Synopses & Reviews
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?
"This breezily aphoristic, unapologetically twee saga of man and cat is a convincing hands-on, how-to guide for dealing with what Pi calls, with typically understated brio, 'major lifeboat pests.'" The New Yorker
"A work of wonder....[T]he kind of twist-and-turns spellbinder that's almost impossible to forget." Paul Evans, Book Magazine
"Martel's Life of Pi might sound ridiculous, but by the time Martel throws Pi out to sea, his quirkily magical and often hilarious vision has already taken hold....Martel is so mesmerized by Pi that one can't help but be enchanted too....Pi's lost-at-sea story never drags. The slow journey is spiked with fascinating survival scenes....Pi's story is so extraordinary that when he finally makes it ashore, he offers a comparatively boring version of the tale to two researchers, acknowledging that humans don't have much of a taste for the miraculous. This played-down version makes Pi's true tale, thanks to Martel's beautifully fantastical and spirited rendering, all the more tempting to believe." Suzy Hansen, Salon.com
PRAISE FOR LIFE OF PI
"Life of Pi could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life."— The New York Times Book Review
"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction."— Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A gripping adventure story . . . Laced with wit, spiced with terror, it's a book by an extraordinary talent."— St. Paul Pioneer-Press
"A terrific book . . . Fresh, original, smart, devious, and crammed with absorbing lore."— Margaret Atwood
"An impassioned defense of zoos, a death-defying trans-Pacific sea adventure a la Kon-Tiki, and a hilarious shaggy-dog story . . . : This audacious novel manages to be all of these." — The New Yorker
"Readers familiar with Margaret Atwood, Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje and Carol Shields should learn to make room on the map of contemporary Canadian fiction for the formidable Yann Martel." — Chicago Tribune
--Los Angeles Times
Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction
"Let me tell you a secret: the name of the greatest living writer of the generation born in the sixties is Yann Martel."--L'Humanité
"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction and its human creators, and in the original power of storytellers like Martel." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
“If this century produces a classic work of survival literature, Martel is surely a contender.--The Nation
"Beautifully fantastical and spirited." -- Salon
"Martel displays the clever voice and tremendous storytelling skills of an emerging master." --Publishers Weekly
"[Life of Pi] could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life." -- The New York Times Book Review
"Audacious, exhilarating . . . wonderful. The book's middle section might be the most gripping 200 pages in recent Canadian fiction. It also stands up against some of Martel's more obvious influences: Edgar Allen Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, the novels of H. G. Wells, certain stretches of Moby Dick."--Quill & Quire
When his ship sinks, a teen emigrating with his family from India to North America finds himself alone in a lifeboat — his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.
About the Author
Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 of Canadian parents. After studying philosophy at university, he worked at odd jobs—tree-planter, dishwasher, security guard—and traveled widely before turning to writing at the age of twenty-six. He is the author of a collection of short stories; three novels, including the internationally acclaimed 2002 Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, which spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and Beatrice and Virgil; and a collection of letters to the Prime Minister of Canada, What is Stephen Harper Reading? Yann Martel lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.