Life of Pi
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Harvest Books (May 1, 2003)
Pi Patel, an East Indian youngster, has two loves—religions of the world and animals. The son of an owner of an Indian zoo, Pi grows up around the animals of the world. As times worsen in India, however, his father decides it is time to sell the animals and move to Canada. Some of the animals end up being shipped to their new zoos on the same ship as Pi and family are on. Mysteriously, the ship sinks and Pi finds himself on a large lifeboat. He is not alone. His companions are a zebra with a broken hind leg, a hyena, an orangutan and, unbelievably, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. The plot thickens.
Obviously, the carnivores soon attack the zebra and the orangutan and eventually, Pi is all-alone with the tiger, fearfully trying to make plans to keep from being eaten. This saga on the sea goes on for around nine months.
In what seems to be a simple little adventure story, however, the masterful author, Yann Martel, has woven a thread of the mysteries, mysticism, miracles, and embodiments that embody religions of the world throughout the story. Are the animals really on the boat, or has Pi substituted the humans who actually were there, with the animals. The reader will have to decide.
Review by H. Steven Robertson