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Book Review--> Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Title and Author: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Print Length: 449 Pages
Publication Date: Canongate Books (May 9, 2002)
Language: English
Genre: Action & Adventure, Booker Prize Winner

Book Review:
Set in the picturesque city of Pondicherry, this is the story of Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a Tamil boy whose father runs a zoo and his family includes his mother and an elder brother. Pi is inquisitive and explores the issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. On a voyage to foreign lands, the ship he and his family are on sinks with only Pi surviving. The story describes Pi’s days on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean where he struggles to survive for 227 days with only a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker for company, after his ship is wrecked and his family lost.

First published in 2001, this is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel. The book won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2002 and sold more than ten million copies. It is interesting to note that this book was rejected by at least five publishers before it got selected for publishing. It won numerous awards apart from the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and was also adapted into an award winning movie in 2012. The book explores the man –animal relationship and also the tenacity of living beings to survive. Pi, a vegetarian is forced to eat all sorts of things and learn new things like fishing, storing water etc. to survive. The tiger is his only companion and Pi trains and keeps it safe despite the danger to his life from the tiger.

Yann Martel narrates the story in simple language with the help of short sentences to give more intimacy and genuineness to Pi’s struggles for survival where he journals his everyday activities. Pi doesn’t philosophize as he doesn’t have time to do so. All his efforts are aimed at surviving until he gets help or finds a hospitable land. Martel knows the urgency and demand of the situation and so he describes the events accordingly. The story is narrated to give the reader a feel of the troubles and struggles of a boy stuck on a lifeboat with no food and no support. The author succeeds in connecting the reader and making him feel the sadness, hopelessness and then the determination of the protagonist as he tries to find hospitable land. The plot is well developed and Martel has planned and executed all the events beautifully.

This is a book that I read after watching the movie and I was amazed at the fact that having watched the movie didn't lessen my interest in the book. This is the beauty of this book. It entertains and shocks the reader every time that he reads it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and could empathize with Pi. I was impressed by his strength and his determination to survive. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and could empathize with Pi. I was impressed by his strength and his determination to survive. 

“I was giving up. I would have given up - if a voice hadn't made itself heard in my heart. The voice said "I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen everyday. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.”   

The plot is beautifully executed and I loved the unconventional bond between Richard Parker and Pi. His remorse at not parting properly with Richard Parker and his confusion at the thought that Richard Parker could leave him so suddenly even after so much had happened to them together was touching and makes one wonder at the uncertainty of people's behavior in life. We can never guarantee that someone will behave the same way in a similar situation like we do in them. 

“It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.”   

“Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.”
Martel is able to hook the reader and he pulled me in the story where I could feel each and every event like it was happening to me. A great book that thrilled me as well as inspired me, I loved just about everything about the book and can read it any number of times. Filled with valuable lessons of life, great quotes and an inspiring adventure of a boy who braved all difficulties and came out a winner,  Life of Pi gets a well deserved 4 out of 5 from me. Go read this book. You will love it. :)

       “You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.”
Buy From:
Amazon.com: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Ebook
Amazon.in: Hardcover  | Paperback | Kindle Ebook
Flipkart.com: Paperback | EBook


  1. Can you believe it Nikita I have not yet read the book. Everytime I get this book,something or the other comes up. Your review makes me want to pick it up again. Thanks for this lovely review :)

    1. I can totally believe it Rubina.. I have faced a similar situation with The Shiva Trilogy and haven't read it till date inspite of having bought it long back..:) :)


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