Life of Pi

Life of Pi

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The Author Character Analysis

A fictional Canadian author who resembles Yann Martel, the novel’s real author. Like Martel, the “author” has also published two books and was inspired to write Pi’s story while traveling in India. The author tracks down Pi and interviews him, and interrupts the narrative with “Author’s Notes” explaining his sources and describing his interactions with the adult Pi.

The Author Quotes in Life of Pi

The Life of Pi quotes below are all either spoken by The Author or refer to The Author. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Survival Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harcourt edition of Life of Pi published in 2001.
Author’s Note Quotes

He took in my line of work with a widening of the eyes and a nodding of the head. It was time to go. I had my hand up, trying to catch my waiter’s eye to get the bill.
Then the elderly man said, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.”

Related Characters: The Author (speaker), Francis Adirubasamy (speaker), Francis Adirubasamy
Page Number: x
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the "author"--a stand-in for Yann Martel himself--meets with a man named Francis, who claims that he's heard a story that will convince the author that God exists. As we'll later see, Francis's story isn't actually about Francis at all--he's heard it from Mr. Pi Patel, whom we'll meet later on. Furthermore, the story is only indirectly about God, and isn't what you'd expect from such an introduction. In short, the wondrous story we're about to hear has been filtered through several different storytellers, making us wonder how accurate it is in the form in which we're hearing it, as any one of the storytellers along the way could have exaggerated or distorted it. (But this also brings up the idea of storytelling and relative "truth," a central theme of the novel.)

The passage is also important because it brings up themes of spirituality and faith. Martel doesn't endorse any particular religion, but his novel is intensely religious, asking readers to suspend their disbelief and embrace the truth of a fantastic story that probably isn't "true" on a literal level, but that certainly achieves a kind of truth on a spiritual or aesthetic level.

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The Author Character Timeline in Life of Pi

The timeline below shows where the character The Author appears in Life of Pi. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Author’s Note
Storytelling Theme Icon
...Martel himself, but it is actually part of the novel told by a fictional Canadian author. The author says that he had published two earlier books which were ignored, and he... (full context)
Storytelling Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
The Portugal book quickly lost momentum and sputtered out. The author felt desperate and depressed, wondering what to do with his life next. He left Bombay... (full context)
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
In a local coffee house, the author met an old man named Francis Adirubasamy. Mr. Adirubasamy offered to tell the author a... (full context)
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Mr. Patel showed the author old newspaper clippings about the events of the story, and also let him read his... (full context)
Chapter 2
Storytelling Theme Icon
The narrative switches to the author’s point of view, and he describes the adult Pi as a small, gray-haired, middle-aged man.... (full context)
Chapter 6
Survival Theme Icon
The author interrupts again to say that the adult Pi is an excellent cook, and he makes... (full context)
Chapter 12
Storytelling Theme Icon
The author interrupts again to explain how the adult Pi’s tales are still interrupted by his own... (full context)
Chapter 21
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The author sits in a café after talking with the adult Pi, and he thinks about their... (full context)
Chapter 30
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The author interrupts again to describe his meeting with Pi’s wife, Meena. The author had been meeting... (full context)
Chapter 33
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The author describes Pi showing him old family photos. There are pictures of Pi’s wedding and his... (full context)
Chapter 36
Storytelling Theme Icon
The author returns again. On one of his visits he meets Pi’s two children, Nikhil and Usha.... (full context)
Chapter 94
Storytelling Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
...land. Pi says that things should conclude properly, and as an aside he asks the author to tell his tale in exactly one hundred chapters. Pi says that the one thing... (full context)
Chapter 95
Storytelling Theme Icon
The author returns to describe the nature of the next section. It is a transcript of a... (full context)
Storytelling Theme Icon
...sleep for forty-one hours. They then interviewed Pi in English and taped the conversation. The author has since received a copy of this tape and Mr. Okamoto’s final report. (full context)
Chapter 100
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
The author then gives Okamoto’s report of the interview. Okamoto says that the Tsimtsum possibly sank because... (full context)