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Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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Life of Pi (original 2001; edition 2003)

by Yann Martel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
31,17575625 (3.93)2 / 978
Member:herzogbr
Title:Life of Pi
Authors:Yann Martel
Info:Harvest Books (2003), Edition: 1ST US, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fiction, bookcrossing

Work details

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)

1001 (121) 1001 books (103) adventure (394) animals (463) book club (127) Booker (116) Booker Prize (382) Booker Prize Winner (124) Canada (176) Canadian (277) Canadian literature (202) contemporary (106) contemporary fiction (178) fantasy (289) fiction (3,616) India (753) literature (228) magical realism (214) novel (480) ocean (117) own (150) philosophy (279) read (407) religion (572) shipwreck (287) survival (649) tigers (446) to-read (378) unread (146) zoo (209)
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    The Elephant's Journey by José Saramago (joririchardson)
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English (726)  Dutch (11)  German (5)  Swedish (3)  Italian (3)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  Russian (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (757)
Showing 1-5 of 726 (next | show all)
I guess the only thing I can say about this book is that it reads just like one of those 'surviver' books...in that sense, the book is very sucessful. As I was reading it, I had to remind myself that I wasn't reading a true story, but that it was fiction. That says something....I think.... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
I guess the only thing I can say about this book is that it reads just like one of those 'surviver' books...in that sense, the book is very sucessful. As I was reading it, I had to remind myself that I wasn't reading a true story, but that it was fiction. That says something....I think.... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |


Not many books can deliver such heartache, gruesome living, despair, and hope. I'm still thinking about this one and my own spirituality and that is part of the beauty of this book. ( )
  radspd | Jun 22, 2014 |
[Life of Pi], Yann Martel’s novel of an Indian boy trapped with a tiger on a life boat in the Pacific Ocean, was the perfect follow-on read to Henry Roth’s [Call It Sleep]. Most people know the story from having seen the popular film based on Martel’s novel released in 2013. Pi survives the sinking of his Canadian-bound cargo ship, only to find that a tiger from his family’s on board the life boat to which he clings.

While the film tells the story of Pi’s early years at the zoo and the casting about of his youth between Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, the film makes the account an eccentricity, rather than a unifying principle to Pi’s life. Pi’s early theological search is the real adventure, not his days on the ship with Richard Parker, the tiger who shares his struggle for survival. Pi identifies the strengths of each of the religions he researches and makes them a part of his own belief and practice. From Buddhism, he learns the value of life, all life – how the struggle for survival is blessed with nobility and honor, though not always rewarded with life. From Christianity, Pi learns about absolute love, and the abandoned sacrifice that results from such a love. From Islam, Pi learns dogged dedication and the purity of faithfulness. All of these lessons inform his struggle as he floats in the Pacific, cut off from anything but his own inner thoughts and the endless water surrounding him.

Martel hits some particularly high notes with Pi’s ruminations on God and belief:

“It is not the atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for awile. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”
Pi’s understanding of the benefit of doubt in a life of faith is the distilled inklings of a person very comfortable with the idea of faith. Atheism itself is a faith, which is why he doesn’t quibble with it. But so many people think that doubt is equivalent with unbelief, while doubt is the healthy expression of faith. On the open seas, Pi frequently doubts his fate, but he uses the doubt to strengthen himself.

“These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.”
Again, Pi descends on one of the most often discussed conflicts in faith, the presence of evil and where it originates. Understanding that evil is battled internally and personally is a key to unlock the very nature of faith. Why does God allow evil to exist? Pi realizes that it exists in the heart of everyone and is battled there, not in the open.

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. … For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene; it seeks to rot everything, even the works with which to speak of it. So you must fight to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
Pi knows this lesson better than any, as all of the religions he is drawn to seek to cast fear out with love and faith. And it is the love and faith that Pi develops that ultimately saves him.

Bottom Line: A story that claims to invoke belief in God – but whose belief, and what does it look like?

5 bones!!!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | Jun 7, 2014 |
To me Life of Pi is a mixed bag of several things... I don't know. I kind of enjoyed the adventure, but personally didn't care about the religious side of the story (specifically the first part of the book was a total nonsense to me). I didn't like the last part, either. I'm still trying to figure out what to make of it. I think this is one of those books that you either love or hate. I can't say I hate it (I'm giving it a "it was OK" rating, and like I said, I kind of enjoyed the adventure), but I would say that it is way overrated (maybe because of the movie?) and surrounded by a mysticism that I really don't get. ( )
  chaghi | Jun 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 726 (next | show all)
The story is engaging and the characters attractively zany. Piscine Molitor Patel (named after a family friend's favourite French swimming pool) grows up in Pondicherry, a French-speaking part of India, where his father runs the local zoo. Pi, Hindu-born, has a talent for faith and sees nothing wrong with being converted both to Islam and to Christianity. Pi and his brother understand animals intimately, but their father impresses on them the dangers of anthropomorphism: invade an animal's territory, and you will quickly find that nearly every creature is dangerous
added by dovydas | editThe Guardian, Aida Edemariam (Oct 23, 2002)
 
Granted, it may not qualify as ''a story that will make you believe in God,'' as one character describes it. But it could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life -- although sticklers for literal realism, poor souls, will find much to carp at.
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martel, Yannprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allié, ManfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bridge, AndyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castanyo, EduardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engen, BodilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempf-Allié, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marshall, AlexanderNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ottosson, MetaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Southwood, BiancaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stheeman, TjadineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Targo, LindaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torjanac, TomislavIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
à mes parents et à mon frère
First words
My suffering left me sad and gloomy.
Quotations
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.
Evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.
I know what you want. You want a story that won't surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won't make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story. You want dry, yeastless factuality.
Animals in the wild lead lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving social hierarchy in an environment where the supply of fear is high and the supply of food is low and where territory must constantly be defended and parasites forever endured.
If you take two steps toward God, God runs toward you
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship in the Pacific, one solitary lifeboat remains, carrying a hyena, a zebra, a female orangutan, a Bengal tiger, and a 16-year-old Indian boy named Pi. His story is a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound listeners in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will as one character puts it, make you believe in God. (from PPL catalog record)
Haiku summary
Boat on the ocean
Was there really a tiger?
We will never know.
(mamajoan)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

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Three editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 184195392X, 1841958492, 1847676014

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