Allegorical tale of survival following a shipwreck in which a boy, a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a Bengal tiger are the only survivors.
A little slow, detailed and seemingly wandering in the beginning, this story all comes together in a stunning tale of survival that keeps the reader hooked right up until the last chapter when you'll be flabbergasted by the brilliance of the writer. The best book I read this year!
One of my closest friends begged me to read this for the longest time. When I finally got a copy of it, I questioned his taste in fine literature. The first third of the book was incredibly boring, and it took me at least a month to get through it, and I'm one of those people who can finish a book in a day or two. I was going to give up, but he kept pushing me to finish, and I'm glad I did. Once it got interesting, I couldn't put it down. Something about trying to survive alone on the ocean doesn't have much appeal, but when you throw in a carniverous island that eats people, and an ending that makes you question if the story actually happened, it was an amazing book.
This book was excellent. My mom had been trying to get me to read it for months, but I had no time in college and then I had 5 or 6 books I had to read before I could start it. I'm very glad I finally read it, though. It's extremely well-written, and the story is about as interesting and absorbing as stories come. He's stuck on a 26-foot life raft with a tiger, after all. How much more suspenseful can it get?
My favorite quote from the novel is the message Pi puts in the glass bottle he finds in the ocean: "Am in lifeboat. Pi Patel my name. Have some food, some water, but Bengal tiger a serious problem. Any help very much appreciated. Thank you."
-- WARNING: POSSIBLE PLOT SPOILING FROM THIS POINT FORWARD --
Also, I personally believe he was stuck on a boat with a tiger, no matter if the last chapter gives you an alternate theory: Maybe the tiger was his dehydrated, half-starved, and very traumatized mind's way of coping with his hopeless situation, the extreme and occasionally gruesome things he had to do to survive, and the terror he witnessed at the hands of the other survivors, who ripped each other apart, literally, in pursuit of life. Of course, it's quite possible Pi doesn't even know which story is true himself - or that he knows perfectly well the tiger wasn't real, but wishes it were so he doesn't have to think about the much MORE terrible occurrences on the boat; however, much like Pi says in the end of the book, if I have to choose between the two stories, I choose the better one. The one with the animals.