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Even The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook couldn’t propose so ingenious a solution to the dilemma of how to handle being stuck at sea for seven months in a lifeboat with a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. This improbable fate befalls 16-year-old Piscine (Pi) Monitor Patel, the deeply religious son of Pondicherry, India, zookeepers, after he loses his family to a shipwreck en route to Canada. Pi’s solution and only hope? He domesticates the beast using a combination of guile, bravado, and freshly caught fish. Life of Pi, Canadian novelist Yann Martel’s third book, is a riveting tale of adventure and survival in the Pacific, paced like an action thriller but with a metaphysical heart that makes it by turns sad, beautiful, and fierce. Martel reads at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Garance Franke-Ruta)