Life of Pi

Life of Pi : A Novel

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After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific.The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy.The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in more

Product details

  • Paperback | 348 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 26mm | 220g
  • Canongate Books Ltd
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 184195392X
  • 9781841953922
  • 4,424

Review Text

The premise of this novel is so bold that only an immensely confident and imaginative writer would try to pull it off. A 16-year-old boy is emigrating with his family from India to Canada when their ship sinks and he is cast away on a lifeboat, the sole survivor. Or at least, not quite. Pi's father runs a zoo in India, and when they emigrate, they have to take some of the animals with them so they can be re-housed in a Canadian zoo. Although Pi is the only human survivor of the shipwreck, some of the animals survive: a zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger with the unlikely name of Richard Parker. At least two-thirds of this 300-page book tell the story of Pi's seven-month ordeal on a lifeboat with no human company. For any writer, producing a novel that has very little interaction between human beings, and, for large chunks, no dialogue, is a fairly considerable challenge. Instead, we learn all about Pi and how his strong survival instinct sees him through the ordeal. This involves a combination of practical skills that help him find food and water (although a practising Hindu and vegetarian, he has to eat raw fish), mental cunning that enables him to tame the tiger (the other animals don't last very long); and spiritual strength (he is, oddly, a devotee of Islam and Christianity as well as Hinduism) that gives him the will to live. The amazing thing is that it works. Although the story is utterly implausible, Martel has clearly done huge amounts of research that make it convincing, at least on a literary level. Pi himself is a likeable character - a young boy who is mature enough to devise a sophisticated survival strategy and recount his ordeal with humour. It is, he says, the tiger who saves him. By the end he regards Richard Parker as a friend - but the feeling isn't mutual. 'I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. The pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.' This book is quite an accomplishment. For anyone weary of semi-autobiographical novels, this is one that springs entirely from an author's fertile imagination. (Kirkus UK)show more

About Yann Martel

Yann Martel was born in Spain but currently lives in Montreal. He is the hugely acclaimed author of Self, a novel, and of the story collection The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios. Yann's delight of a novel, Life of Pi, is his third book and was the winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It was also shortlisted for the Governor General Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize in more

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 * *show more

Our customer reviews

Very beautiful story about a boy who likes to learn and do as much as he can. A story filled with lots of humor. Pi does alot and loves to believe, and for him he doesn't see any problems between a religion, he just loves god. And it is this love for god that will help him and guide him when he is alone on the lifeboat with the tiger. The only downside of the book is maybe that sometimes it gives a bit to much descriptions but at the end it doesn't bother much anymore cause you just want to keep on reading and find out what is going to happen! Great and touching book!show more
by Inne Van Houdt
"Truly, one of the most beautifully descriptive book I have read. Description of belief, food, love and the very life it self takes you to the wonderful world and mind of Pi Patel. Martel's eye to details of life's colour and movements mesmerized me. The things we all feel, was placed eloquently and wonderously by the great Yann Martel. This book would truly revitalise one's mind and one's thirst for longing and looking for more beauty in life just as Pi has done during such an ordeal. The greatest and the most funniest part for me was when Pi visits one religion after another, later adoptng all three Islam, Hinduism and Christiany. And the beauty of all the beliefs helped him shape his journey. If you are to read one book, make it this, though it can get a bit too descriptive but by no means its tidious. Awesome awesome awesome!!!!!!"show more
by a Book Depository customer
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