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207 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute delight
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...
Published on 11 April 2004 by Anthony Lynas

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I didn't really get it!
For many years people have told me I MUST read this book. So I thought it was about time I did so before the film comes out. I found the pace of the book rather slow, the switching of topics and discussions of swimming pools and such rather quite odd. In all honesty I did not particularly enjoy this book. As a novel the story is boring with no proper ending and as a...
Published 16 months ago by TANIA ANDERSON


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207 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute delight, 11 April 2004
By 
Anthony Lynas (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Life of Pi (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
This review is from: Life of Pi (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
This review is from: Life of Pi (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
This review is from: Life of Pi (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? In fact, thinking of it, one particularly memorable section of the book - the island, a staggeringly inventive set piece which put me in mind of the land of the mulefa in Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass - indicates, if anything, evolution at work rather than Creation, and the narrator even makes respectful mention of Darwin.
However. This small gripe does nothing to detract from the fact that Life of Pi will have you grinning like a tiger for days. Prize-winner or not, if it doesn't become a classic in the next few years, I'll eat that carton of emergency rations. Well he won't be needing it will he?
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I didn't really get it!, 24 Dec 2012
By 
TANIA ANDERSON "Tania" (Scarborough, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life Of Pi (Kindle Edition)
For many years people have told me I MUST read this book. So I thought it was about time I did so before the film comes out. I found the pace of the book rather slow, the switching of topics and discussions of swimming pools and such rather quite odd. In all honesty I did not particularly enjoy this book. As a novel the story is boring with no proper ending and as a great philosophical work I found it rather lacking. I studied philosophy at university and could recommend far better books if one is interested in tackling such concepts as freedom and survival. On the whole I would not recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, 10 May 2012
By 
Victoria (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
A friend lent this to me, months ago, and seeing as I have just spent three days in bed with food poisoning I thought I may as well tick it off the list. I'm pretty glad I did, having just finished it, and laid here scratching my head for a while. I don't think a book has got me thinking so much in quite a while.

First off, the reviews on Amazon seem to fall into more or less two camps - those who adored the book, and those who haven't bothered to get to the end and feel that it is OK to give it a one-star rating despite being only 100 pages in. Shame on you! It seems we all had to persevere a little to get to the bones of this novel, but they do say that good things come to those who wait. I'm not in the rave review camp, but I did read the whole book, and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't perfect, so it gets 4 stars from me.

By now, you probably know what the story entails - a boy survives a shipwreck and ends up on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, a hyena, an orang-utan and a zebra. At its most superficial it is an adventure story, and if you can get past the initial 100 or so pages (which aren't that interesting unless you have more than a passing interest in zoology) then the main bit of the novel, where Pi survives his ordeal at sea without being eaten by the tiger, is an enjoyable read. But it is the ending which makes this book interesting. I don't want to spoil it, and probably there will be a few readers who miss the point, but the ending does require a little bit of thinking outside the box in order to get the point.

It isn't a book that has made me believe in God. But it is a book that has got me thinking that Yann Martel makes a very good point on the subject of faith. Which is the better story? Read it and decide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful tale of love, death, religion and fantasy., 11 Jan 2010
By 
Chloe Curme - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life of Pi (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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 3 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Life Of Pi (Kindle Edition)
Very much enjoyed reading this book. It kept me turning the pages, and I would be thinking of what would happen next whenever I put the book down.
There were a few parts which were a bit boring (for want of a better word) where one small topic or description would be lingered on for longer than necessary.

In total, I loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone, young or old. I just hope te film does the book justice!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick With It, 1 Oct 2006
By 
Mr. D. J. Read (Alnwick, Northumberland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
I feel I had to write a review on this novel, to offer advice which can alter your reading experience of this novel. Stick with it!

People with a short attention span will suffer for the first 93 pages, where we are 'treated' to a history of the events of Piscines life, and his philosophies, generally shaped by a devotion to religion, and not just the one. He also babbles on about his zoo, which, for me, made me give up reading this on the first attempt.

It is only when we get to the meat of the story that this book comes to life. We are treated, essentially, to a fellow on a life raft with a hyena, and oragutang, a zebra and a bengal tiger. As one can predict, these numbers are whittled down. Then we have a tale of survival, but more than that, when a desperate desire for comparison drives him to befriend said tiger, we begin to see the point of the first 100 pages.

I must admit, there are some bizarre scenes. For instance, Pi goes blind, and then finds there is someone else to chat to in the boat, who tries to murder him, and then of course, we have the incident of the living green island which I actually emjoyed.

In short, this is a survival novel, not quite in the same vein as Robinson Crusoe, but with many interesting twists. It is a commentary on religion and philosophy, and friendship in many ways. The tale is vivid after the initial disappointment, and told wonderfully. It's not often I praise a novel, but when I do, it is deserved.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, it must become a modern classic!, 13 July 2009
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
Yann Martel's 'Life of Pi' will surely go down as a modern classic work of literature. His writing style is sharp and gripping, yet very thought provoking as well. The moments of hilarious wit are equally balanced by a very clever and well thought out narrative describing and explaining the thoughts and events concerning the central character - Pi Patel. I was not particularly inspired to read this book at first after reading the back, but after a little encouragement from a family member who bought it for me, I can say I thoroughly recommend it.
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Life of Pi
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Paperback - 4 Oct 2012)
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