Castaway With Karma

There are certain unbreakable laws to the survival story. Take an unlikely character, pluck him out of the anesthetized womb of daily life and toss him into a harsh environment. Test his physical endurance through hardship and privation, his will to live through isolation. And if at all possible, throw in a full-grown royal Bengal tiger.

Yann Martel's inspired novel Life of Pi is at its core a record of survival—and quite a record it is. Martel's protagonist, a 16-year-old Indian boy named Pi Patel, not only endures 227 days in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but...

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