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Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi (original 2001; edition 2003)

by Yann Martel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
33,49284620 (3.92)2 / 1075
Title:Life of Pi
Authors:Yann Martel
Info:Mariner Books (2003), Paperback, 326 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, award winners, survival, religion, spirituality, books turned into movies

Work details

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)

  1. 156
    Siddharta by Hermann Hesse (JFDR)
  2. 80
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (tandah)
  3. 70
    The Elephant's Journey by José Saramago (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both books involve an exotic animal (a tiger and an elephant) and a young man who journeys with them. Both have a spiritual undertone, though "Elephant's Journey" is funnier.
  4. 40
    Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat (Bcteagirl)
    Bcteagirl: Both are Canadian survival stories, involve animals, are dark at times but never depressing.
  5. 41
    Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Booksloth)
  6. 31
    Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster (Smiler69)
  7. 20
    The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both books contain elements of magical realism and tigers!
  8. 10
    The Elephant Keeper by Christopher Nicholson (Booksloth)
  9. 32
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Hedgepeth)
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    Incendiary by Chris Cleave (LDVoorberg)
    LDVoorberg: Both are graphic stories about (in part) how people deal with trauma. Narrative style is also similar.
  11. 00
    I Am an Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran (FFortuna)
  12. 00
    Baudolino by Umberto Eco (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Another story where the dividing line between the narrator's reality and imagination is purposely difficult to resolve.
  13. 00
    The Dolphin People: A Novel (P.S.) by Torsten Krol (Booksloth)
  14. 11
    The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel (meggyweg)
  15. 11
    Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar (JGKC)
  16. 11
    From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón (rrmmff2000)
  17. 11
    We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee (Smiler69)
  18. 12
    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (sipthereader)
    sipthereader: A true story of survival at sea.
  19. 34
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  20. 12
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(see all 28 recommendations)


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English (815)  Dutch (13)  German (5)  Italian (5)  Swedish (3)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Finnish (2)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hungarian (1)  Russian (1)  All languages (853)
Showing 1-5 of 815 (next | show all)
The second time around it got better. I don't know why, maybe giving it time to settle was the best way for me to read it.
Anyway, I really liked the ending...it was very satisfying. ( )
  LeyLine | Jul 17, 2016 |
One of the most incredible books I have ever read. ( )
  RoseyEm | Jul 14, 2016 |
Very deep and moving book, with lots of descriptive language of Pi's life both as a young boy in India and on the boat. I especially remember his father's demonstration of how a tiger is still a wild animal and will obey its wild animal instincts, and the scene on the island with the Meerkats. The ending was a bit puzzling (really? what did Martel mean by this?) but the story was extraordinary. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
Also reviewed here:

Here is a short synopsis for those who are unfamiliar with the novel. Piscine Molitor Patel, better known as Pi, is a young Indian boy and the son of a zookeeper. Pi is a smart and curious boy, taking an active role with the animals and delving into religion. He practices his native Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. At age sixteen, Pi, his parents, brother, and most of the animals are relocating to Canada via a Japanese cargo ship. Sadly, the ship sinks, but Pi manages to stay aboard a lifeboat. Unfortunately, his fellow survivors are an injured zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Under the circumstances, it doesn't take long for all to die but Pi and the tiger. Pi has to use all his knowledge, will, resources, and insight to tame Richard Parker and survive the ordeal.

I had begun this book many times before, but I think what prevented me from ever even hitting the halfway point was the first part, called Toronto and Pondicherry. It is about the boy before the incident, his experiences growing up in India being the son of a zookeeper. It is also a lot about him discovering religion. It just seemed a little slow moving. I often read before bed, and I would find myself starting to nod off if I read for too long. It was interesting, don’t get me wrong, but not very exciting.

It wasn’t that religion was such a large part of the first section, it was that he was explaining about the fundamentals and basics of religion. It felt almost like a lesson. The same went for the zookeeping.

-Some minor spoilers below-

Once I got through the first part, things picked up… his boat sank, and it was the story of his survival and attachment to Richard Parker. We know from the beginning that Pi survives. He is being interviewed by a journalist about his experience. We find out that he survived 227 days on the water. The novel is mostly about how his days on the ship were and how he survived (food, water, etc). The element of the tiger is there, but not as much as the rest. It is clear that he wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t for Richard Parker, he even says so himself. Clearly, the tiger helped save him from the other animals, but also helped to relinquish the boredom of being lost at sea, adrift alone for almost a year. Fear played a role in his interactions with the tiger, but also the need for companionship.

The final part is about his arrival on land and an interview with the Japanese company who owned the cargo ship. He tells them another version of the story, since they don’t appear to like the one he has been telling this whole time. I found it interesting, because it is almost hard to believe which story is the true one. I will not tell you about the alternate story, but it is a very sad one. In fact, the whole story is really sad, but I found myself not thinking about it much. Odd, right?

The novel is told in such a way that it feels almost empowering. The classic story of survival, with a twist. It is definitely a recipe for success: one strong willed boy, terrible loss, dire circumstances, hope through religion, and one Bengal tiger. I am glad that I trudged through the first few pages, because it is a worthy read.

I have been trying to come up with a clever way to rank the novels I read, but apparently, I am not that witty. For now, I have decided to stick with the tried and true number system, 1 through 10, 10 being the best possible score. I figure it is easily identifiable.

I have decided to give this book a 3. The slow beginning really dragged it down for me. I also feel the re-reading factor is very low. However, I enjoyed the story and the character of Pi, although my love for animals made Richard Parker my favorite. This book is worth the read, and many may not find the beginning as hard to get through as I did. My recommendation is to borrow it or rent it from the library if it doesn’t seem like your “type” of book, but definitely read it. This book is slowly becoming a new classic, and you’ll want to be in the know. ( )
  Ulairi | Jun 16, 2016 |
Very deep and moving book, with lots of descriptive language of Pi's life both as a young boy in India and on the boat. I especially remember his father's demonstration of how a tiger is still a wild animal and will obey its wild animal instincts, and the scene on the island with the Meerkats. The ending was a bit puzzling (really? what did Martel mean by this?) but the story was extraordinary. ( )
  cctest01 | Jun 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 815 (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 (9 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
Nubile, ClaraTranslatorsecondary 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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à mes parents et à mon frère
First words
My suffering left me sad and gloomy.
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.)
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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.

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

Life of Pi is the adult book selection for 2004. Life of Pi is a daring, redemptive tale of adventure and survival where the most unusual Pi manages to survive on a lifeboat with a 450-pound Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 20 descriptions

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Average: (3.92)
0.5 26
1 259
1.5 25
2 532
2.5 139
3 1798
3.5 521
4 3644
4.5 549
5 3160


8 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Canongate Books

3 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 184195392X, 1841958492, 1847676014


An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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