Life of Pi

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel
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Overview

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound. Using the threads of all of our best stories, Yann Martel has woven a glorious spiritual adventure that makes us question what it means to be alive, and to believe.
Growing up in Pondicherry, India, Piscine Molitor Patel -- known as Pi -- has a rich life. Bookish by nature, young Pi acquires a broad knowledge of not only the great religious texts but of all literature, and has a great curiosity about how the world works. His family runs the local zoo, and he spends many of his days among goats, hippos, swans, and bears, developing his own theories about the nature of animals and how human nature conforms to it. Pi’s family life is quite happy, even though his brother picks on him and his parents aren’t quite sure how to accept his decision to simultaneously embrace and practise three religions -- Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.
But despite the lush and nurturing variety of Pi’s world, there are broad political changes afoot in India, and when Pi is sixteen his parents decide that the family needs to escape to a better life. Choosing to move to Canada, they close the zoo, pack their belongings, and board a Japanese cargo ship called the Tsimtsum. Travelling with them are many of their animals, bound for zoos in North America. However, they have only just begun their journey when the ship sinks, taking the dreams of the Patel family down with it. Only Pi survives, cast adrift in a lifeboat with the unlikeliest oftravelling companions: a zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
Thus begins Pi Patel’s epic, 227-day voyage across the Pacific, and the powerful story of faith and survival at the heart of Life of Pi. Worn and scared, oscillating between hope and despair, Pi is witness to the playing out of the food chain, quite aware of his new position within it. When only the tiger is left of the seafaring menagerie, Pi realizes that his survival depends on his ability to assert his own will, and sets upon a grand and ordered scheme to keep from being Richard Parker’s next meal.
As the days pass, Pi fights both boredom and terror by throwing himself into the practical details of surviving on the open sea -- catching fish, collecting rain water, protecting himself from the sun -- all the while ensuring that the tiger is also kept alive, and knows that Pi is the key to his survival. The castaways face gruelling pain in their brushes with starvation, illness, and the storms that lash the small boat, but there is also the solace of beauty: the rainbow hues of a dorado’s death-throes, the peaceful eye of a looming whale, the shimmering blues of the ocean’s swells. Hope is fleeting, however, and despite adapting his religious practices to his daily routine, Pi feels the constant, pressing weight of despair. It is during the most hopeless and gruelling days of his voyage that Pi whittles to the core of his beliefs, casts off his own assumptions, and faces his underlying terrors head-on.
As Yann Martel has said in one interview, “The theme of this novel can be summarized in three lines. Life is a story. You can choose your story. And a story with an imaginative overlay is the better story.” And for Martel, the greatest imaginative overlay is religion. “God is a shorthand for anything that is beyond the material -- any greater pattern of meaning.” In Life of Pi, the question of stories, and of what stories to believe, is front and centre from the beginning, when the author tells us how he was led to Pi Patel and to this novel: in an Indian coffee house, a gentleman told him, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.” And as this novel comes to its brilliant conclusion, Pi shows us that the story with the imaginative overlay is also the story that contains the most truth.

Author Biography: Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 of peripatetic Canadian parents. He grew up in Alaska, British Columbia, Costa Rica, France, Ontario and Mexico, and has continued travelling as an adult, spending time in Iran, Turkey and India. Martel refers to his travels as, “seeing the same play on a whole lot of different stages.”
After studying philosophy at Trent University and while doing various odd jobs -- tree planting, dishwashing, working as a security guard -- he began to write. In addition to Life of Pi, Martel is the prize-winning author of The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, a collection of short stories, and of Self, a novel, both published internationally. Yann has been living from his writing since the age of 27. He divides his time between yoga, writing and volunteering in a palliative care unit. Yann Martel lives in Montreal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780857861825
Publisher: Canongate Books
Publication date: 08/28/2011

About the Author

The award-winning author of six books, the most recent of which is Beatrice & Virgil, YANN MARTEL was born in Spain in 1963. He studied philosophy at Trent University, worked at odd jobs—tree planter, dishwasher, security guard—and travelled widely before turning to writing. He was awarded the Journey Prize for the title story in The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios. Life of Pi won the 2002 Man Booker, among other prizes, and is an international bestseller. Yann Martel lives in Saskatoon with the writer Alice Kuipers and their children. His next book is The High Mountains of Portugal (2016).

Hometown:

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Date of Birth:

June 25, 1963

Place of Birth:

Salamanca, Spain

Education:

B.A. in philosophy, Trent University, Ontario, 1986

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Life of Pi 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2486 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
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
STARTS A LITTLE SLOW BUT ONE MUST SET THE CHARACTERS AND SETTING. LOVED THE LAST TWO THIRDS.
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.
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
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 think...it 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.