Life of Pi (Movie Tie-In)

Life of Pi (Movie Tie-In)

4.2 2480
by Yann Martel

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New York Times Bestseller
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Washington Post Bestseller
San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
Chicago Tribune Bestseller

"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction."—Los Angeles Times Book

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New York Times Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
Washington Post Bestseller
San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
Chicago Tribune Bestseller

"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound royal bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and beloved works of fiction in recent years.

Universally acclaimed upon publication, Life of Pi is a modern classic.

Editorial Reviews

Everything about Pi and this novel about him is unusual. To begin with, his real name is Piscine Molitor Patel and he was named after a swimming pool in France. Justifiably jettisoning that jeer-stirring moniker, the newly re-christened Pi embarks with his family on a cargo ship; only to find himself soon stranded adrift with an unlikely crew, consisting of an opinionated orangutan, a hyena, a royal Bengal tiger, and a wounded zebra. What transpires on this teenager's sea-bound rite of passage delights readers and will soon please moviegoers as well: Life of Pi comes to screens nationwide in a Lee Ang-directed Twentieth Century Fox film on November 21st. This movie tie-in paperback brings a Discover Great New Writers selection that has already sold more than seven million copies to new audiences.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Movie Tie-in
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
830L (what's this?)

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My suffering left me sad and gloomy.
Academic study and the steady, mindful practice of religion slowly brought me back to life. I have remained a faithful Hindu, Christian and Muslim. I decided to stay in Toronto. After one year of high school, I attended the University of Toronto and took a double-major Bachelor's degree. My majors were religious studies and zoology. My fourth-year thesis for religious studies concerned certain aspects of the cosmogony theory of Isaac Luria, the great sixteenth-century Kabbalist from Safed. My zoology thesis was a functional analysis of the thyroid gland of the three-toed sloth. I chose the sloth because its demeanour-calm, quiet and introspective-did something to soothe my shattered self.
There are two-toed sloths and there are three-toed sloths, the case being determined by the forepaws of the animals, since all sloths have three claws on their hind paws. I had the great luck one summer of studying the three-toed sloth in situ in the equatorial jungles of Brazil. It is a highly intriguing creature. Its only real habit is indolence. It sleeps or rests on average twenty hours a day. Our team tested the sleep habits of five wild three-toed sloths by placing on their heads, in the early evening after they had fallen asleep, bright red plastic dishes filled with water. We found them still in place late the next morning, the water of the dishes swarming with insects. The sloth is at its busiest at sunset, using the word busy here in a most relaxed sense. It moves along the bough of a tree in its characteristic upside-down position at the speed of roughly 400 metres an hour. On the ground, it crawls to its next tree at the rate of 250 metres an hour, when motivated, which is 440 times slower than a motivated cheetah. Unmotivated, it covers four to five metres in an hour.
The three-toed sloth is not well informed about the outside world. On a scale of 2 to 10, where 2 represents unusual dullness and 10 extreme acuity, Beebe (1926) gave the sloth's senses of taste, touch, sight and hearing a rating of 2, and its sense of smell a rating of 3. If you come upon a sleeping three-toed sloth in the wild, two or three nudges should suffice to awaken it; it will then look sleepily in every direction but yours. Why it should look about is uncertain since the sloth sees everything in a Magoo-like blur. As for hearing, the sloth is not so much deaf as uninterested in sound. Beebe reported that firing guns next to sleeping or feeding sloths elicited little reaction. And the sloth's slightly better sense of smell should not be overestimated. They are said to be able to sniff and avoid decayed branches, but Bullock (1968) reported that sloths fall to the ground clinging to decayed branches "often".
How does it survive, you might ask.
Precisely by being so slow. Sleepiness and slothfulness keep it out of harm's way, away from the notice of jaguars, ocelots, harpy eagles and anacondas. A sloth's hairs shelter an algae that is brown during the dry season and green during the wet season, so the animal blends in with the surrounding moss and foliage and looks like a nest of white ants or of squirrels, or like nothing at all but part of a tree.
The three-toed sloth lives a peaceful, vegetarian life in perfect harmony with its environment. "A good-natured smile is forever on its lips," reported Tirler (1966). I have seen that smile with my own eyes. I am not one given to projecting human traits and emotions onto animals, but many a time during that month in Brazil, looking up at sloths in repose, I felt I was in the presence of upside-down yogis deep in meditation or hermits deep in prayer, wise beings whose intense imaginative lives were beyond the reach of my scientific probing.
Sometimes I got my majors mixed up. A number of my fellow religious-studies students-muddled agnostics who didn't know which way was up, in the thrall of reason, that fool's gold for the bright-reminded me of the three-toed sloth; and the three-toed sloth, such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God.
I never had problems with my fellow scientists. Scientists are a friendly, atheistic, hard-working, beer-drinking lot whose minds are preoccupied with sex, chess and baseball when they are not preoccupied with science.
I was a very good student, if I may say so myself. I was tops at St. Michael's College four years in a row. I got every possible student award from the Department of Zoology. If I got none from the Department of Religious Studies, it is simply because there are no student awards in this department (the rewards of religious study are not in mortal hands, we all know that). I would have received the Governor General's Academic Medal, the University of Toronto's highest undergraduate award, of which no small number of illustrious Canadians have been recipients, were it not for a beef-eating pink boy with a neck like a tree trunk and a temperament of unbearable good cheer.
I still smart a little at the slight. When you've suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling. My life is like a memento mori painting from European art: there is always a grinning skull at my side to remind me of the folly of human ambition. I mock this skull. I look at it and I say, "You've got the wrong fellow. You may not believe in life, but I don't believe in death. Move on!" The skull snickers and moves ever closer, but that doesn't surprise me. The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity-it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud. The pink boy also got the nod from the Rhodes Scholarship committee. I love him and I hope his time at Oxford was a rich experience. If Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, one day favours me bountifully, Oxford is fifth on the list of cities I would like to visit before I pass on, after Mecca, Varanasi, Jerusalem and Paris.
I have nothing to say of my working life, only that a tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he's not careful.
I love Canada. I miss the heat of India, the food, the house lizards on the walls, the musicals on the silver screen, the cows wandering the streets, the crows cawing, even the talk of cricket matches, but I love Canada. It is a great country much too cold for good sense, inhabited by compassionate, intelligent people with bad hairdos. Anyway, I have nothing to go home to in Pondicherry.

