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Life Of Pi Paperback – 29 May 2003

4,146 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New Edition edition (29 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184195392X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953922
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4,146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963. After studying philosophy at university, he worked at odd jobs and travelled before turning to writing at the age of twenty-six. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed 2002 Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, which was translated into thirty-eight languages and spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. His collection of short stories, The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, and his first novel, Self, both received critical acclaim. Yann Martel lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Some books defy categorisation: Life of Pi, the second novel from Canadian writer Yann Martel, is a case in point: just about the only thing you can say for certain about it is that it is fiercely and admirably unique. The plot, if that’s the right word, concerns the oceanic wanderings of a lost boy, the young and eager Piscine Patel of the title (Pi). After a colourful and loving upbringing in gorgeously-hued India, the Muslim-Christian-animistic Pi sets off for a fresh start in Canada. His blissful voyage is rudely interrupted when his boat is scuppered halfway across the Pacific, and he is forced to rough it in a lifeboat with a hyena, a monkey, a whingeing zebra and a tiger called Richard. That would be bad enough, but from here on things get weirder: the animals start slaughtering each other in a veritable frenzy of allegorical bloodlust, until Richard the tiger and Pi are left alone to wander the wastes of ocean, with plenty of time to ponder their fate, the cruelty of the gods, the best way to handle storms and the various different recipes for oothappam, scrapple and coconut yam kootu. The denouement is pleasantly neat. According to the blurb, thirtysomething Yann Martel spent long years in Alaska, India, Mexico, France, Costa Rica, Turkey and Iran, before settling in Canada. All those cultures and more have been poured into this spicy, vivacious, kinetic and very entertaining fiction. --Sean Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Every page offers something of tension, humanity, surprise, or even ecstasy" (The Times)

"A terrific book . . . fresh, original, smart, devious, and crammed with absorbing lore" (Margaret Atwood Sunday Times)

"A unique and original story, brilliantly told" (Guardian)

"Full of clever tricks, amusing asides and grand originality" (Daily Telegraph)

"Ultimately uplifting" (Daily Mail)

"Extraordinary...Life of Pi could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life" (New York Times Book Review)

"Martel's engaging characterization and vivid description enliven and enrich this dreamy, fantastic tale" (The Times)

"Its appeal has endured, with a worldwide 'readalong' of the book next month and a moniker as a 'modern classic' to boot. The moniker, in this instance, is utterly deserved . . . Pi is bewitching, the tale both nihilistic and naïve, philosophical and playful, deeply moving while always treading the line clear of schmalz" (Arifa Akbar Independent)

"Martel has a warm way of engaging with the reader" (Robert Burdock

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chloe Curme on 11 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
`The Life of Pi' by Mantal is an exquisite tale about the exploration of different cultures, ideologies and influences, and the effect they have on the protagonist, Pi. This opening of the novel lays down the basis of the storyline, and appears to be mundane, however the tale unfolds to be gripping and thought provoking. As a teenager, Pi has many influences in his life, his mother who encourages discovering new ideas, particularly through literature. He also acquires a vast knowledge of animals, through his father, who is the proprietor of the zoo. The novel draws together many different elements of life, ranging from spiritual to technical elements, particularly as Pi is unable to decide on one religion, following Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. Pi's family move to Canada, due to his father disagreeing with the political views of India's Prime Minister and on the voyage, the boat sinks, which results in Pi being shipwrecked for 227 days before recovered. He was shipwrecked with an orang-utan , a zebra, a hyena and a tiger, `Richard Parker'. All of the animals besides Richard Parker are eaten, and Pi tames him. The fast paced nature of the story combined with the poetic style of language makes for a hugely vivid story, allowing the imagination of the readers to be pushed to the limits.

The originality and the powerful component of fantasy suggests why, when Pi recounts his story to those who recovered him much preferred his story with the animals, rather than the version with the exchanging of animals for human characters. It is clear why `The Life of Pi' won the `Mann - Booker Award' as Mantal combines life, death, religion and imagination to create an beautiful tale.
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213 of 236 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Lynas VINE VOICE on 11 April 2004
Format: Paperback
Life of Pi was, for me, a delight throughout. The first portion of the book seems to have garnered criticism in some corners but I found it to be a gentle and drily witty look at the way the world works. It provides the grounding for what follows, including the religious journey the book takes. Bearing in mind that I'm atheistic, I didn't feel like I was being preached to at any point in time. What's important here is that Yann Martel doesn't ram anything down the reader's throats. Pi relates all the events that occur to zoology and / or religion but the reader is always allowed to make their own judgement as well.
The story really picks up post-shipwreck and has some lovely twists and turns along the way. It's a paean to the survival instincts of the human spirit told through a series of increasingly bizarre and imaginative anecdotes. Wonderfully, everything is thrown askew at the end with a marvellous plot twist that leaves the reader considering the book long after they have finished it.
I read through Life of Pi in a little over two days; it was both enthralling and captivating and is that rare thing in modern art and literature - a positive and hopeful comment on the nature of the human being.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Loupop on 19 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
There are aspects of this book I loved... one particular scene is gold, Richard Parker, Treeee.... Treeeee..... etc. absolutely brilliant... I won't fill you in on the scene but it's worth reading for that scene alone. Another scene is the most horrifically traumatic experience ever, for which alone I would advise against reading the book!!! Aside from these two aspects, it's a nice, funny, easy read. Spiritual? Well, I didn't get that! A book to make you believe in God? Well, I think not (and again, maybe I simply didn't get it)! All in all, it's a funny, sad, traumatic story...BUT, how it won all the accolades that Yan Martel now houses on his mantel piece..... i'm not sure, I think he was lucky... timing perhaps! It certainly wasn't a GREAT read, i've read many better in the same guise.

Pick it up and have a go but take note, one scene was worth it, one scene was most definitely something I would rather never have had the misfortune to experience, I still have nightmares! The rest..... i'm not so sure. My opinion for what it's worth.
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234 of 267 people found the following review helpful By blurgirl74 on 23 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
Life of Pi stands with Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude as the most surprising and inventive book I have ever read. The description I read of the book said simply that it was the tale of a boy marooned on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific with only a zebra, orangutan, hyena and tiger for company. I was prepared for a fantasy with talking animals who help Pi throughout an adventure until they inevitably wash up on the shore. What I didn't expect it to be was a savagely brutal tale of survival teeming with blood, viscera, fear, despair and the very real teeth and claws of a 450 pound Bengal tiger. What I also didn't expect it to be was a beautiful, moving, heartfelt, loving exploration of loss, determination, belief and spirituality. That it can be both these descriptions at the same time tells you something of the power of this work of art. Life of Pi will be to some people a cracking adventure story, to some a philosophical treatise on the nature of belief and religion and to some a dizzying and confusing mix of the real, the assumed and the fantasy. To me it was quite simply astounding. The realisation of the point the narrator makes to the Japanese investigators at the end made me laugh and cry at the same time and for the first time in ages I felt a tug at my soul towards a higher power. Everyone in the world should read this book and after the last word, close it, take a deep breath and come out changed.
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