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After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy. The scene is set for a most extraordinary piece of literary fiction.
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Yann Martel's imaginative and unforgettable Life of Pi is a magical reading experience, an endless blue expanse of storytelling about adventure, survival, and ultimately, faith. The precocious son of a zookeeper, 16-year-old Pi Patel is raised in Pondicherry, India, where he tries on various faiths for size, attracting "religions the way a dog attracts fleas." Planning a move to Canada, his father packs up the family and their menagerie and they hitch a ride on an enormous freighter. After a harrowing shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a 26-foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker ("His head was the size and color of the lifebuoy, with teeth"). It sounds like a colorful setup, but these wild beasts don't burst into song as if co-starring in an anthropomorphized Disney feature. After much gore and infighting, Pi and Richard Parker remain the boat's sole passengers, drifting for 227 days through shark-infested waters while fighting hunger, the elements, and an overactive imagination. In rich, hallucinatory passages, Pi recounts the harrowing journey as the days blur together, elegantly cataloging the endless passage of time and his struggles to survive: "It is pointless to say that this or that night was the worst of my life. I have so many bad nights to choose from that I've made none the champion." At one point in his journey, Pi recounts, "My greatest wish--other than salvation--was to have a book. A long book with a never-ending story. One that I could read again and again, with new eyes and fresh understanding each time." It's safe to say that the fabulous, fablelike Life of Pi is such a book.
First published in 2002, Martel's breathtaking breakout novel became an international bestseller and went on to win the Man Booker Prize, and was also named Amazon.com's Best Book of 2002. In 2005, after an international competition, Croatian artist Tomislav Torjanac was selected to illustrate a special edition of Life of Pi that features 40 stunning illustrations that present a new perspective on this modern classic. --Brad Thomas Parsons
Tomislav Torjanac's Artist Statement
"I quite deliberately dressed wild animals in tame costumes of my imagination."
"Only when they threw me overboard did I begin to have doubts..."
"And what a thump it was."
"I threw the mako towards the stern."
A boy. A tiger. And the vast Pacific Ocean.
This is a novel of such rare and wondrous storytelling that it may, as one character claims, make you believe in God.
Can a reader ask for anything more?
This is a book that has been read, treasured, and shared by millions of readers. It is a book that, since its publication just ten years ago, has been translated into forty-one languages and is sold inforty-five countries. It has been compared to Robinson Crusoe and Aesop s fables, the work of Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, and Joseph Conrad. It is an adventure and a survival story, a proof of life and faith, a challenge to our sense of the possible, the universal, and the miraculous. It is, in fact, a modern classic.
Open these pages and slip into a wondrous world, despite being almost entirely confined to a lifeboat, wholly expands our understanding of ourselves, the world, and the joys and responsibilities of our place in it.
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