With or Without the Tiger?
The first half of the interview is about Atwood novel The Handmaid’s Tale which, in her words, is “a blueprint of the kind of thing that human beings do when they’re put under a certain sort of pressure.”
“… A seaman’s yarn about getting lost in a life boat with a tiger and so on and so forth. And many strange and wonderful things happen to him until he pitches up on the shore of South America. Where upon, according to him, the tiger jumps off the boat and runs off into the woods. And he’s found starving on the shore, and he’s put in the hospital. And then these three Japanese insurance inspectors turn up to find out what happened to the boat that blew up at the beginning of the story.
Then he tells them this whole story. And they confer it among themselves and they say, “We think that maybe your story isn’t true. And that there was no tiger.” And you know he says, “Well that may be so, but tell me this, which story do you like better? The story with the tiger or the story without the tiger.” And the other men confer amongst themselves and they say, “Well actually we like the story with the tiger better.” And our narrator starts to cry and he says, “thank you.”