The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behaviour and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.
The ship sinks an Pi finds himself in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450 pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea.
The year has started on a completely new note for our group. Life of Pi heralds in a new reading experience for most of us, one which found us compelled to read on, even if it meant a struggle to begin with.
Everyone found something in this book; humour, adventure, enlightenment and simple enjoyment in the story itself. Although hard pressed to explain why it was so, the group as a whole were glad they had read Pi. There was wide spread dismay at the end puzzle, and disappointment that Richard Parker may not have shared the raft with Pi after all.
This did however lead to a rewarding discussion on human and animal differences, religion and fiction and the whole concept of trauma and its consequences. And although no one felt they would revisit Pi in the near future, it was a satisfying leap into an unknown genre that has set us up for an exciting year of reading.