Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

Rating PG

Pi Patel is the son of a zookeeper in India with a strong inclination towards the spiritual. He practices Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism equally and can't understand why his spritual advisors are less than pleased by that. When Pi is 16, his parents decide to shut down the zoo and leave the political clime in India in favor of Canada. With them on their trip are animals that are being transferred to other zoos. A few days into their journey, their ship sinks and Pi finds himself in a lifeboat, his only companions a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a Bengal tiger. Soon, the only survivors on the boat are Pi and the tiger. Pi must use all his instincts, his knowledge of animal behavior, and the lifeboat's meager supplies to survive his trip across the Pacfic Ocean.

This plot sounds odd, I admit, but it is phenomenally well-written and is a fascinating story. I was totally and completely drawn into the narrative and absolutely believed the story I was being told. This is a book with layer upon layer of meaning - a book club's dream, in fact. This is a story of survival and keep in mind that he is in a boat with wild animals so there is some violence. There is some human violence described towards the end of the book and some mild bad language.
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