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Life of Pi

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Life of Pi Cover

ISBN13: 9780151013838
ISBN10: 0151013837
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Will the tiger be menacing; will the ocean be threatening; will the island be something out of Frankenstein or will it be an Eden?" — Yann Martel

Life of Pi, first published in 2002, became an international bestseller and remains one of the most extraordinary and popular works of contemporary fiction.

In 2005 an international competition was held to find the perfect artist to illustrate Yann Martel's Man Booker Prize-winning novel. From thousands of entrants, Croatian artist Tomislav Torjanac was chosen. This lavishly produced edition features forty of Torjanac's beautiful four-color illustrations, bringing Life of Pi to splendid, eye-popping life.

Tomislav Torjanac says of his illustrations: "My vision of the illustrated edition of Life of Pi is based on paintings from a first person's perspective — Pi's perspective. The interpretation of what Pi sees is intermeshed with what he feels and it is shown through [the] use of colors, perspective, symbols, hand gestures, etc."


This lavishly produced edition features 40 of Tomislav Torjanacs beautiful four-color illustrations and brings the bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning "Life of Pi" to splendid, eye-popping life.

About the Author

Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 and lives in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan. Life of Pi, his second novel, was published to international acclaim in more than forty countries and won the 2002 Man Booker Prize. He is currently working on a new novel.

Tomislav Torjanac was born in 1972 in Croatia, where he lives and works as a freelance illustrator. In 2006, he won the international competition to find an illustrator for this new edition of Life of Pi. Amongst other things, he's done many book covers and illustrated a few children's books, including James Joyce's The Cat and the Devil.

