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Life Of Pi

This Canadian fantasy novel, written by Yann Martel, was rejected a reported five time by London publishing houses before finally Knopf Canada accepted it. It was published in September 2001 and went on to sell over ten million copies worldwide. The novel also one many notable awards, including the Man Booker Prize for Fiction  in 2002, the Boeke Prize of South Africa in 2003 and the Asian/Pacific American Award for literature in Best adult Fiction from 2001 to 2003. It was finally adapted for screen play in 2012 under the direction of Ang Lee and David Magee.

How it begins

The mane character, Pi, lived with his father in India as a child where they manage a zoo in Pondicherry. This affords them a moderately affluent lifestyle. Pi is also not his real name, it is a nickname that he gave to himself because children used to tease him about his real name, Piscine, which the kids turned into pissing. He was also raised as a Hindu but at the age of fourteen, he explored Christianity and Islam and decided to follow to teachings of all three, despite disapproval from his parents. Eventually, the family migrates to Canada after changes in government policies forced them to sell the zoo.

The ocean voyage

The Former Zoo owners now find themselves on a ship, the Tsimitsum, traveling to North America with all their animals. During their voyage, they encounter a storm that sinks the ship, leaving Pi stranded on a lifeboat with a Tiger, Richard Parker. Many things happened from this point on, including the death of another survivor at the jaws of the tiger. During the journey, Pi also becomes blind and they are marooned on a floating island made of algae. Eventually, he recovers and they set out to sea again, reaching the shores of Mexico after surviving two hundred and twenty-seven days adrift. Upon landfall, the tiger escapes into the forest, never to be seen again.

The story ends with an investigation by the authorities into the shipwreck. At first the officials don’t believe the rendition of the young boy, he then changes the characters in his story to humans instead of animals and gives the officials a choice of which is true. The officials decided to accept the story involving the animals as true and file their report based on this rendition. Not the typical happy ending of most films, but a beautiful story nonetheless.


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