Back in its original, iconic livery, the dazzling, thought-provoking novel that won the Man Booker Prize and became an international phenomenon.
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wide, wild Pacific. The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, one zebra (with broken leg), an orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy.
As the 'crew' begin to assert their natural places in the food chain, Pi's fear mounts, and he must use all his wit and daring to develop an understanding with his fellow survivors.
Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, an astonishing work of imagination that will delight and stun readers in equal measures. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God.
Winner 2002 Man Booker Prize
About the Author
Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 of Canadian parents. After studying philosophy at university, he travelled and worked at odds jobs before turning to writing. In addition to Life of Pi, he is the author of the novels Self and Beatrice and Virgil, the stories The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, and the collection of letters to the Prime Minister of Canada, What is Stephen Harper Reading? Yann Martel lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.
The premise of this novel is so bold that only an immensely confident and imaginative writer would try to pull it off. A 16-year-old boy is emigrating with his family from India to Canada when their ship sinks and he is cast away on a lifeboat, the sole survivor. Or at least, not quite. Pi's father runs a zoo in India, and when they emigrate, they have to take some of the animals with them so they can be re-housed in a Canadian zoo. Although Pi is the only human survivor of the shipwreck, some of the animals survive: a zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger with the unlikely name of Richard Parker. At least two-thirds of this 300-page book tell the story of Pi's seven-month ordeal on a lifeboat with no human company. For any writer, producing a novel that has very little interaction between human beings, and, for large chunks, no dialogue, is a fairly considerable challenge. Instead, we learn all about Pi and how his strong survival instinct sees him through the ordeal. This involves a combination of practical skills that help him find food and water (although a practising Hindu and vegetarian, he has to eat raw fish), mental cunning that enables him to tame the tiger (the other animals don't last very long); and spiritual strength (he is, oddly, a devotee of Islam and Christianity as well as Hinduism) that gives him the will to live. The amazing thing is that it works. Although the story is utterly implausible, Martel has clearly done huge amounts of research that make it convincing, at least on a literary level. Pi himself is a likeable character - a young boy who is mature enough to devise a sophisticated survival strategy and recount his ordeal with humour. It is, he says, the tiger who saves him. By the end he regards Richard Parker as a friend - but the feeling isn't mutual. 'I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. The pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.' This book is quite an accomplishment. For anyone weary of semi-autobiographical novels, this is one that springs entirely from an author's fertile imagination. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 348
Published: September 2003
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 13.2 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.26
Edition Number: 1