Richard Parker has stayed with me. I've never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.
The doctors and nurses at the hospital in Mexico were incredibly kind to me. And the patients, too. Victims of cancer or car accidents, once they heard my story, they hobbled and wheeled over to see me, they and their families, though none of them spoke English and I spoke no Spanish. They smiled at me, shook my hand, patted me on the head, left gifts of food and clothing on my bed. They moved me to uncontrollable fits of laughing and crying.
Within a couple of days I could stand, even make two, three steps, despite nausea, dizziness and general weakness. Blood tests revealed that I was anemic, and that my level of sodium was very high and my potassium low. My body retained fluids and my legs swelled up tremendously. I looked as if I had been grafted with a pair of elephant legs. My urine was a deep, dark yellow going on to brown. After a week or so, I could walk just about normally and I could wear shoes if I didn't lace them up. My skin healed, though I still have scars on my shoulders and back.
The first time I turned a tap on, its noisy, wasteful, superabundant gush was such a shock that I became incoherent and my legs collapsed beneath me and I fainted in the arms of a nurse.
The first time I went to an Indian restaurant in Canada I used my fingers. The waiter looked at me critically and said, "Fresh off the boat, are you?" I blanched. My fingers, which a second before had been taste buds savouring the food a little ahead of my mouth, became dirty under his gaze. They froze like criminals caught in the act. I didn't dare lick them. I wiped them guiltily on my napkin. He had no idea how deeply those words wounded me. They were like nails being driven into my flesh. I picked up the knife and fork. I had hardly ever used such instruments. My hands trembled. My sambar lost its taste.

