm getting fed up with these stupid questions...
Really enjoyed coming back to this. It is very beautifully crafted and the audio version helped me to appreciate this even more.
I am really pleased that I am probably one of the few people who hasn't seen this film. The reading of the story was authentic sounding, and, the spoken word gets you right into the head of this young boy in a way that surely can't ever be portrayed in a film. Excellent plot, especially when Pi finds himself having to make up a story at the end for others because they can't believe his real experience.
A good listen, great narration worthy of my token. I even learned a bit about some animals.
"Just didn't like it, not my kind of book"
I would not read another book written my Yann Martel, it just excite me at all. Jeff Woodman however, read the book well and he is the only reason that I kept on listening to the end.
The characters didn't come to life for me, the plot was boring and lacking something in my opinion. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen and for me, nothing ever did that made me change my opinion of the story at all.
I didn't really feel the narrator detracted from the book at all, he read it perfectly.
I was disappointed in the book, after being told that it was a good read, I expected a lot more from it than I got.
It just wasn't my type of book at all.
"Amazing, Amusing, Emotional"
I have been blessed by reading this beautiful book. It has an unusual content for a story really - being stuck at sea with a tiger called Richard Parker - but everything works, it contains abject sadness, overcoming loneliness, dealing with fear and the responsibility of being human - a great psychological twist at the end, leaving you to think about your own humanity - beautifully written and very well read - this is a story not to be missed.
I loved the simple and gentle way the story flowed.
Pi's description of the zebra & hyena in the boat
When Richard Parker went into the Mexican jungle..... it brought a lump to my throat
I don't think I could have read this book, but it was an absolute joy to listen to.
"Great story and incredible journey"
I'd listen again as I found it so though provoking. I found it hard to come to terms with however in a good way. This book book was a perfect example spoken word storytelling at its best.
Definitely the tiger.
He manages to bring to life the most incredible thing about the book which was the journey itself. This mixed with all the emotions Pi was carrying really made it special.
A journey from loss to achievement.
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