Life of Pi by Yann Martel

77%

40 Critic Reviews

I could analyze this novel in so many different ways. No one can deny that this is an adventure novel. I am impressed with the wealth of information this novel has with respect to marine biology and survival. The author definitely did a great deal of research for this.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

MORE THAN SEVEN MILLION COPIES SOLD

The beloved and bestselling novel and winner of the Booker Prize, Life of Pi.

New York Times Bestseller * Los Angeles Times Bestseller * Washington Post Bestseller * San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller * Chicago Tribune Bestseller

"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound royal bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and beloved works of fiction in recent years.

Universally acclaimed upon publication, Life of Pi is a modern classic.

 

About Yann Martel

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Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963. After studying philosophy at university, he worked odd jobs and traveled before turning to writing at the age of twenty-six. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed 2002 Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, which was translated into thirty-eight languages and spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Yann Martel lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.
 
Published January 1, 2002 by Walker Canongate. 319 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Other, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon6
Peak Rank on Dec 09 2012
icon24
Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Life of Pi
All: 40 | Positive: 31 | Negative: 9

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

The story of his later life, education, and mission rounds out, but does not improve upon, the alternately suspenseful and whimsical account of Pi’s ordeal at sea—which offers the best reason for reading this otherwise preachy and somewhat redundant story of his Life.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Gary Krist on Jul 07 2002

He writes with a playful and discursive casualness, but that doesn't prevent him from delivering some arresting descriptions.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by mariakozhuhar on Jan 29 2013

Life of Pi is an emotional story written by Yann Martel, a Canadian novelist, in which he describes an unbelievable adventure of a teen boy...If you have the chance, make sure you read this novel, because it is a very original and beautiful story!

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Tim Adams on May 25 2002

Mostly, it dramatises and articulates the possibilities of storytelling, which for this writer is a kind of extremist high-wire act...Though this performance eventually becomes a bit tiresome, you cannot help but admire its showmanship.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Justine Jordan on May 24 2002

The realism that carried the reader in the erratic wake of the small boy and large tiger falters as they begin to waste away and die - and then the book gets seriously strange, with ghostly visitations and impossible islands, as though Martel wants not so much to test our credulity as entirely to annihilate it.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Justine Jordan on May 24 2002

...this enormously lovable novel is suffused with wonder...a fresh, sideways look at our habitual assumptions, about religious divisions, or zoos versus the wild, or the possibility of freedom.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Apr 08 2007

A fabulous romp through an imagination by turns ecstatic, cunning, despairing and resilient, this novel is an impressive achievement—"a story that will make you believe in God," as one character says.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Jeruen Dery on Nov 01 2011

I could analyze this novel in so many different ways. No one can deny that this is an adventure novel. I am impressed with the wealth of information this novel has with respect to marine biology and survival. The author definitely did a great deal of research for this.

Read Full Review of Life of Pi | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Jeruen Dery on Nov 01 2011

I am impressed with the wealth of information this novel has with respect to marine biology and survival. The author definitely did a great deal of research for this.

Read Full Review of Life of Pi | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Richard Marcus on Dec 11 2007

Yann Martel really did create a thing of beauty and a joy forever when he published this story, and I for one will always be grateful.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Tim on Aug 01 2006

No matter what I write here (even if I told you the whole plot) I know that the journey of the story is far more rewarding than the results of having read it. Mr. Martel is definitely a different chap; this story, however, I view it as a classic.

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Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Boxclocke on Jul 15 2006

Overall, it was a good read, but after four years of gently hyping it up in my own mind, I was a little disappointed – perhaps more than anything by the fact that the "kid, tiger, lifeboat" story was really anything but.

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Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Kevin on Mar 06 2003

If you are looking for something different and unique – something more than just your typical novel – The Life of Pi would be an excellent choice. If you are looking for spiritual insight and and/or an argument for faith in the form of a novel, however, I am afraid you will likely be disappointed.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Kristin Wilson on Aug 21 2011

Life of Pi is not overly religious or outwardly preachy; instead, the experiences of Pi create introspection into your own faith.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Julie Hale on Jun 30 2003

Martel won the Man Booker Prize in 2002 for this wonderfully original novel, which recounts the remarkable life of Pi Patel...Martel skillfully blends Pi's adventures of the mind and spirit with an unforgettable physical journey, making this a magical coming-of-age narrative.

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PopMatters

Excellent
Reviewed by Phoebe Kate Foster on Sep 04 2002

This book goes where few books have gone before, bravely embarking on a metaphysical trek that explores the deepest of life’s mysteries while remaining an exciting Ripley’s-Believe-It-Or-Not style saga of a shipwreck victim’s bizarre exigencies.

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Salon

Excellent
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen on Aug 01 2002

...Martel is so mesmerized by Pi that one can’t help but be enchanted too.

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BlogHer

Above average
Reviewed by leahmsilverman on Apr 03 2013

There were punctuations, though, that kept it interesting...then came the end, which actually left me feeling dissatisfied. I know I’m supposed to revel in the philosophy and comes to terms with the ambiguity of it by reaching my own conclusions. To that I say balderdash. I want to know the truth.

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London Review of Books

Above average
Reviewed by James Wood on Nov 14 2002

...although Pi certainly has a voice, the literary cost of his boyish naivety is that he is somewhat empty as a character.

