Magazine article New Internationalist

Life of Pi: By Yann Martel

Magazine article New Internationalist

Life of Pi: By Yann Martel

Article excerpt

(Canongate ISBN 1 84195 245 1)

Publishers often claim that a book will `change your life'. Canongate have higher aspirations for Yann Martel's second novel. It will, they claim, make you believe in God. Hyperbole aside, this is an astonishingly original novel.

The eponymous Pi is a 16-year-old boy whose father runs a zoo in Pondicherry, India. His pondering on the behaviour of the animals leads him to develop a strong religious zeal and he decides to become a practising Muslim, Hindu and Christian - greatly disconcerting the authorities of these faiths.

Following political instability, Pi's father decides to sell the zoo and emigrate to Canada. The ship carrying the family and the animals sinks in mid-Pacific and Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with a female orang-utan, a hyena, a zebra and Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger. …

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