Life of Pi

Life of Pi

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Yann Martel

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  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 104mm x 178mm x 30mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 30 October 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 184195425X
  • ISBN 13: 9781841954257
  • Edition statement: Export
  • Sales rank: 580

Product description

Since it won the 2002 Booker Prize, this title tells a tale of disaster at sea. It is both a boys' own adventure (for grown-ups) and a meditation on faith and the value of religious metaphor, it is one of the most extraordinary and original novels of recent times. In a new format, with a step-back cover, and with a new reading group guide, this is the ultimate edition of the book that is a perennial reading group favourite, and was recently featured in the Waterstone's list of the top 20 books of all time in the "Daily Telegraph".

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Author information

Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963, of Canadian parents. Life of Pi, his second novel, was published to international acclaim in over forty countries and won the 2002 Booker Prize. He has also written a number of collections of short stories, including The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, also published by Canongate. He is currently working on his next novel.

Customer reviews

By Marianne Vincent 26 Dec 2012 5

Life of Pi is the second novel by Canadian author Yann Martel. It tells the story the 227-day ordeal, in a lifeboat with a 450 pound Royal Bengal tiger, of a sixteen-year-old Indian youth, Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi). It is told in three parts: Pi's youth in Pondicherry at his father's zoo and the Patel family's decision to emigrate to Canada; the sinking of the ship and Pi's sojourn on the lifeboat; and Pi's interview by officials from the Japanese Ministry of Transport, in an Infirmary in Mexico; the author's notes about his meetings with Pi, the Japanese official who interviewed Pi and the family friend of the Patel's who first alerted him to the story, lend an authenticity to the novel. Martel's story touches on theology, zoology, human behaviour, sanity and the will to survive, and his meticulous research into his subjects is apparent in every chapter. With lyrical prose, Martel describes Pi's encounters with fish, turtles, birds and whales, as well as the quality of the sky, the sea and the wind. Pi's experience with the floating algae island proves that anything that seems too good to be true, usually is. My favourite scene was the encounter on the seaside esplanade of Pi's parents, the pundit, the imam and the priest, especially the effect of Pi's last words on the holy men. The objections that the incredulous Japanese officials cite to Pi's fantastic story are quite amusing; the alternate version that Pi offers them, on the other hand, is certainly sobering. Martel's imagery is evocative: "I believe it was this that saved my life that morning, that I was quite literally dying of thirst. Now that the word had popped into my head I couldn't think of anything else, as if the word itself were salty and the more I thought of it, the worse the effect." And he occasionally has Pi very succinctly describing his predicament: "...to be a castaway is to be caught up in grim and exhausting opposites...." , "Life on a lifeboat isn't much of a life." There is horror in this story, but also much humanity and humour is laced throughout. Highly original, funny and thought-provoking.

Review quote

* Every page offers something of tension, humanity, surprise, or even ecstasy The Times * A terrific book ... fresh, original, smart, devious, and crammed with absorbing lore -- Margaret Atwood Sunday Times * A unique and original story, brilliantly told Guardian * Full of clever tricks, amusing asides and grand originality Daily Telegraph * Ultimately uplifting Daily Mail * Extraordinary...Life of Pi could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life New York Times Book Review * Martel's engaging characterization and vivid description enliven and enrich this dreamy, fantastic tale The Times * Its appeal has endured, with a worldwide 'readalong' of the book next month and a moniker as a 'modern classic' to boot. The moniker, in this instance, is utterly deserved ... Pi is bewitching, the tale both nihilistic and naive, philosophical and playful, deeply moving while always treading the line clear of schmalz -- Arifa Akbar Independent * Martel has a warm way of engaging with the reader -- Robert Burdock RobAroundBooks.com