by Yann Martel
Takes a concept and runs with it, though so subtly that you don't think concept until you've finished the book and reflect on it. I felt a greater than usual urge to re-read this book. You learn something at the end of the book that makes it unusually compelling to reread immediately.
The structure of the novel is unique. The author introduces himself and the project of writing the book in a prologue, and before you realize it you are engrossed in several stories: the author's and the people about whom he writes. It works marvelously on many levels. The stories each have their own textures and nuances, though the tone is not lofty or abstruse, but human and readable.
I especially like the way Martel writes about animals. He doesn't anthropomorphize at all, but rather brings us into a more inimate understanding of them. I felt wiser about animals after reading this book.