CriticasThis charming and truly original tale became an instant best seller after winning the Man Booker Prize in 2002. An Indian zookeeper takes his family and some of his animals to Canada, but their ship capsizes during the voyage. Only Pi, the inquisitive teenage son, survives, cast adrift in a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific with the unlikeliest of traveling companions, including a 450-pound royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. This is only one of the several layers of this wise tale of persistence and survival. The plot, which has more to do with perceptions than with answers, explores themes like trust and unfettered imagination, our own animal instincts, and the nature of animals, and offers fascinating insights into Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. To Martel's credit, the magical feels real, turning grisly at times, and the art of fiction reaches new heights. Born in Spain to a Canadian diplomat, Martel has lived in Mexico, Alaska, Iran, Turkey, and India, and now resides in Canada. Southwood's translation is not only as life affirming and engaging as the original text but also has one big advantage: a valuable glossary that includes Arabic, Punjabi, and British terms, from Alahu Akbar to Yogui. This intelligent, funny, and moving novel will interest and delight animal lovers as well as those who ask themselves the big questions or just want to be entertained by a fanciful adventure. A memorable reading experience for all. Highly recommended.
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Dolores M. Koch, New York City