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Spirituality & Practice

Good
Reviewed by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on Dec 27 2012

This ambitious novel is stuffed with ideas, interesting people, and exciting situations.

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Lit Reactor

Below average
Reviewed by Cath Murphy on Nov 21 2012

Silly is the word which came right into my head when I tried to sum up how I felt about this book. Silly. Not dangerous or inappropriate or misguided. Not boring or repetitive or irksome. Just silly.

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Arlington Library

Excellent
Reviewed by Chloe W on Jun 13 2014

Using strength of will and sharp reasoning skills, Pi fights to merely survive, but using his love of religion, a constant sense of wonder, and imagination, he fights to live.

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Seven Ponds

Above average
Reviewed by Hannah Harris on Aug 19 2013

With no real ways of escaping his current reality, he retreats into the corners of his mind. His imagination does not disappoint him, but in fact saves his life and his spirit, allowing him a means of finding and holding onto hope. Author Yann Martel speaks through him to address several of the most basic and universal human struggles...

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Den of Geek

Excellent
Reviewed by Robert Bernstein on Nov 20 2012

The Life of Pi is my favorite book for a reason. It is a thought provoking and wildly creative story of survival at sea. While the novel is a great story on its own and without any further analysis, Martel created a fantastically written story that plays with timeless life lessons in theology, man versus fear, and survival.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Lexi C., Golden on May 15 2015

The Life of Pi is a fictional memoir packed with information about religion and the struggles of being stranded in the ocean, however it can be uninteresting and repetitive at times...Overall, The Life of Pi is an adventurous tale...enlightens its readers about different religions and what it takes to survive at sea.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Molly W. on Jun 13 2014

The novel uses symbolism to communicate with people and escape the first impressions of animals and each other that humans have.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Alison R. on Jun 12 2014

I really enjoyed Life of Pi. I especially liked Pi’s point of view and how the book began when he was already an adult.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by jackiee on Dec 27 2012

I strongly recommend Life of Pi for any reader who's looking for adventure, devotion, and a chance to feel truly humbled.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Rashmi Pluscec on Jul 19 2013

The rich imagery is of course best showcased in the narrative of Pi's days and months in the middle of the ocean. From the first time he finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with three animals, to the horrific sequence of events between the hyena and the zebra...the imagery is so very powerful.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Anderson Laatsch on Apr 20 2009

I have read a lot of books, and to mark one as my favorite is to hold it up as reason and justification for all that reading. Life of Pi may not come immediately to mind when someone asks me to name my favorite book, but every time I read it, it becomes my favorite of the moment.

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Lit and Life

Above average
Reviewed by Lisa on Jan 13 2014

Into this story, Mantel manages to weave amazing beauty, horrific brutality, and, unbelievably, humor. The book is slow to build and, at times, very hard to read...but it has stunning plot twists and marvelously thought provoking. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book and by how much it made me think about religion...

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Pretty Books

Good
Reviewed by prettybooks on Mar 14 2013

Life of Pi is known for its iconic cover, depicting a boy, a boat, and a tiger, but there is a lot more to get out of it. It’s well worth the read, if only to see what everyone else is talking about!

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Quill & Quire

Below average
Reviewed by Nathan Whitlock

Yann Martel has written a wonderful second novel, but one that is marooned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in the middle of Life of Pi.

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From Left to Write

Good
Reviewed by Thien-Kim on Feb 22 2013

I absolutely loved the novel and immediately reached on on Twitter to talk to someone about the book. If you haven’t read it, I won’t divulge too much of the novel. I can understand why it’s received such critical acclaim and won awards.

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Reviews of Books

Good
Reviewed by W. R. Greer on Jun 14 2014

Yann Martel will dazzle you with his prose and his mastery of arcane facts, and challenges you to believe his story. You will be left with a better understanding of animals, including man, and much to ponder and question. Life of Pi is a delicious treat to savor.

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Ripple Effects

Good
on Sep 04 2012

Martel’s allegory is at times humorous, at times poetic and poignant, and throughout, engaging storytelling with heart and soul.

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Paper Plates

Below average
Reviewed by Caryn on Aug 27 2012

Unfortunately, my preconceived notion of what waited for me between these pages caused the novel to fall flat for me. Although I can clearly see that this story is both unique and skillfully woven, I read it at the wrong time, in the wrong mental place.

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Shmoop

Good
on Jun 13 2013

his book has adventure by the bucket-load...Life of Pi is so much more than a mere adventure story. Yann Martel also addresses some of the most important questions of our age...

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http://www.theargus.ca

Good
Reviewed by Kylie Burchat on Nov 20 2012

...the theological aspect of the book is well done, especially when you look at the underlying theme of it. Depending on which story you believe in, the novel makes it so that religious believers, agnostics, and atheists can fall into three different bins.

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Booker Marks

Good
Reviewed by Jackie on Jul 22 2012

Martel has a gift when it comes to the art of description. Thanks to his prose, you will see radiant sunsets at sea, will feel nourishment when edible algae is discovered, and will experience the discomfort of saltwater on your skin. There wasn’t a scene that lacked detail.

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Reader Rating for Life of Pi
83%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 9295 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Liam Spears 3 Apr 2013

Rated the book as 3 out of 5

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Ginanjar Teguh Iman 26 Jun 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Michael Manley 19 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Anastasia Lebedev 13 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Veronica 4 May 2015

Rated the book as 2.5 out of 5

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