Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Harvest Books, 336 pp., $14

Life of Pi by Yann Martel is a sensational tale of a boy, his religious beliefs and his zoo animals in a lifeboat. It is where Dr. Doolittle meets The Old Man and the Sea.

Nowhere in the world except in India will you find Mormons, Jesuits, Catholics, Evangelist Christians and Masons on the same street. Not to mention the Hindu gods here and there on various trees and street corners or charms. Thrown into the mix are the Communists.

This is where Pi Patel grew up. A country filled with diversity of beliefs. What’s more interesting, he lives in a former French colony in south India. His father, a hotel manager turned zoo owner. Pi believes in all Hinduism and Christianity, and he is also a devout Muslim. His beliefs will be tested greatly when his family embarks on their emigration to Canada. Did I mention on a Japanese ship with Taiwanese sailors and zoo animals as cargo?

When tragedy strikes, Pi is left with a hyena, a zebra, a female orangutan, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal Tiger on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific. Life is more than survival to the fittest now. It is a delightful read for both atheists and religious folk alike. It will question your very senses and your beliefs with one or two lessons about Jesus, Vishnu and zoology.

Adventure beckons!

– Shelly Delos (