Piscine is the narrator and protagonist, known as Pi. He is a small, slim man, with dark hair and eyes and an expressive face. He grew up in Pondicherry, but in his teens left for Canada with his family. He is deeply interested in religions, and considers himself a Hindu, Christian, and Muslim. At the University of Toronto he double-majors in Zoology and Religion.
Richard Parker is a three-year-old Bengal tiger who is Pi’s only companion at sea. He was captured as a cub with his mother, and ended up in the Pondicherry Zoo before it, and he, were sold.
The author is unnamed in the text, but throughout he includes descriptions of his interviews with Pi, and Pi as he is now in Canada.
Santosh is Pi's father. He ran a large hotel in Madras, before moving to Pondicherry to found and direct the Pondicherry Zoo. He has an intuitive understanding of his animals, and a great respect for them. He considers himself a modern, secular businessman, and so is surprised by Pi's religious pursuits. He dies in the sinking of the Tsimtsum.
Gita is Pi's mother, a normally calm and unruffled woman. She, like Pi, is a big reader, but unlike Pi takes no interest in religion. She dies in the sinking of the Tsimtsum.
Ravi is Pi's older brother. He is very different from Pi--popular, a talented athlete in all the right sports (he is captain of the cricket team), and a merciless teaser. He dies in the sinking of the Tsimtsum.
The Frenchman is another castaway, who meets Pi while rowing while they are both suffering from blindness. The Frenchman has decidedly carnivorous taste, and he tries to kill and eat Pi. He steps into Richard Parker's territory, however, and so is killed.
Orange Juice is an orangutan who survives the shipwreck to end up in the lifeboat with Pi. She is forlorn over the loss of her beloved son. She dies fairly early on in a fight with the hyena.
Satish Kumar (teacher)
Satish is Pi's biology teacher at Petit Seminarie, an active Communist, and a weird-looking man with a bald and pointy head. He is Pi's favorite teacher, and the first avowed atheist that Pi ever meets. A great fan of the zoo, he sees it as his temple.
Father Martin is the kind priest who Pi meets in Munnar. He serves as Pi's introduction to Christianity, telling him the story of Christ's death on the cross and explaining that it was all inspired by love.
Satish Kumar (baker)
Satish Kumar is a Muslim mystic and baker, with the same name as Pi's favorite biology teacher. Satish the baker teaches Pi about Islam. He is poor, but very kind and generous. He is so plain-looking that Pi does not always recognize him.
Francis is one of Pi's father's earliest business contacts, who became a good friend of the family. Pi calls him Mamaji. He is a former champion swimmer whose love for the sport never dies. He tries to teach this love of swimming to Pi's parents and Ravi, but Pi is the only one who he ever convinces. Francis is the one who introduces the author to Pi's story.
Auntie Rohini is an older sister of Pi's mother. She is of a more traditional mind than Gita Patel, and is the first to take Pi to a Hindu temple as a small baby.
Mr. Okamoto is a member of the Maritime Department in the Japanese Ministry of Transport. He goes to Mexico to interview Pi in hopes of discovering what happened to the Tsimtsum.
Mr. Chiba is Tomohiro Okamoto's junior colleague at the Maritime Department in the Japanese Ministry of Transport. He accompanies Mr. Okamoto to Mexico to interview Pi.
Meena is Pi's wife. She works as a pharmacist and is a second generation Canadian.
Nikhil is Pi's son. He plays baseball.
Usha is Pi's four-year-old daughter.
Auntieji is Pi's foster mother in Toronto. She is a Quebecoise.
Sitaram is Pi's favorite zookeeper. He is in charge of the orangutans.
Life of Pi Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Life of Pi is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Yann Martell had written two previous books before Life of Pi: Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios in 1993 and a novel about gender confusion called Self (1996). Martel felt he was stuck and decided to go to India to be inspired again...