Life of Pi – Yann Martel

Life of Pi - Book review

Plot in 100 Words:

This story is an ever-bewildering tale of an Indian boy, Piscine, or better known as Pi. Due to a land dispute, he and his family are forced to flee and export their entire zoo to Canada, by ship. Tragically, the ship sinks after a ferocious storm, leaving Pi with a spotted Hyena, an injured Zebra, an Orangutan and a Bengal tiger, on a small lifeboat. Life of Pi speaks of Pi’s miraculous 227 days of survival and also articulates that sincere faith and love for God can allow us to overcome anything. The ending leaves the reader in deep thought.

Writing Style:

Martel has an extraordinary gift of describing details to utmost perfection. This is something that remains evident and profound throughout the novel, and this endowment is what implores the reader to go on.


This fictional work should be read by anyone willing to improve their language skills and more specifically their descriptive skills, or anyone whose looking for a perplexing book to devour.

My Favorite Part/Quote:

This is a scene where the protagonist of the novel comes face to face with the bengal tiger, Richard Parker. He describes the appearance of the 450 Pound animal.

“I wish I could describe what happened next, not as I saw it, which I might manage, but as I felt it. I beheld Richard Parker from the angle that showed him off to greatest effect: from the back, half-raised, with his head turned. The stance had something of a pose to it, as if it were an intentional, even affected, display of mighty art. And what art, what might. His presence was overwhelming, yet equally evident was the lithesome grace of it. He was incredibly muscular, yet his haunches were thin and his glossy coat hung loosely on his frame. His body, bright brownish orange streaked with black vertical stripes, was incomparably beautiful, matched with a tailor’s eye for harmony by his pure white chest and underside and the black rings of his long tail. His head was large and round, displaying formidable sideburns, a stylish goatee and some of the finest whiskers of the cat world, thick, long and white. Atop the head were small, expressive ears shaped like perfect arches. His carrot orange face had a broad bridge and a pink nose, and it was made up with brazen flair. Wavy dabs of black circled the face in a pattern that was striking yet subtle, for it brought less attention to itself than it did to the one part of the face left untouched by it, the bridge, whose rufous lustre shone nearly with a radiance. The patches of white above the eyes, on the cheeks and around the mouth came off as finishing touches worthy of a Kathakali dancer. The result was a face that looked like the wings of a butterfly and bore an expression vaguely old and Chinese. But when Richard Parker’s amber eyes met mine, the stare was intense, cold and unflinching, not flighty or friendly, and spoke of self-possession on the point of exploding with rage. His ears twitched and then swivelled right around. One of his lips began to rise and fall. The yellow canine thus coyly revealed was as long as my longest finger.

Every hair on me was standing up, shrieking with fear.”

This is another pick from the novel where Pi informs us about what the pacific looked like as he gazes down upon it.

“I heard a splash. I looked down at the water. I gasped. I thought I was alone. The stillness in the air, the glory of the light, the feeling of comparative safety-all had made me think so. There is commonly an element of silence and solitude to peace, isn’t there? It’s hard to imagine being at peace in a busy subway station, isn’t it? So what was all this commotion?

With just one glance I discovered that the sea is a city. Just below me, all around, unsuspected by me, were highways, boulevards, streets and roundabouts bustling with submarine traffic. In water that was dense, glassy and flecked by millions of lit-up specks of plankton, fish like trucks and buses and cars and bicycles and pedestrians were madly racing about, no doubt honking and hollering at each other. The predominant colour was green. At multiple depths, as far as I could see, there were evanescent trails of phosphorescent green bubbles, the wake of speeding fish. As soon as one trail faded, another appeared. These trails came from all directions and disappeared in all directions. They were like those time-exposure photographs you see of cities at night, with the long red streaks made by the tail lights of cars. Except that here the cars were driving above and under each other as if they were on interchanges that were stacked ten storeys high. And here the cars were of the craziest colours. The dorados-there must have been over fifty patrolling beneath the raft-showed off their bright gold, blue and green as they whisked by. Other fish that I could not identify were yellow, brown, silver, blue, red, pink, green, white, in all kinds of combinations, solid, streaked and speckled. Only the sharks stubbornly refused to be colourful. But whatever the size or colour of a vehicle, one thing was constant: the furious driving. There were many collisions-all involving fatalities, I’m afraid-and a number of cars spun wildly out of control and collided against barriers, bursting above the surface of the water and splashing down in showers of luminescence. I gazed upon this urban hurly-burly like someone observing a city from a hot-air balloon. It was a spectacle wondrous and awe-inspiring. This is surely what Tokyo must look like at rush hour.

I looked on until the lights went out in the city.”

Verdict: 6.0/10


*Cold Plays Paradise playing in the background*

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