Copyright © 2001 by Yann Martel

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR LIFE OF PI:   "Life of Pi could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life."
The New York Times Book Review
"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction."
Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A gripping adventure story . . . Laced with wit, spiced with terror, it's a book by an extraordinary talent."
San Jose Mercury News
"A terrific book . . . Fresh, original, smart, devious, and crammed with absorbing lore."
—Margaret Atwood
"An impassioned defense of zoos, a death-defying trans-Pacific sea adventure a la Kon-Tiki, and a hilarious shaggy-dog story . . . This audacious novel manages to be all of these."
The New Yorker
"Readers familiar with Margaret Atwood, Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje and Carol Shields should learn to make room on the map of contemporary Canadian fiction for the formidable Yann Martel."
Chicago Tribune

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Life of Pi 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 2480 reviews.
danja More than 1 year ago
Very well written. I enjoyed this story. would recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Originally had no interest in reading this but i could not put it down and it quickly became a favorite
SuavePanda More than 1 year ago
Nothing to say but fabulous. If you plan of going to college, this is a must. The plot is intricate and woven skillfully, and the final resolution is wonderfully Inception-esque and satisfying for the intelligent mind. Overall: Just go buy it already.
Lalaith More than 1 year ago
This remains one of my favorite books. It's one of the most moving books I have ever read and completely original. The author is amazing, combining certain aspects of himself with the character and keeping the book moving at a lighthearted but serious pace. It's dramatic and moving and it teaches you a lot about faith (you'll probably find yourself quoting this book several times a day). It is so touching- his style is earnest, wholesome and truly gets you to think about things. You'll love the character, you'll love the plot, and you'll love the powerfully simple insights made. It's beautiful and you will fall in love with the main character and be depressed when the book is over. Fear not, though, it's always there to return to on rainy days. :)
RockyRo0 More than 1 year ago
Life of Pi is proclaimed to be a "book to make you believe in God". And for the discerning mind, it certainly can be. Yann Martel created something special in this book-- something greater than the simple plot (boy lost at sea with tiger on lifeboat), and more far-reaching than its main characters (the boy. the tiger.). Through the well-formed frame narrative, Martel forces us to decide, along with the characters, if fiction is worth believing. Beyond that, his writing is witty and poetic. I found myself laughing all through the book!
USCGuy More than 1 year ago
I picked up Life of Pi after a good friend recommended I read the book. This book is one of the few books that I nearly read through in one sitting, and then later re-read at a slower, more leisurely pace. Yann Martel immerses his readers in an exotic, yet familiar setting of a zoo in India, and then takes you on a wild journey across the world. The key question that my friend asked to me to consider after I finished reading, and which I have posed to other friends that I encouraged to read this book, is which story do you believe - fantasy or 'reality'?
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've read in a long time! I highly recommend it. Martel's writing style is wonderful, and I firmly agree with the quote on the front of the book: "Life of Pi is a real adventure...It's difficult to stop reading when the pages run out.." I didn't want this book to end. I wanted to know more about Pi. LOVE THIS BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am in 8th grade and I absolutely loved this book. I thought Pi was a great role model, such a strong character. Anyone 13 and up must read this book, it gives you a new appreciation for life (and possibly a fear of boats!).
DeDeFlowers More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book on a whim before a vacation. Never hearing of Yann Martel I didn't have huge expectations for Life of Pi. I was dumb to think that way. Right from the begining Life of Pi blew me away. It is so original. The main thing I liked about it was how much you feel for the characters. You are gripped into the plot. Yann Martel is a great auther. All of his books make you think. Life of Pi examines life in a very unique way. I would reccomend this to readers the ages of 16+ because a couple scenes are pretty graphic and the way it makes you think can be pretty heavy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has changed me. This is a powerful story.
bbb57 More than 1 year ago
TOUCHING & DISTURBING. Nature in a nutshell, including human nature. Beautifully written. I can't say that I have ever been more involved with a character and an animal with equal care and empathy. I hope the movie does the book justice, if it does, it will be an instant classic.
anne1571 More than 1 year ago
I listened to this book on CD while driving alone from Phoenix to San Diego to spend a weekend by the sea with friends. But the whole time all I was there, all I was thinking about is how I couldn't wait for the drive home so I could get back to this book! It's a great story and it's told very beautifully.
Mr.Bezuk More than 1 year ago
People either seem to love this book or not care at all. I liked it a great deal and found it to be entertaining and thought provoking. I think that the degree to which you believe Pi's second story of his events is the degree to which you are a pessimist.
Iggie More than 1 year ago
