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Life of Pi

Life of Pi is a novel by Canadian author Yann Martel. The title character, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores the issues of religion and spirituality from an early age, and decides he will becomes a follower of at least three major religions.

The novel's plot begins when Pi's father, a zookeeper, moves the family and a few animals by ship to Canada for a new start. The ship sinks, however, and Pi finds himself the sole survivor, lost at sea on a lifeboat. The last human survivor, anyway, for Pi soon finds out, to his terror, that he shares his 26-foot space with an orangutan, a hyena, and a tiger. What follows is a tale of survival in its rawest form, as Pi must deal with immediate human needs such as thirst, hunger, and shelter, all under the watchful eyes of a huge predator.

The book can justifiably be split into three parts, but as it is written with a certain fluid style, it works as a whole novel as well. The first part is a rumination on spirituality and Indian life through the eyes of a young boy. The second part (comprising most of the text) is a whimsical blend of detailed, realistic survival memoir and fantastic allegory in an almost medieval style. The end, in which Pi is rescued and the "reality" of his entire experience at sea is called into question, offers more insights into the twin thirst for survival and faith.

The Life of Pi won the prestigious Booker prize in 2002.