Life of Pi

Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The narrato, Piscine Molitor " Pi " Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of pirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a yach in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Number of Pages
Original Title of the Book
Life of Pi
Publication Date
Published August 29th 2006 by Seal Books (first published September 11th 2001

Public Commentary

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Even if life is a story, we ave two basic choices: we can limit ourselves only to what we can know for sure- that is, to " dry, yeastless factuality "- or we can choose " the better story. " I suppose in Pi 's world the " better story " includes God, but he does n't kno this is the only meaningful possibility.

In fact, Pi calls atheists his " brothers and sisters of a different faith, " because, like Pi, atheists " go as far as the legs of reason will carry them- and then they leap. " Pi 's point, in my opinion, is that human experience always involves interpretation, that our knowledge is necessarily limited, that both religious belief and atheism require a leap of faith of one sor or another- after all, there 's so little we can know for sure.

Or, as Pi says in taking th shot at agnosticism: " To choose doubt as a hilosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. " In the beginnin, thoug, I did n't eve read this nove as an invitation to believe in God. nstead, I saw it as a mirror held up to the reader, a test to see what kind of worldview the reader holds.

hat is, as Pi himself says, since " it makes no factual difference to you and you ca n't rove the question either way, which story do you prefer?

God is hard to elieve, ask any believer. " So it 's always that a life of faith is easier, in Pi 's opinion, it 's that for him belief is ultimately more rewardin.

However, there are a number of clues throughout the nove that give the reader at least some reason to believe Pi 's story did have a tiger in it ( for exampl, the floating banana and the meerkat bones) .As such, Pi 's two stories could be een as an acknowledgement that both atheism and belief in God require some faith, and therefore it 's up to each of us to choose the way of life that makes us the happiest.

And that 's what makes Life of Pi such a challenge to the reader: Pi 's first story is fantastic, wonderful, but hard to understan.

Yet it 's not entirely plausible either, and it leaves no room for the meerkat bones or Pi 's " trusting sense of presence and ultimate purpose. " If the reader personally dismisses the tiger story out of hand, I suppose that 's th way of saying the reader, by nature, tends to elieve the more likely but less lovely story.

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It was n't until I looked up the book in English I realized the title was n't " Piss Life ".

I guess your romantic beliefs must die someday, and hat was the day for me.See, it 's easier to believe in the world and be optimistic about it, when you also kno that world capable of containing a boy and a tiger co-existing on a lifeboat for 7 months and surviving.

The truth is this book probably changed my life, not in any grand, extraordinary way.

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I feel I 'll apply it as a general rule) .I wanted to like his book more- I oved the cover and then there 's that little golden seal that keeps going psst, psst, you do n't et it- it 's waaaay deep, you missed the whole point.

I love Pi in the first 3rd, I infer the merits of Pi in the raft ( just not my thing), but pi in the last bit- ugh, ugh, ugh!

rated it

It is that, like Bohjalian and Byatt and all of the great Houdini ’ s of the literary world, in the first few moments of your journey – after you ’ ve appreciate the emotions, endured the moments of lov, yearned for the resolution of the characters ’ struggle – that you kno the book is not what you thought it was.

Or the agnostic who, in rying to stay true to his reasonable self, explains the mysteries of life and death in only scientific terms, lacking imagination to the nd, and, thu, missing the better story? There is no use in trying to maintai a brief synopsis for this ravishing tale of young boy from India left adrift in the Pacific in a lifeboat with a tiger who used to reside in his daughter ’ s zoo in Pondicherry.

As Pi says in his story “ Life on a lifeboat isn ’ t much of a life.

The simple tory with potentially life altering consequences for it ’ s readers.

But to understand this piece to be something indescribable, something godlike, is by far the greater leap of faith.Oh, but worth the leap, if the reader is like that atheist, willing to see better story.

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Here 's my review: It does n't matter whether what you tell people is truth or fiction, because there 's no such thing as truth, no real difference between antasy and reality, so you might as well go with the more interesting story.

But the officials from the ship company who tell Pi they do n't elieve his story are such hopelessly weak strawmen that the author pretty much forces you to ccept the " better story. " Pi, and, by extension, Martel, have no patience for the " dry, yeastless factuality " that the ship officials want, you see.

Never mind whether it 's closer to he truth -- it 's just too boring, and we need colorful stories to make our lives richer.

But there 's time and place for them, and the ship officials did n't expec a story -- they needed to understan what happened to their ship.

A story promises to make you believe in God. Yet with Martel 's insistence that a well-crafted story is just as ba as or even preferable to reality, he leaves us not believing in a god of any ind, but rather suggesting that we embrace the stories that religions have made up about their gods, regardless of those stories' relation to scientific knowledge, since the stories are so darn nice, comfy, warm, and fuzzy in comparison with real life.

So ultimately, Martel makes a case for why he thinks people SHOULD believe in God -- it 's a respite from harsh reality, we 're told, th way to hide from life rather than meet it head-on with all of its pains and struggles -- and that 's quite different from what he ostensibly set out to do.

It 's fine when you preten to curl up with ba book on a rainy day and get lost in story for a few minute, but it 's a lousy way to try to deal with real life.

Yet immobility is precisely where Pi places us, so that by the time he book turns, you 're stuck not knowing what to sa about what you 've just read.

Do you accept the original shipwreck story just because it 's more engrossing, even if it 's less believable?

Seems better than saying you might as well just accept the better story since it really makes no difference.

And it does n't make for a very good story.

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Maybe, being told a book is a winner of the Booker tends to hav mark against it from the start, unfortunately.I ’ m going to have to assume you have read tha nove, as if I don ’ t I won ’ t be able to say somethin about it at all.

I ha a little worrie when I found out that person the book is edicated to had also written a story about a woma in a boat with a wild cat and had considered suing for plagiarism.

Tha takes so long and is so incidental to the story and written in such a cutesy way that I began to pray the boat would sink, the tiger would get him … I would rather have accepted God smiting him at this point as a valid plotting point, especiall if ( or particularly because) it would make the story to an abrupt end.This is a book told as two possible stories of how thi young man survives for 227 days floating across the Pacific Ocean told in 100 chapters.

Thi was the other hing that I found annoying – much is made of the fact this story is explaine in 100 chapters – but I can ot feel any necessity for many of the chapters.

It was something that nnoyed me from early on in he book – that the chapters seemed far too arbitrary and pointing it out at the end just made me more irritated.

In fact, the one constant ( that ’ s a pun, by the way, you are meant to be laughing) in both stories in Pi. My interpretation is that the tiger is actually God. Angry, jealous, murderou, hard to appease, arbitrary and something that takes up lots of time when you have better things to do – sounds like God to me.The last little bit of thi ook has Pi asking which is he better story- the one with animals or the one he tells with people.

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But are they worth it? Click the link for my video review of the big bois in my life.The Written Review: The eginning is rough.It 's all like- Why do we keep going on and on about religion?

A book ill g to the tiger part when it choose to.

And then ... you get to the tiger part! Pi Patel 's life quickly shifts from one of religious philosophy and animal care ( at his family 's zoo) to one of great uncertainty.

Wrong.The ship is capsizing and it ooks like neither human nor animal will make it out alive.

According to Pi, either we are to believe the tiger adventure happened or it was the alternate version: cannibalism and watching his family die in the boat.

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© Nicole Waggonner