Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Book blurb: After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one 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 zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan... and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary works of fiction in recent years.

I've heard great things about this book for years but the film version being made became an added incentive to get round to reading it (I promise not all the books I read are being made into films!), so here are my thoughts on it.

I have to admit that the beginning of the book didn't really capture my attention. The book begins with Piscine's life in India and how he came to be known as Pi. It describes life at the zoo where he lived with his family and also his decision to practise three religions all at once: Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The author also has a bit of a rant about it being better to be an atheist than agnostic, as by believing in nothing you believe something which I didn't really think was necessary to the story.

However, the story becomes a lot more interesting after the boat Pi was travelling on with his family has sunk. The descriptions of life at sea are fantastically vivid. My only criticism is that when Pi first realises his family may be dead I didn't feel any real emotional connection with the characters or their deaths. In other books, if a character dies I have been known to actually cry and it just didn't come anywhere close here.

The dynamics between Pi and the other animals on the boat were cleverly described and made me think about social dynamics and life in the animal world. I know I wouldn't survive if I ended up in a situation like this. I was completely engrossed in Pi's struggle for survival.

Reading back on this review it probably sounds like I didn't enjoy it that much, but it really is an excellent book. The story is really captivating and makes you question what you believe in terms of morals, ethics and religion. The imagination of the writer is impressive, as is his ability to almost make you believe it really happened. I can't wait to see it brought to life in the film!

Overall, I would give this book 8.5 out of 10.


  1. I had a tough time in the beginning too, but so happy I stuck it out. I ended up really liking this story, and I even re-read it again. Can't wait to see the movie adaptation.

    Found your blog through Goodreads. Welcome to the blogging world and hope you have a lot of fun. We are new followers. Check us out at http://www.bookluvrshaven.blogspot.ca/. We would love a follow back! :)

    Looking forward to your future posts.


    1. I'm sure I'll re-read it some day too. I saw the movie last week and it was really good, they stuck fairly closely to the book and it was beautiful to watch in 3D!

      Thank you! I'm definitely enjoying blogging so far. You're blog is amazing! New follower here :)


  2. I agree about the lack of emotions, Pi seemed to have distanced himself from the people in his past and even in retrospective he doesn't explain any of the emotional aspects of losing a family.


    1. Thanks for letting me know it isn't just me who felt that way! You're right, even in the modern part, he doesn't dwell much on his loss. He seems more upset about Richard Parker's actions.


Let me know what you think :)