Review: Life of Pi


Yann Martel (2001)

This is easily one of the most original and unique stories I have ever read. Like my favorite movies, I had absolutely no idea where it was going, what was going to happen next or how it would end. Pi, a zookeeper’s son, is emigrating from India to Canada with his family and their collection of zoo animals when the ship sinks. Pi is the only survivor, stranded in an inflatable life raft with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger. One by one, a survival of the fittest is played out until only Pi and the tiger remain.

I loved the author’s style and the construction of the story, as it bounced back and forth in time. Interspersed with the adventure at sea, Pi relates his childhood, when he learned the philosophy and skills that will give him a fighting chance against the tiger in his extreme situation. Rumor has it that the story will be made into a movie. While this could make for a thrilling and visually stunning film with the right director, it won’t be able to capture the evocative words and stirring phraseology of author Martel. Do yourself a favor and read the book first.

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