Life of Pi

Life of Pi

A Novel

Book - 2001
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Houghton
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.


The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. 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 while 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?


Baker & Taylor
Possessing encyclopedia-like intelligence, unusual zookeeper's son Pi Patel sets sail for America, but when the ship sinks, he escapes on a life boat and is lost at sea with a dwindling number of animals until only he and a hungry Bengal tiger remain.

Harcourt Publishing
The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. 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 while 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?


Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, c2001
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780156027328
0156027321
Branch Call Number: FICTION MARTEL
Characteristics: xii, 326 p. ; 20 cm

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m
mattstrelau
Oct 12, 2017

I found that watching the movie before reading the book actually helped visualize some of the imagery. Pi's view on life and religion is inspiring. Excellent plot and difficult to put down.

d
dewwell
Sep 27, 2017

"This book will make you believe in God."

Or not.

This book made me feel that whoever wrote the line above didn't have a clue about what might make anyone believe in god...or anything about islands or meerkats, either. This book seemed to be a metaphor for a lot of things, but I couldn't care enough about it to waste my time trying to guess what it might be. It was interesting enough to read...and silly enough to make me hoot when the absurdities cropped up. It assumes readers are either a lot smarter or a lot stupider than they probably are; I felt "used" after reading this book. But I was able to finish it and I can't say that for every book out there.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Aug 23, 2017

Life of Pi follows the story of Pi Patel, a young Indian boy who survives a sinking ship and must live on a lifeboat with an adult Bengal tiger in order to survive. The story involves many larger themes such as life philosophy, religion and the order of nature. The story is paced a little slowly, but that may be intentional considering all of Pi’s days are mostly the same and it’s not like a small lifeboat in the middle of the ocean is going to be the setting of an action-packed adventure. The character development is strong, Pi is a very interesting protagonist and the story dances on a fine line between a fictional and non-fictional style of story-telling (i.e. how realistic the story is). Overall an amazing book that is superior to its movie adaptation and definitely worth reading. 4.5/5 Stars
- @Fulton of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

s
swetha2003
Jul 10, 2017

one of my favorite books.

k
Kmuzaic
Mar 20, 2017

Beautiful book! I could not put it down. It gave meaning in the writing and had you reflecting each climax.

m
mogie
Feb 03, 2017

I quite enjoyed this book. Having jst finished it I am not sure if I would read it again, thus I would actually give this book a rating of 4.5. I had attempted to read it about 4 years ago and it fell to the wayside after the book was stolen from me and I didn't feel compelled to pick it up again. I had watched the movie but I didn't find it memorable as when I read the book I didn't remember much about the film other than the scene with the flying fish because it was visually striking. I found it easy to read and manageable with the short chapters (seriously, one of my favourite things about books). I particularly liked the bit at the end with the Japanese translation. I didn't find that at any point the book was dragging or I was skimming bits. Quite a solid read.

b
blue_dog_8329
Dec 21, 2016

Honestly, I don't really get all the fuss with this book. Slow start, blah blah blah, talks about fishing turtles for weeks. But then there's the "philosophy" everyone is oohing and ahhing about, which is why I decided to read this book. IT'S NOT EVEN THERE. I read A LOT of books, and there's more philosophy in most then this. Yeah, Pi believes in multiple religions and lives on a boat with a tiger for the time being, but I don't see what everyone's talking about.

t
trevordunfordswife
Nov 24, 2016

It must be said again, this is an extraordinary novel. Yann Martel has crafted a true masterpiece, a once-in-a-lifetime book that will stand the test of time and live up to anyone's expectations. 'Pi' Patel, named after a swimming pool (!) begins life in India and works as a zookeeper's assistant for his father in the family zoo until the day his dad takes the family and some of the animals to America in an unsafe cargo boat. This novel describes what happens during that ill-fated crossing. It is a complex read. The events themselves are simple: the quotidian survival tasks he must perform to exist at all, let alone with Richard Parker on the ready are juxtaposed with his innermost thoughts on God, religion - indeed, all religions, in fact just about everything and anything you can think about on a long ocean voyage all by yourself! The movie was surprisingly good but cannot compare to the shades of complexity that lie within this amazing novel.
Highly recommend to anyone who likes to think.

AL_HANNAH Aug 08, 2016

So much philosophy and need for survival. My heart tugged at this one.

k
kelsmar
Aug 01, 2016

This book is both smart and thoughtful. I enjoyed reading it a lot.

