Length: 336 pages hardback 460 pages paperback
About: Survival of young man and tiger
Style: 1st and 3rd person
Where: India, canada and Pacific ocean
The story of Pi (short for Piscine), an unusual boy brought up on a zoo in India. Pi’s father decides to move the family to live in Canada and sell the animals to the great zoos of America. The
ship taking them across the Pacific sinks and Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orang-utan, a zebra with a broken leg and a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker.
I was at the Indian Coffee House, on Nehru Street. It’s one big room with green walls and a high ceiling. Fans whirl above you to keep the warm, humid air moving. The place is furnished to
capacity with identical square tables, each with its complement of four chairs. You sit where you can, with whoever is at a table. The coffee is good and they serve French toast. Conversation is easy
to come by. And so, a spry, bright-eyed elderly man with great shocks of pure white hair was talking to me. I confirmed to him that Canada was cold and that French was indeed spoken in parts of it
and that I liked India and so on and so forth—the usual light talk between friendly, curious Indians and foreign backpackers. He took in my line of work with a widening of the eyes and a nodding of
the head. It was time to go. I had my hand up, trying to catch my waiter’s eye to get the bill.
Then the elderly man said, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.”
Yann Martel's third work of fiction, Life of Pi, is a terrific book. It's fresh, original, smart, devious, and crammed with absorbing lore. But, that said, caveat emptor. Life of Pi is not just a
readable and engaging novel, it's a finely twisted length of yarn - yarn implying a far-fetched story you can't quite swallow whole, but can't dismiss outright.
Not so good:
There are times when Martel pushes the didactic agenda of his story too hard. One episode involving a bizarre ''Gandhian'' island of passively carnivorous seaweed -- populated by an enormous herd
of South African meerkats -- struck me as a little too baldly allegorical, however magical its imagery. But Martel is usually able to keep his feet on the ground by focusing on the physical and
logistical details of his hero's predicament.
The New York Times, Gary Kirst 7th July 2002 for full review click here
About the author
Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963. He is also the author of, Self (1996), and a short story collection. After studying philosophy at University, he worked at various odd jobs before making a
living as a writer from the age of twenty-seven The child of diplomats, he spent his childhood in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Alaska and Canada and as an adult has lived in Iran, Turkey and India. He
lives in Montreal