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Students in the Library

Michael Schwartz Library

The Common Reading Experience 2013-2014

About Life of Pi

The Author holding his book
Author, Yann Martel, holds up a copy of Life of Pi.

Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.

— From the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Did you know?

  • The Life of Pi was turned down by at least 5 London publishers before it was accepted by Knopf Canada.
    Read "Top publishers rejected Booker winner," an article by Fiachra Gibbons published in The Guardian, 10/23/02 to find out more.
  • President Barack Obama wrote a 2-page note to Life of Pi author, Yann Martel, which included the following:
    "My daughter and I just finished reading Life of Pi together. Both of us agreed we prefer the story with animals. It is a lovely book -- an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling. Thank you."
    Find out more about President Obama's letter.
  • The Life of Pi was inspired by a book entitled Max and the Cats written by Moacyr Scliar in 1981, which was about a Jewish-German refugee who crossed the Atlantic Ocean while sharing his boat with a jaguar. Read "Tiger in a Lifeboat, Panther in a Lifeboat: A Furor Over a Novel," an article by Larry Rohter published in the New York Times, 11/06/02 to find out more.
  • The name for the tiger in Life of Pi, Richard Parker, was taken, in part, from an account of a cabin boy named Richard Parker who was left adrift in a dinghy with three other shipmates after their vessel, the Mignonette, sank in the south Atlantic in 1884. Having no food and desparate, the captain killed Richard Parker, who was unconscious, and the three survived by eating him.
    Read more.