Posted by: Milly | January 31, 2011

Point of Departure: Zoo Transportation: Lifeboat Destination: Unknown

     You are on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Your shipmates are: a female orangutan, a wounded zebra, a hyena, and a majestic Bengal tiger. Question: will you survive?

      Life of Pi is a thrilling tale of adventurous survival by Yann Martel. Pi Patel, the son of a zookeeper, ends up stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on his way to Canada. His family had decided to move there with their animals for a better living. With the animals and Pi’s family members, the ship sinks, leaving Pi on a lifeboat with an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Using the zoological knowledge acquired from his life in India, Pi struggles to prevent himself from starving, drowning, and being eaten by his shipmates.

     The book is separated into three individual parts. Part one is about Pi Patel’s past, and how his life was before the trip to Canada. Part two is the main part of the book, where Pi is abandoned in the Pacific Ocean, and part three is about what happens after his adventure. Each depicts a different characteristic in the protagonist.

     One interesting quality about this book is that despite the fact that interactions between people are sparse, the procession of the story is not monotonous. Pi’s narrative voice is humorous and attractive, and although some of the language is sophisticated, they are precise. Furthermore, several scenes include Pi’s recollections of his life at the zoo, so readers will not wear out from reading endlessly about Pi’s life at the boat.

     Another amusing quality is Pi’s knowledge and examination of animals. He has a unique opinion towards the so-called “confinement” of animals in a zoo cage, and observes what “being free” means for animals. The scene where Pi tames Richard Parker with only his knowledge and whistle is utterly amazing. Pi’s approach towards animals is new and thought-provoking for people who do not know the “insides” of the zoo.

     In 2002, the book won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Readers who have an interest towards animals or survival are highly recommended to read this intriguing book.



  1. This book seems interesting because it has three parts. I hate it when the story ends, but the good part of this book is that it still have a story after the climax. Maybe, I might read it. Maybe….

  2. I’ve read this book before but failed to understand the ending correctly, and this review motivated me to try again. It was a thrilling book, and I loved reading about the changes that Piscine Patel (Pi) went through, and his mentality.

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