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Life of Pi [Paperback]

Yann Martel
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,783 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

17 May 2003
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific.The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy.The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; New Edition edition (17 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184195392X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953922
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,783 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,119 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.

Review

'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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
207 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute delight 11 April 2004
By Anthony Lynas VINE VOICE
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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229 of 261 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big cats, big love, big impression 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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best things come to those who wait 30 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback
I read the back cover of this book in bookshops many times before I forced myself to buy it. Even then, I was dubious about whether the plot would contain enough interest due to the confines of a lifeboat and one character. As I read the first 100 pages I became impatient for the story to "begin", however I sailed (no pun intended) past p120 and soon realised that I was hooked. You have to invest some time at the start of this book to fully appreciate the character and the predicament in totality. Believe me, it is definitely worth the investment.
This book offers you the company of a boy and his story of survival in the most unlikeliest of scenarios. It has that great combination of being well written but easy to read. I finished it with that feeling of bittersweet loss when you know you've read a great book and will miss the companionship offered by the main character. I even miss the tiger!
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138 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life and How to Live It 14 Oct 2002
Format:Hardcover
At the time of writing, Life of Pi is on the shortlist for the Booker Prize, and by the time of you reading this, it has either won (hurrah) or lost (hurroo). Because of the three novels I've read from the shortlist, Life of Pi stands head and shoulders above the others for being entirely original, good-natured, sparky (unlike the sluggish, grounded others), and extremely moreish: it took me only two days to navigate its 320 pages. You can put it down but it's such enjoyable fun why would you want to?
The blurb is somewhat misleading, suggesting that Life of Pi is only about the travails of a boy trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger: in fact there are 100 pages before this main event. But the miracle is that even when restricted to one human character and a twenty-odd foot lifeboat, Martel is never boring, and never resorts to childish anthropormism with the animals either: Pi really does have to survive with a 450-pound Bengal tiger, hungry and uncartoonish and nearby.
Speaking of miracles, the narrator's pushy insistence throughout the book that it will "make you believe in God" is the only chunk of the novel I couldn't quite swallow. There's no godliness whatsoever - unless it's moving in mysteriously subtle ways or something and I'm just too much of an atheistic blockhead to see it - unless you count the instances of Pi praising God when something good happens to interrupt the terrible attrition of life on the lifeboat. And frankly who wouldn't hedge their bets a bit in such a situation?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, beautifully written
I was left a little ambivalent after watching the film. Fortunately I was given the book to read by my local book group and the story really came to life for me. Read more
Published 4 hours ago by Jenolivia
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This book is brilliant, I couldn't put it down. It deserves all the accolades it has received. Very thought provoking.
Published 6 hours ago by LDT123
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
One of the best books I have ever read and has been a fantastic read
Well worth the read!!!
I advise you to get it
Published 7 days ago by blob head
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful in its simplicity
Vivid descriptions, a long-time artfully told. Many debates are brought to the fore for consideration, but subtly so as not to offend the more skittish of readers.
Published 8 days ago by C.W
2.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story, but I didn't enjoy the ending
I really enjoyed this book... until the last few pages. I won't spoil it for you, but I'm not honestly sure I would recommend it. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Mrs A
5.0 out of 5 stars book
Was what I wanted arriving very quickly I shall be using this again when needed. good response time to my order
Published 10 days ago by Barbara Cushley
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a motivational and yet soul searching book.
I watched the film first and then read the book. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Rachael Wilks
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn
One bit I remember is the WHOLE page that describes his prayer mat and the corner of the yard that he liked to pray in. Bougainvillea is involved. Too much unrequired detail. Dull. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Sazzelle
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
I did enjoy it a lot. It is an interesting story with a deeper massage. It's not just a description of events but allegory of what we might be capable of when face real danger and... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Kasia
5.0 out of 5 stars Good job!
The item arrived as described and in remarkably good time. Making me one happy camper! I would buy from them again.
Published 17 days ago by But I hate tea
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