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Life of Pi

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LIFE OF PI By Yann Martel

Life of Pi is the most imaginative book I have read in years. It is the story of a young boy named Pi Patel who is raised as the son of a zookeeper in India. In his early life he claims his nickname in a most precocious and entertaining way, and he dabbles in various religions. He wants to worship God, and he wants to do it in not one, but every church in his hometown of Pondicherry. He goes to the Christian church, the Hindu church and the Muslim church. He loves his prayer rug and his Bible, much to everyone’s but his own displeasure. Pi states, “I know zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.”

One day Pi’s father decides to move the family, along with some of the animals, to Canada. They hitch a ride on a freighter and that’s where this already interesting book gets really good. The ship goes down and Pi finds himself on a 26-foot lifeboat with an injured zebra, a spotted hyena and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. (There’s a story behind that name too.) The tale of Pi’s survival with Richard Parker for more than 200 days at sea is fantastic, like a parable. It is a story that stays with you long after you’ve finished it, the metaphors bouncing around in your head, coming up unexpectedly in conversation.

I have found myself recommending this book to people who I would normally think would never enjoy the tale of a boy at sea with a Bengal tiger. There’s something magical and curiously compelling about Life of Pi. On the New York Times Bestseller list for months, and now on the paperback bestseller list for 5 weeks, Yann Martel’s unforgettable second book is Life of Pi. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I’m Amanda Dickson.

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