"Life of Pi is not just a readable and engaging novel, it's a finely twisted length of yarn— yarn implying a far-fetched story you can't quite swallow whole, but can't dismiss outright. Life of Pi is in this tradition—a story of uncertain veracity, made credible by the art of the yarn-spinner. Like its noteworthy ancestors, among which I take to be Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, the Ancient Mariner, Moby Dick and Pincher Martin, it's a tale of disaster at sea coupled with miraculous survival—a boys' adventure for grownups." —Margaret Atwood, The Sunday Times (London)
"A fabulous romp through an imagination by turns ecstatic, cunning, despairing and resilient, this novel is an impressive achievement. . . . Martel displays the clever voice and tremendous storytelling skills of an emerging master." —Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"[Life of Pi] has a buoyant, exotic, insistence reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe's most Gothic fiction. . . . Oddities
abound and the storytelling is first-rate. Yann Martel has written a novel full of grisly reality, outlandish plot, inventive setting and thought-provoking questions about the value and purpose of fiction."
—The Edmonton journal
"Martel's ceaselessly clever writing . . . [and] artful, occasionally hilarious, internal dialogue . . . make a fine argument for the divinity of good art." —The Gazette "Astounding and beautiful. . . . The book is a pleasure not only for the subtleties of its philosophy but also for its ingenious and surprising story. Martel is a confident, heartfelt artist, and his imagination is cared for in a writing style that is both unmistakable and marvelously reserved. The ending of Life of Pi... is a show of such sophisticated genius that I could scarcely keep my eyes in my head as I read it." —The Vancouver Sun "I guarantee that you will not be able to put this book down. It is a realistic, gripping story of survival at sea. [Martel's] imagination is powerful, his range enormous, his capacity for persuasion almost limitless. I predict that Yann Martel will develop into one of Canada's great writers." —The Hamilton Spectator
"Life of Pi is a marvelous feat of imagination and inquiry. Yann Martel has earned his stripes as a novelist of grand ideas and sports them here as surely as Richard Parker, the majestic Bengal tiger, wears his own black and orange skin." —The Ottawa X Press
Life of Pi
Life of Pi
This book was born as I was hungry. Let me explain. In the spring of 1996, my second book, a novel, came out in Canada. It didn’t fare well. Reviewers were puzzled, or damned it with faint praise. Then readers ignored it. Despite my best efforts at playing the clown or the trapeze artist, the media circus made no difference. The book did not move. Books lined the shelves of bookstores
like kids standing in a row to play baseball or soccer, and mine was the gangly, unathletic kid that no one wanted on their team. It vanished quickly and quietly. The fiasco did not affect me too much. I had already moved on to another story, a novel set in Portugal in 1939. Only I was feeling restless. And I had a little money. So I flew to Bombay. This is not so illogical if you realize three things: that a stint in India will beat the restlessness out of any living creature; that a little money can go a long way there; and that a novel set in Portugal in 1939 may have very little to do with Portugal in 1939. I had been to India before, in the north, for five months. On that first trip I had come to the subcontinent completely unprepared. Actually, I had a preparation of one word. When I told a friend who knew the country well of my travel plans, he said casually, “They speak a funny English in India. They like words like bamboozle.” I remembered his words as my plane started its descent towards Delhi, so the word bamboozle was my one preparation for the rich, noisy, functioning...