[Book Review] Life of Pi, Novel by Yann Martel

Stars: 4 off 5 (1 star less because of some very gory scenes, you would do better to skip those pages!)

Life of Pi, book by Yann Martel - Book review

Life of Pi is Philosophical, zoological and adventurous with a pinch of spirituality(no one religion in particular).

If you like ‘Man vs Wild’ AND you like to read, this is a definitely your kind of book.

Set in the Pacific Ocean (most part of the book), a castaway after a shipwreck, Pi Patel (protagonist), finds himself in a lifeboat faced with a dilemma – live with a tiger and risk death or face loneliness!

The whole story is written as a narration by the protagonist, which almost makes one think of it as a true event. The book starts off by Pi explaining the the origin of his name, his school days, his father’s business(owning a zoo), and his accidental discovery and fascination with various religions. Inline with the family business and his religious experiments, he notes:

Zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.

One other brilliant line on religion and humanity:

People walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, “Business as usual.” But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.

After the shipwreck… and after many days he ends up with a Tiger in a lifeboat. The rest, and the main part, of the story is about how he manages to keep both himself and the Tiger alive through the 227-day ordeal. The book is captivating and if you stop turning pages, it would only be to read between the lines and ponder. There are lot of unfinished sub-stories/hallucinations in the middle and the ending leaves a reader baffled and gives a lot to debate about!

Wonderfully crafted lines are many. To point out a few from ‘Life of Pi’:

  • The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity—it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can.
  • And so, in that Greek letter(Π – Pi) that looks like a shack with a corrugated tin roof, in that elusive, irrational number with which scientists try to understand the universe, I found refuge.
  • You can find my notes here.


Do read it, and read it patiently, much is to be read between the lines!


P.S – Movie review of Life of Pi

Comments are closed.