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Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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Life of Pi (2001)

by Yann Martel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
36,452123830 (3.92)2 / 1189
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    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.
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    Bcteagirl: Both are Canadian survival stories, involve animals, are dark at times but never depressing.
  5. 30
    The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both books contain elements of magical realism and tigers!
  6. 41
    Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Booksloth)
  7. 31
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    LDVoorberg: Both are graphic stories about (in part) how people deal with trauma. Narrative style is also similar.
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    Cecrow: Narrating reality or imagination?
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    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
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  16. 22
    In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick (BIzard)
  17. 11
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  18. 11
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  19. 12
    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (sipthereader)
    sipthereader: A true story of survival at sea.
  20. 34
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (Smiler69)

(see all 28 recommendations)

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Canada (40)
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English (868)  Dutch (13)  German (5)  Italian (4)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hungarian (1)  Russian (1)  All languages (905)
Showing 1-5 of 868 (next | show all)
GREAT book. ( )
  sandra.pinkerton83 | Apr 16, 2019 |
Wow. ( )
1 vote authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
As if you needed telling, this is the tale of Pi Patel's shipwreck journey in a lifeboat with a tiger named Richard Parker. It's so well regarded that I pressed on through pages of overwriting and prolonged drama, hoping the "ending twist" would wow me enough to make it all, if not re-readable, at least worth a one-time read. Oh well.

I read a review of this book by an atheist who said "Christians will love this book," but that he felt condescended to by Pi's implying that atheists, unlike agnostics, will all experience a deathbed (if not sooner) conversion to theistic belief. I don't blame the reviewer for his frustration. In fact, I'm not sure who (perhaps the "spiritual but not religious"?) could read this book and not be annoyed by Pi's pious blathering. He states repeatedly that the three faiths represented here (Hinduism, Christianity, Islam) are all roads to the same God, so he will practice all three of them equally. Never mind that this idea could be accepted only by one who is neither Hindu, nor Christian, nor Muslim. According to Muslims, Christians are blasphemers. According to Christians, Hindus are practicing polytheism i.e. idolatry. (I have no idea what if anything Martel was getting at in ignoring Judaism and Buddhism.) Pi tells us over and over that he has chosen to love Krishna and Allah and Christ equally. As a Christian, I'd have had more respect for Pi if he'd realized how absurd that concept is, recognized he had to choose one faith if he were going to dedicate himself to it accurately, and decided in the end to become a true Muslim or a true Hindu.

If I seem to be overemphasizing the philosophy of the novel rather than the story, it's because the novel itself is really a philosophy book thinly veiled in a fantastic adventure at sea. Pi and Richard Parker are not the point of this book. Based on the "interview" at the conclusion, the point is that choosing to believe in God is a "better story" than choosing not to believe in Him. Whether or not God exists becomes beside the point; instead, we ought to believe in Him because religious belief makes life better/richer/more bearable/etc. (Cue eye rolling from this reader.)

I would probably have given the book three stars anyway, if it were well written. It's not. Editing it down to half its size would help. The prose isn't always purple, but when it is, it's downright ultraviolet. Pi's monologues are overly dramatic, tedious rather than sympathetic. The extensive descriptions of the lifeboat are tedious rather than interesting. Really, not much about the novel is interesting other than the behavior of the tiger and Pi's methods of "taming" him. And that's certainly not enough to justify a length of 300 pages.

Is the movie any better? ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
Who would not love a book that starts in Pondichery! Great narrative style, takes you on an almost magical reality trip through the high seas, and then... ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
A brilliant book full of extraordinary and fascinating ideas, such as the difference between man and beast, the instinct for survival, the roles that religion plays in our lives. The book also saturated with some positive feeling, which adds to the enjoyment of reading. ( )
  AvrahamDavid | Feb 10, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 868 (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 (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martel, Yannprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adam, VikasNarratorsecondary authorsome 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
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.
This book was born as I was hungry. (Author's Note)
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.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the book. Please do not combine with the film.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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.
-Amazon
Haiku summary
Boat on the ocean
Was there really a tiger?
We will never know.
(mamajoan)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true? Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God. Publisher Fact Sheet. A fabulist novel that combines the delight of Kipling's Just So Stories with the metaphysical adventure of Jonah and the Whale.… (more)

» see all 23 descriptions

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Canongate Books

3 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 184195392X, 1841958492, 1847676014

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