Tigers exist, lifeboats exist, oceans exist. Because the three have never come together in your narrow, limited experience, you refuse to believe that they might.
My brother gave me this book two Christmases ago. I was really excited about reading it from the git-go, but for some reason it took me this long to actually get around to it. Boy, am I glad that I did. This is the best novel that I have read so far this year.
The story is told from the perspective of the main character, Piscine Molitor Patel. After being saddled with the nickname Pissing Patel early in his schooling, he started referring to himself as Pi Patel, which caught on. His father runs a zoo in the Indian town of Pondicherry, which made for an interesting childhood for Pi and his older brother Ravi. In 1976, Mr. Patel decided that there was too much political turmoil in India and decided to move his wife and boys to Canada. Halfway across the Pacific, during a storm in the middle of the night, the ship sinks. Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with some of the zoo animals, including a 450 pound Bengal tiger.
As Martel recounts Pi's aimless floating in the Pacific Ocean, he touches on diverse subjects, such as religion, philosophy, and biology. Ultimately, this book is about the art of telling a story. Martel was able to make a completely implausible story believable. His excellent writing skills enabled him to take a story that could easily have been boring in someone else's hands and make it simply enthralling.
Read Brent's review of Life of Pi.