Life of Pi, By Yann Martel

The wondrous story of a zookeeper's son from Pondicherry, in India, stranded at sea, half way through a shipwrecked voyage to Toronto with only a hungry Bengal Tiger for company, became a wondrous Man Booker Prize success story when it was first published in 2001.

Its appeal has endured, with a worldwide 'readalong' of the book next month and a moniker as a 'modern classic' to boot. The moniker, in this instance, is utterly deserved.

The central poly-religious figure of Pi is bewitching; the tale both nihilistic and naive, philosophical and playful, deeply moving while always treading the line clear of schmaltz.