Piscine Molitar Patel's family owns a zoo in India. When they decide to immigrate to Canada, they sell all the animals, book them all on a cargo ship, and head off to deliver them en route to their new home. The ship promptly sinks and Pi is left alone in a lifeboat with some of the surviving animals.
I didn't get it. I got that there's something about choosing to have faith. I got that there's something about each person following their own path to God. But that's all I got. I kept waiting for the blinding epiphany, flipping to the end, worried that there weren't many pages left for an epiphany to happen, and it just never happened. So many people have rated this highly that I know I'm showing my own ignorance, but there it is for all the world to see. I Didn't Understand Life Of Pi.
As for the surface story, without looking for any hidden meaning in anything--it wasn't my thing. A boy in a life boat, endlessly trying to survive is just boring for me. Even the animals didn't liven things up. I just didn't care. It was fiction that read like non-fiction, and that is not a compliment coming from me.
I'm so clueless about this that I don't even know who to recommend it to. I guess if you like stories about one person battling the elements you'll like this. If you're willing to work harder than me to understand some sort of allegory about faith and religion, you might like it too. But if your taste is consistently similar to mine, you should probably steer clear.
Amy's review at Ramblings of a Library Assistant.
It looks like Ang Lee will be directing a movie adaptation of the novel. It's expected to be released sometime in 2011.