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Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Yann Martel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
31,71477225 (3.93)2 / 1005
Title:Life of Pi
Authors:Yann Martel
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2002), Edition: lst U.S. ed, Kindle Edition, 348 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle, Awards, Book info needs work
Tags:fiction, adventure, survival, animals, maritime, Booker Prize Winner, F

Work details

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)

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English (741)  Dutch (11)  German (5)  Italian (4)  Swedish (3)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  Russian (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (773)
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I think i'm in the minority here, but Life of Pi was just.. meh. I didn't hate it but it certainly didn't live up to the hype. ( )
  reigningstars | Dec 4, 2014 |
At the beginning of this book, I found it really hard to get into it. The story was very slow and boring and I came extremely close to putting it down and never picking it up again. However, I continued to read the book and found it to be extremely heart wrenching and suspenseful. I do feel the emotions of suspense much deeper than many other emotions because I get anxious and need to know what is going to happen. When I finally got into the story, I would describe it as surprising and fun! There is no way that I would ever be able to survive living with animals on a lifeboat. I would love to read the book again and actually get into it more since it was surprisingly good at the end.
  lfasce1 | Dec 1, 2014 |
DISCLAIMER: This is a review of an audiobook.


Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” is an inspiring adventure novel about an Indian boy Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel who survives in the Pacific Ocean for over 7 months sharing a lifeboat with an adult Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. In the mid 70s, Pi’s father, the owner of the Pondicherry Zoo in South India, decides to sell the zoo and move with his family to Canada. Full of hopes and dreams, Pi’s family with their animals board a Japanese freighter “Tsimtsum.” Unfortunately, not long into its voyage across the Pacific Ocean, the ship sinks. Two hundred twenty-seven days later, Pi and Richard Parker, the only survivors of the shipwreck, reach the coast of Mexico. Pi’s adventure in the sea is both realistic and unbelievable, heartbreaking and uplifting, entertaining and thought-provoking.


1) A captivating adventure.
Since I knew beforehand that the majority of the book is devoted to Pi’s experience on a lifeboat, I was rather wary. I love action-packed adventures, but how adventurous can it get when you are floating in the middle of the Pacific for seven months? If you have similar doubts about this book, rest assured that it can get VERY adventurous, especially with an adult tiger aboard. At times I was so immersed in the story that I didn’t want to stop listening to it, even if it meant jogging an extra mile or volunteering to wash dishes.

2) Educational and philosophical.
Martel sneaked into his book a handful of interesting facts about zoology, survival in the sea, and even religion. As a result, I learned quite a lot without even noticing it! Besides being educational, “Life of Pi” is also quite thought-provoking as the author offers many philosophical ponderings on such timeless topics as freedom, perception, believably, fear, life and death.

3) A game-changing ending.
At the very end, the story abruptly transforms into something completely different from what it seemed to be. Such a transformation is so powerful that very few readers, if any, would remain unaffected by it. Indeed, “The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?”

4) Beautifully narrated.
“Life of Pi” is written beautifully. Experiences of the castaway boy are so convincing and described so precisely that it’s hard to believe the author didn’t spend several months in the lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific himself. As appropriate for such a literary masterpiece, it is read beautifully as well, including all the sounds and different accents. Conveniently, the story from Pi’s perspective and occasional recollections of a visiting writer are read by two different narrators.


I really like this book and generally dismiss any criticism towards it as precarious. However, when the narrator was reading descriptions of events or landscapes, my thoughts would occasionally wander off. Involuntarily, I started wondering whether I would get stuck at these places if I was reading an actual book.


“Life of Pi” is everything a good book should be: it is captivating, adventurous and beautifully written (and read!) as well as educational and philosophical. And the best part yet - it has a deeply moving ending.


Back in 2012 I also saw “Life of Pi” movie and I absolutely loved it! In fact, it was the movie that made me want to read the book. ( )
1 vote AgneJakubauskaite | Nov 6, 2014 |
( )
  Nancy.Castaldo | Nov 3, 2014 |
Life of Pi is an allegorical story of survival against all odds. The protagonist and narrator, Pi, is relating the odyssey of his survival after he is in a shipwreck to a writer who wishes to publish his story. Pi Patel is a Christian, a Muslim, and a Hindu all at the same time and is scorned by his parents who think that it doesn't make sense to follow three separate religions.The story really takes a turn when he boards the ship "The Tsimtsum" along with his family. The ship eventually sinks, causing the death of his family and an invigorating plot of survival as Pi is left alone with a Tiger, an Orangutang, a Zebra, and a hyena. . The reader comes to find out that each of these animals symbolizes people who were stranded with him. The Hyena represents a cook who is shown to be cruel, ruthless, and repulsive. The Zebra represents a kind-hearted sailor who was badly injured from the accident. The Orangutan symbolizes Pi’s mother who is nurturing and docile. To survive, the Hyena kills both the both the Zebra and the Orangutan. At this point, a Bengal Tiger, who had been hidden the whole time, appears from under the tarp. The Tiger represents Pi’s emerging willingness to do what it takes to survive. In other word’s Pi begins to embrace his primitive instincts such the need to kill in order to eat whatever he can his hands on. He no longer has the luxury of being passive or vegetarian as he was in the past. The new duality of Pi and the Tiger is one in which there is an alliance between man’s survival instincts and his need to be civilized. Pi is not only battling for survival, but is struggling to keep faith at all costs. At the point where he is just about to give up and let himself die, he finds himself on an island rich with food and resources. He later realizes this island was God's way of telling him to continue on his journey. With faith in religion and the alliance between his survival instincts and need to be civilized, he finds himself completing his journey. This book is perfect for anyone who wants to read an exciting survival story and for those who have a spiritual outlook on life. ( )
  Gus_Kasper | Nov 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 741 (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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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
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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.

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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 names 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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5 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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