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barbie, November 23, 2010 (view all comments by barbie)
The Life of Pi is not as it may seem. Pi is not what we would call a normal 16 old boy. He knows everything there is to know about animals of all shapes and sizes. Not only has that but Pi also practiced three religions. After living his younger years in India with his unusual practices, his family decides to move to Canada for a new beginning. Things don’t go as planned though. A squall hits the ship and the ship can’t take the punishment for very long. The ship sinks with only Pi, a three year old Bengal tiger, a hyena, an orangutan, and a zebra survive in a 26 foot long life boat. The animals from the zoo and Pi are forced to live on this lifeboat with minimum supplies. The weak are picked off one by one until only Richard Parker, the tiger, and Pi remained. Pi realizes that Richard Parker will eventually become hungry again so Pi decides to befriend him by fishing for him. Then the least expected happens. He meets another lifeboat at sea. When this other castaway attacks Pi for his flesh, Richard Parker repays the favor and demolishes the other human. Pi eventually sees land but it is not what he expects. This little island has absolutely no soil but is covered in edible algae. Not only that, there is thousands of meerkats that perform the same routine every day. But one night, Pi discovers that the island is carnivorous. In order to save himself, he takes a huge risk and leaves the island in search of the mainland. After floating adrift until he can no longer stand, Pi finally reaches land. When Richard Parker realizes it, he jumps of the boat and disappears into the forests of Mexico. Shortly after, people find Pi and take him to the hospital. While in the hospital, Pi is interviewed where his story takes an unexpected turn. Maybe this actually happened, maybe it didn’t.
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Sarah Berlin, May 3, 2010 (view all comments by Sarah Berlin)
The novel Life of Pi, written by Yann Martel, is a book about imagination, religion, survival, human and animal contact...and the list goes on. Taking place in India and the Pacific Ocean, the reader encounters a unique culture and scenery expressed through imaginative eyes. The novel follows a young boy Piscine, or Pi, as he experiments with religion, gets stranded on a boat with an aggressive tiger, and spends 227 days struggling to survive. Martel successfully allows the readers to interpret many of these themes and forces them to decide what is true.
16-year-old Piscine Patel grows up on a zoo in India which his father owns. He learns many of life’s lessons at the zoo, for example how dangerous wild animals are. Pi’s father teaches his young sons this lesson by feeding a goat to their wild tiger, lecturing that “every animal is ferocious and dangerous” (47). Pi’s curiosity of God causes him to experiment with the religions of Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. While his authority figures believe the three are contradictory, Pi states “all religions are true. I just want to love God” (87). This faith in God allows Piscine to persevere through close contact with death.
Pi’s family is forced to leave their zoo due to economic struggles, so they pack up their animals and head for Canada. Without evident reason, their ship the Tsimtsum sinks and Piscine finds himself on a lifeboat with a zebra, hyena, orangutan, and tiger. He witnesses the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ and soon realizes, “when your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival” (151). Soon the only two captive by the ocean on the small lifeboat are the tiger Richard Parker and Piscine. With belief that surviving is out of the question, Pi thinks that “I was so obviously outmatched by Richard Parker that it wasn’t even worth worrying about. With a tiger aboard, my life was over. That being settled, why not do something about my patched throat?” (170) However, Pi’s regained will to survive influences in his plan to keep Richard Parker alive, too. He begins to train the tiger, through creating distinct territories and being his source of food and water. Both near death through hunger and dehydration, as Pi explains, “my body began to deteriorate” (271). However, the lifeboat drifts to a ‘botanical discovery’, an island lusciously green where the two restore the life they once had. While it seems they finally escape death, Pi discovers this is a carnivorous island. Despite the seemingly endless isolation of the ocean, their confinement ends with Richard’s quick departure. Piscine meets with two interviewers and tells about his story with Richard Parker on the lifeboat. However, the men don’t believe him and ask for the truth, so Pi tells another story. It is this point that possible truth is introduced, and the reader is forced to interpret which story they choose to believe. Regardless, Piscine’s story is one of “courage and endurance in the face of extraordinary difficult and tragic circumstances” (401).
A theme present throughout the entire novel is that humans and animals are related by the hostility which both practice. Disregarding which story is true or not, drawing parallels among the true create this connection between human and animal behavior. This similarity is blatantly brought forth when interviewer Okamoto states, “so the Taiwanese sailor is the zebra, his mother is the orang-utan, the cook is..the hyena—which means he’s the tiger!” (392) While Pi doesn’t encounter much violence between people, Martel is commenting on society. This concept of hostility among humans is made more simple and evident through actions of the animals.
Another concept of society that is effectively simplified through Pi’s story is that of religion. While the novel contains religion, it doesn’t preach or contain bias, but points out their relationships. While the Christians, Muslims, and Hindus believe in different Gods, Piscine’s mother explains there is “one nation in the sky” (93). As a reader, this message taught me that what you believe doesn’t exceed others’ beliefs. Piscine even states that “atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them—and then they leap” (35). I interpreted Martel’s words as faith is the true importance of religion, and that believing in something sustains life.
This book is for readers that are content with open endings and interpretation. As an allegorical work of fiction, the imaginative aspects require analyzing. Also, this book is for readers that are interested in religion, but not necessarily believers or nonbelievers. It teaches about faith and acceptance.
The story of Piscine Patel and Richard Parker is certainly not a subject commonly encountered. However, through its elaborate imagery and relatable subject of animals, Martel is able to make deep comments on society. Life of Pi is a book open for interpretation; individual for each reader’s faith, view of society, and imagination.
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Product Details

Deluxe Illustrated Edition
Yann Martel and Tomislav Torjanac
Torjanac, Tomislav
Martel, Yann
Torjanac, Tomislav
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Action & Adventure
Action & Adventure - General
Teenage boys
Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks
Psychological fiction
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 9 up to 12
40 four-color illustrations
8 x 5.31 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Life of Pi Used Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages Harcourt - English 9780151013838 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This lavishly produced edition features 40 of Tomislav Torjanacs beautiful four-color illustrations and brings the bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning "Life of Pi" to splendid, eye-popping life.
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