LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel
The first monthly book recommendation, made at the last meeting of Wychwood Circle by Ian Cave:
As the narrator in the book says, this is a story to help you believe in God. Like Yann Martel's other book "Beatrice and Virgil", this book can be read on two levels. The first and most obvious is that it's about a man in a lifeboat with a tiger. This is in itself a facinating story about animal behaviour. But the second is a story where the only animal is the tiger inside the man, that makes him do inhuman things to survive. At the end of the book, two insurance investigators conclude that either story accounts for all the observable facts about the shipwreck and the state of the lifeboat. Just as science and religion account for the world around us. So it's up to you to decide which view of the world you prefer to have.
Wikipedia's entry about the book is worth reading if you want to know more details of the story. Martel's other book, "Beatrice and Virgil", is very different and much, much more deeply disturbing. In many ways it's a book to help you believe in evil.
Life of Pi - Wikipedia
David adds: Also worth looking at, this very interesting interview with Yann Martel in 2005 by Jennie Renton. http://textualities.net/jennie-renton/yann-martel-interview/
It would be good to have other reactions and views on this. Click on "Comments" below and add your bit.