The novel begins with the author describing in an author’s note his travels to India, where he meets a man named Francis Adirubasamy in a coffeehouse in Pondicherry. His response to the author’s claim that he needs inspiration is “I have a story that will make you believe in God.” After which he refers the author to Piscine Patel in Toronto, who immediately begins to tell his own story, starting in Chapter 1.
As a teenager in Pondicherry, India, Pi Patel describes his family – himself, his parents, and his brother Ravi. He is constantly exploring new opportunities and learning many odd and exciting things. His father is the proprietor of the Pondicherry Zoo, where Pi learns much of the workings and raising of animals. Pi’s mother is an avid reader and introduces to him numerous literary works from which he learns the joys of numerous schools of thought. His school is filled with amazing teachers, one of whom, Mr. Kumar is an inspiration to Pi.
Deriving his full name (Piscine) from a world famous swimming pool in France, his parents are good friends with Francis Adirubasamy (from the author’s note), a world class swimmer who often goes on about the Piscine Molitor in Paris. He goes by Pi instead because his schoolmates make a big deal out of calling him “pissing” instead as it sounds similar. They all take to the name and from that point on, his name is no long Piscine but Pi.
Pi grew up a Hindu, but discovered the Catholic faith at age 14 from a priest by the name of Father Martin. He is soon baptized. He then meets Mr. Kumar, a Muslim of some standing and converts to Islam. Therefore, he openly practices all three religions avidly. When the three religious teachers meet up with his parents at the zoo, they demand that he choose a single religion, to which he announces he cannot. Throughout this section, Pi discusses numerous religious matters as well as his thoughts on culture and zoology.
At age 16, Pi’s father decides that Mrs. Gandhi’s (the leader...
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