Life of Pi

By Yann Martel
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151008117, 336pp.)

Publication Date: June 2002

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Mass Market Paperback, Paperback,

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Description

Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. 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 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?
Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.




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.




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. In his introductory note Yann Martel says, "This book was born as I was hungry." What sort of emotional nourishment might Life of Pi have fed to its author?  




Praise For Life of Pi

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


"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."
-Francie Lin

"Martel displays the clever voice and tremendous storytelling skills of an emerging master."
-Publishers Weekly

"Beautifully fantastical and spirited."
-Suzy Hansen

"If this century produces a classic work of survival literature, Martel is surely a contender."
-Charlotte Innes

"[Life of Pi] could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life."
-Gary Krist

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