Besides Life of Pi, Yann Martel is the author of a collection of short stories, The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, a novel, Self, and a forthcoming collection of letters to the Prime Minister of Canada, What is Stephen Harper Reading? Life of Pi is being adapted to the screen by Ang Lee. Yann Martel's next book will be out in 2010. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Named for a swimming pool in Paris the Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel begins this extraordinary tale as a teenager in India, where his father is a zoo keeper. Deciding to immigrate to Canada, his father sells off most of the zoo animals, electing to bring a few along with the family on their voyage to their new home. But after only a few days out at sea, their rickety vessel encounters a storm. After crew members toss Pi overboard into one of the lifeboats, the ship capsizes. Not long after, to his horror, Pi is joined by Richard Parker, an acquaintance who manages to hoist himself onto the lifeboat from the roiling sea. You would think anyone in Pi's dire straits would welcome the company, but Richard Parker happens to be a 450-pound Bengal tiger. It is hard to imagine a fate more desperate than Pi's: "I was alone and orphaned, in the middle of the Pacific, hanging on to an oar, an adult tiger in front of me, sharks beneath me, a storm raging about me." At first Pi plots to kill Richard Parker. Then he becomes convinced that the tiger's survival is absolutely essential to his own. In this harrowing yet inspiring tale, Martel demonstrates skills so well honed that the story appears to tell itself without drawing attention to the writing. This second novel by the Spanish-born, award-winning author of Self, who now lives in Canada, is highly recommended for all fiction as well as animal and adventure collections. Edward Cone, New York Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A fabulous romp through an imagination by turns ecstatic, cunning, despairing and resilient, this novel is an impressive achievement "a story that will make you believe in God," as one character says. The peripatetic Pi (n the much-taunted Piscine) Patel spends a beguiling boyhood in Pondicherry, India, as the son of a zookeeper. Growing up beside the wild beasts, Pi gathers an encyclopedic knowledge of the animal world. His curious mind also makes the leap from his native Hinduism to Christianity and Islam, all three of which he practices with joyous abandon. In his 16th year, Pi sets sail with his family and some of their menagerie to start a new life in Canada. Halfway to Midway Island, the ship sinks into the Pacific, leaving Pi stranded on a life raft with a hyena, an orangutan, an injured zebra and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. After the beast dispatches the others, Pi is left to survive for 227 days with his large feline companion on the 26-foot-long raft, using all his knowledge, wits and faith to keep himself alive. The scenes flow together effortlessly, and the sharp observations of the young narrator keep the tale brisk and engaging. Martel's potentially unbelievable plot line soon demolishes the reader's defenses, cleverly set up by events of young Pi's life that almost naturally lead to his biggest ordeal. This richly patterned work, Martel's second novel, won Canada's 2001 Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. In it, Martel displays the clever voice and tremendous storytelling skills of an emerging master. (June) FYI: Booksellers would be wise to advise readers to browse through Martel's introductory note. His captivating honesty about the genesis of his story is almost worth the price of the book itself. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Yann Martel is a vivid and entrancing story-teller. * * Sunday
Telegraph * *
An inventive, shocking and ultimately uplifting story. * * Daily Mail * *
In its subject and its style, this enormously lovable novel is suffused with wonder: a willed innocence that produces a fresh, sideways look at our habitual assumptions, about religious divisions, or zoos versus the wild, or the possibility of freedom. As Martel promises in his author's note, this is fiction probing the imaginative realm with scientific exactitude, twisting reality to 'bring out its essence' -- Justine Jordan * * Guardian * *
Yann Martel's third work of fiction, Life of Pi, is a terrific book. It's fresh, original, smart, devious, and crammed with absorbing lore. . . Life of Pi is not just a readable and engaging novel, it's a finely twisted length of yarn. . . 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 * * Sunday Times * *
Here is a writer with a talent as fabulous as the tale that he - and his Pi - have to tell. * * Spectator * *