One of those books you'll be thinking about for days/weeks/months after. I still can't decide what my thoughts are about the ending - I keep changing my mind when I think back on the story. Can't wait to see the movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I could not put it down and, really nobody spoiled the plot from the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! Although it didn't catch my attention in the beginning, it was well written and witty. Book of the year for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know the reviews were mixed on this book, and I really wanted to be one of the people who loved this book, but I just wasn't. I did not get the ending at all. I found many areas of the book dragging. Didn't like it at all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story of survival using incredible imagery
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Life of pi is such a good book...cherish is reading it because i told her that if she could read the whole book by herself then write a 3 page book report about it then i would by er the movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, people are acting really stupid. Of course they tell you how the story ends in the summary, it's a true story and he lives. :p The book is telling about his life, so that is why it skips around so much. It's called LIFE of pi, not story of how pi gets trapped on a life boat with tiger.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And its already worth the money. The book was an inspiration to me and as thevyoung piscine's take on religion that he wants to "love god" really moved me. I also loved how the first part ended "this story ha a happy ending." I thought the book was beautifully written.
Mata-Reader More than 1 year ago
The Life of Pi, an amazing, award winning story by author Yann Martel. It is rich with details about the main character's life, his adventures, and his trials. What an immaculate fictional read.
The main Character is Pi Patel, a man from India, now living in Canada. He has different views on beliefs like, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Though quoted, he just want's to, "Love God." He tried every single one, but was really affected by all in the end. The first part of the story is told from Pi Patel as an older man, no older than 40. It is from the view of his early life. Where he discovered his beliefs, and he talks about the environment he was raised and taught in. This part of the book is probably one of the most sensitive parts in any book, what he thinks about religion, and the ways of life are really something. It really makes you think about youself, and what you are like. As well as being very sensitive, Life of Pi also has many funny references and also many freaky references, like experiencing cannibalism! He looks at animals to compare them to life as well, the sloth is one of them. He quotes that the reason they survive so well is because of the fact that they move so slow that they are not seen. They have mosses that grow on their backs to camoflouge them. I think that he is reffering to the fact that some people move through life so slowly, and so quitely, that they are basically invisble to others. Yet to break that serious mold he talks about how they need to find branches to grab on to, and that they can sniff out the decaying branches...yet, there are many sloths found on the ground clinging to decayed branches! As seen it is a smart and serious paragraph, meant to make you think and then once you have thought, you either get it or not, and you move on!
The second part of the, Life of Pi, is another well-written part of the book, basically talking about what you see on the cover, a young, Indian boy lost at sea with a Tiger. The points that really grab you are the points that are somewhat false, yet true. For example, the whole premise of surviving with a Tiger that does not have any food is insane, yet it is a zoo Tiger, but once it is out of it's pampered cage, and in the big blue ocean with a little boy, as well as a couple of other animals in the boat, what happens after it "takes care of" the other animals. In this book, the Tiger's actions are mightily false. Yet, it does show you that we can live in harmony with our wildlife. One point to bring across is that, no matter a viscious wild tiger, or human being, show them that you have some guts, and will only use them if need be, and they will humble themselves to youm as shown by the bond between the Tiger and Pi.
The, Life of Pi is a tale of lessons, survival, and trials, and I have not covered all of the topics, but if you want to find out about the others, and find out more about this amazing book...get it yourself, and enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First i will say that this is truly one of the most original novels I have read in my lifetime. This has to be one of the best book club books ever and believe it should be discussed in high school and college philosophy/ theology classes. I am almost 50 yrs old and i have read thousands of books but this is the first one I ever started rereading as soon as I was finished. Martels writing style is subtle and funny. Pi is a teen with a restless searching soul born into a secular indian family. He feels a hunger for religion so he befriends holy men of many faiths including the pragmatic athiest. Pi finds beauty and wisdom in them all. One of the funniest parts of the story is when he is confronted with all of these religious wisemen and they bicker over his soul. As the boys oddysee unfolds he becomes a true survivor on his own terms and finds little practical use for all the theology he studied. The author makes no judgements and leaves the 'fable' open to ones own personal interpretation. THIS IS WHY I LOVE THIS BOOK...It makes you challenges your beliefs, values whatever. I think the people who trashed the book just don't get it. The irony is so profoundly brilliant. Readers should not perceive this story so literally. Its packed with symbolic mysticism and skillfully imagined metaphore. I read this book 4 years ago twice and i think its time I read it again. Up there with Moby Dick and Old Man and the Sea.