Reader reviews and comments on Life of Pi, plus links to write your own review.

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Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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  • First Published:
    May 2002, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2003, 336 pages

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Power Reviewer Cloggie Downunder

highly original, funny, thought-provoking
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.
Sonja

Imagination
Very much a Moby DIck. Needed to review the essence of the book to understand the struggle of faith, reality, and how imagination unfolds our lives. Very entertaining. Growing up in Tanzania, I had international friends from many cultures, and went to Temple, Mosque, and many churches, it was all ONE religion. Humanity.
A

Richard Parker
I adore this book. Richard Parker is the lover of life. He is the fighter, the believer and the will that continues to survive in the face of doubt. Whether he is a part of Pi or an enormous tiger, he has a tenacity for being, not just existing. I would like to think he is the tiger inside of us all. Thank you, Richard Parker, for reawakening mine.
Nikki

Alter Ego
I think Richard Parker is Pi's alter ego. He needs him in order to survive. Pi is a good vegetarian boy and he needs the aggressive meat eater to stay alive. When he is training Richard Parker he is not wanting him to become dominant and take over him. I loved this book =D x
Carrie Haas

The Life of Pi
I LOVE Richard Parker, and was enthralled on Pi's views and trials on training him so that he was not a meal himself..I WAS HOWEVER upset to read the ending of the book to find out that indeed his family was dead but not in the manner I had believed all along. I want a Bengal tiger to fish for and I want to go to Pi's magical Meercat Island - even if it is cannibalistic. I LOVE the fact that Pi's ideas on religion match mine in the way that I believe in God - but do not believe all of one religion or all of another but it fills my heart to see they are all interconnected if you just have your own faith and tolerance for other religions. This book to me was one of the best I have ever read..I am a speed reader that normally reads 3-5 books a week and retains very little except a for a feeling of the story. This book I took 2 weeks to read and lovingly poured over it as I cried or laughed out loud at what was happening. I bought it hook , line, and sinker while I was reading that Mr. Patl was a real man telling his real story..what a fantastic writer that took!!
Bottom Line....LOVED IT!
lewis

life of pi
Absolutely amazing book. One of my all time favourites. I agree with it being the one of the best books in decades. yes, well maybe the start is a bit slow to get going and make sense of, from them on it is hard to put down. And yes Ii was sad when I came to the last page (I wanted it to never end). However. contrary to some posts I have just read regarding Pi's daily diary entires, I found these to be exciting, making you wonder what is going to happen to him. All in all a great book, thoroughly recommended.
Ashley

Inspiring!!!
I just finished the book no more than 20 minutes ago so I wanted to hear other rewiews. I love this book, my mind was always on it and I could not put it down. I love how Pi lives his life, it was so inspiring to me. I also love the twist at the ending, I wasn't expecting it. I too, like the animal story better!!
Bryan

Excellent Life
Life of Pi was an incredible, thought provoking and wonderful book. The twist at the end was remarkable and completely changes the perspective the reader has of the book. Upon a second reading, the journey could be a complete different one after learning the twist. Excellent book.

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