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blue_dog_8329
Dec 21, 2016

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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eparti
Mar 29, 2015

eparti thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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queenowly
Feb 10, 2014

queenowly thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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Kennyn172
Jul 21, 2013

Kennyn172 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 99 and 98

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CharlotteStone
Feb 16, 2013

CharlotteStone thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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BieberFever108
Jan 30, 2013

BieberFever108 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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ansonliu1007
Jan 19, 2013

ansonliu1007 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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Orange_Dog_338
Jan 11, 2013

Orange_Dog_338 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

The_Light_Particle Dec 19, 2012

The_Light_Particle thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

2
21288004484909
Dec 19, 2012

21288004484909 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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9
912greens
Jul 14, 2016

Pi, upon being afraid to find a Bengal Tiger in his life boat: "You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked up and felt much better, We see that in sports all the time, don't we? The tennis challenger starts strong, but soon loses confidence in his playing. The champion racks up his game. But in the final set, when the challenger has nothing left to lose, he becomes relaxed again, insouciant, daring. Suddenly he's playing like the devil and and the champion must work hard to get those last points. So it was with me."

e
eparti
Apr 03, 2015

"It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go" - 'Pi Patel'

e
eparti
Apr 03, 2015

"There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless"
- 'Pi Patel'

p
Perspots
Dec 23, 2013

"... animals don't escape to somewhere but from some something. Something within their territory has frightened them-the intrusion of an enemy, the assault of a dominant animal, a startling noise- and set off a flight reaction."

AmandaVollmershausen Oct 12, 2012

"Let's hear your story," he said, panting.

"Once upon a time there was a banana and it grew. It grew until it was large, firm, yellow and fragrant. Then it fell to the ground and someone came upon it and ate it."

He stopped rowing. "What a beautiful story!"

"Thank you." (Pg 316)

AmandaVollmershausen Oct 12, 2012

Then I raced up the hill on the right-to offer thanks to Lord Krishna for having put Jesus of Nazareth, whose humanity I found so compelling, in my way. (pg 73)

b
becker
Sep 21, 2012

“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways.”
― Yan Martel

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t
thisisnew
Aug 06, 2015

A beautiful book by Yann Martel on the marvels of the imagination and on survival. A great ending and many surprising twists. Made into a movie as well. Well worth it.

b
BieberFever108
Jan 30, 2013

Pi Patel grew up in India swimming and hanging out in his family owned Zoo. He practices Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, after visiting a church, Mosque, and a Hindu Temple on a vacation. When he was 16 his family and him left for Canada on a Japanese Cargo ship but never reached their destination, due to a storm causing the ship to sink. Pi's family died but Pi survived leaving him alone... Yet he wasn't the only one to survive, a 450 pound tiger named Richard Parker survived also along with a Hyena, a wounded Zebra, and an Orangutan. Pi Patel was on a small lifeboat stranded in the middle of the ocean with 4 wild animals. The Hyena eats the Zebra alive and then also kills the orangutan. The Tiger Richard Parker then killed the Hyena. Now Pi was just alone with a grown tiger. Pi and this Tiger survived 227 days stranded in the middle of the ocean until he reached Mexico. Richard Parker walked away into the jungle in Mexico never to be seen again by Pi. After Japanese authorities hear of a Japanese Cargo Ship sinking and one lone survivor they drive down to meet Pi, to get answers out of him. He tells his story, but the Japanese do not believe it and ask him to tell the true story, he then tells of another gruesome version of the story with humans in the place of the animals. Not knowing which story was the true one the Japanese leave and Pi spends the rest of his life in Canada.

The_Light_Particle Dec 19, 2012

A young Indian and his parents cast off to move to Canada when an unexpected storm happens that killed his family.Now all he has is a simple lifeboat and a adult male tiger and has to adapt to it if he wants to survive...

p
pod
Jun 02, 2008

THE LIFE OF PI is one of two of the most unusual books I've ever come across. The other was McCrae's KATZENJAMMER. (A third was ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY by Sedaris, though that book is quite funny as well). LIFE OF PI is told by the central character, Pi, whose real name Piscene (pool) has been distorted in childhood to Pissing, assumes a name that measures the diameter of a circle, the symbol of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. Pi tells two stories of being lost at sea--one story of a miraculous survival for 277 days of a boy on a boat with a Bengal tiger and another story of cannibalism and murder on that same boat whose occupants are Pi, a cook, Pi's mother, and a Taiwanese sailor. Pi says, "So tell me . . .which is the better story? And so it goes with God." Life of Pi concludes with the investigators for the shipwreck's cause choosing the first story in which the caged animals somehow all escaped from their cages as the ship Tsimtsum sank suddenly to the bottom of the Pacific as the more believable, but is the reader to do so? Before choosing to believe the first story, Mr. Chiba, one of the investigators, makes associations between the hyena in the first story and the cook in the second; he sees the zebra in the first as the Taiwanese sailor in the second. The orangutan in the first was Pi's mother in the second, and the tiger Richard Parker from the first is Pi in the second. Then Mr. Chiba asks, "What about the island? Who are the meerkats? What about the teeth? I don't know. I am not inside this boy's head." Must also recommend KATZENJAMMER by McCrae and the novel BARK OF THE DOGWOOD for two other great reads.

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