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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Keep reading, you won't regret it...

My husband is my book filter. He reads/listens first and then only recommends the ones he is certain I will appreciate. As I was listening to the first 2 hours of Life of Pi, I gave up. I didn't think the story had any direction, the descriptions were redundant and heavily detailed. I thought my husband had made a mistake. He convinced me to keep listening, even through the author's description of different religions... Bore... ZZzzz... And then after 3 hours or so, it magically happened: the story took a turn for the best. I was hooked and finally understood the purpose of all the excruciating descriptions which became the pillars of the entire story! Please keep reading/listening!
The narrator delivers an excellent performance. I first gave it 4 stars because of the slow start but went back on my decision because it continues to make me think. Piscine Patel lives on!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I didn't know anything about this (audio)book when I started. First I didn't know what to make of it and the story line confused me.... but when I was finished, I just couldn't get my thoughts away from the story. It moved me in a way only few books have.
The narrator Jeff Woodman is perfect in this story.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Denise
  • Valencia, CA, USA
  • 09-30-09

Slow start, fabulous finish

At first it was hard to get into Pi's life. It was slow, but interesting. It did give backround and set up for why and how such a young boy of 16 could survive the seas for so long. I did enjoy the authors writing and the wonderful narration. As others have mentioned, the story really takes off once Pi is shipwrecked with Richard Parker, a 450 lb Bengal Tiger! Not only did he survive, he survived 227 days. He even repeatedly stated he could not have survived without Richard Parker. I loved the dialogue Pi had with himself and RP. Very humorous in the face of death at every turn. I can absolutely recommend this audiobook to friends.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Slow start - but then I loved it

Life of Pi is a brilliant book, it is wonderful as an audiobook and it is some of the best narration I have ever heard.

I must admit I almost stopped listening about 1/4 of the way through. The first part of the book did not inspire me to go on. I felt more like I was trudging through information that I was mildly interested in but not enough to keep listening to. I am so glad I persevered.

This part of the book simply sets the table. Once - I do not think I am giving too much away here - Pi is in the life raft with Richard Parker the book soars. The story is fascinating and the details, well, it is a book of delicious details - writerly and humorous. Just as Pi's survival is painstakingly workmanlike, Martel's prose describing that survival seems effortless - the ending put it over the top.

This is a book that I never read, but I can't imagine my own dull voice doing justice to Martel's words the way Jeff Woodman's narration does. The voice, the story, the individual scenes linger on long after this book is finished. In fact, when the book is done is when so many thoughts and questions about its significance and real meaning begin.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gisella
  • Mexico D.F., Mexico
  • 07-21-09

Don't miss it

This book was recommended to me within the website so many times and I was reluctant. Giving in to the recommendation was highly rewarding. This is one of the very best audiobooks I've ever heard. It's light, simple, yet profound in meaning, very humorous and soul fulfilling.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Suspend Disbelief

Life of Pi is among the most original and poignant books I've read. I'm surprised to see any negative reviews. If you're looking to be completely transported this is the book! Spoiler: many questions cannot be answered.

The narrator is superb.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elisabeth
  • Durham, NC, United States
  • 05-27-09

so original

How is it that a voyage in a life boat with a boy and a tiger could be so engrossing? I really enjoyed this book and only wished I had read hard copy with a book group to discuss all the themes.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Yvonne
  • c, IL, United States
  • 05-25-09

Too Many Obstacles

This book came highly recommended by friends who have read it, and has been critically well reviewed. I'm parting company with them.

The parts dealing directly with Pi's life were interesting. They were interspersed with long, really long, philosophical, theological and religious lectures. The author blathers on and on as if in love with the sight of his own words and entranced by the sound of his own voice. It didn't advance the story at all.

It was like running an obstacle course to get back to the interesting parts, and finally I just tired of it. I tried three times, and finally decided that I'd had enough.

The narrator was excellent. But not even he could enliven this pseudo treatise.

How/why this book received the excellent reviews and awards is a mystery to me.

7 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very fun to listen to

I enjoyed this book. I knew nothing about the book when I started listening, and I think that made it even better. Every adventure was interesting and heart-breaking at the same time.

The Narrators voice was fun and added to the authenticity of the story.

The language was at times beautiful and at times a little too flowery for me, but it didn't detract from the story. The author also almost slapped you in the head with his foreshadowing, but somehow it worked.

I would highly recommend this book. I didn't want to get out of my car when I was listening to it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • D
  • Hermitage, PA, United States
  • 04-29-09

Good Listen

I finally got around to listening to this one. I was hesitant, but I would say it was worth a listen. It may be a bit overhyped, I don't think I would say it was the best book I have ever read! I did enjoy the narration, the character's accent made it more enjoyable. I must advise that if you are squeamish at all I would skip this book! Yes, Yes I realize that it is all part of the animal kingdom but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy listening to very graphic descriptions of such things! It is difficult especially if you are an animal lover like me!
So if you can stomach through those parts you may find yourself enjoying this book. In fact, you may find yourself re-reading it all over again once you hear how it ends!

2 of 4 people found this review helpful