Go to contents

Young Canadian-Kiwi writer wins British literature award

Young Canadian-Kiwi writer wins British literature award

Posted November. 23, 2013 08:05,   


Established in 1969, the Man Booker Prizes is considered the highest honor in literature in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The so-called "law of the Man Booker Prizes" – which has it that winning the prize increases book sales by at least 200 percent – has never been broken.

"The Luminaries" by Eleanor Catton, a 28-year-old female writer from New Zealand, has been named this year`s winner of the Man Booker Prize. The author has made Man Booker prize history twice -- the youngest winner for the longest novel (848 pages).

The story unfolds at Hokitika, a coastal village on New Zealand`s South Island at the height of its gold rush in 1860s. On a stormy night, Walter Moody from Scotland has escaped a shipwreck to arrive at a hotel in Hokitika. There, stumbles upon 12 men who were holding a secret meeting to discuss a millionaire who went missing at the hotel and a prostitute who attempted to commit suicide.

In each of the 12 chapters, each of the 12 suspects tells his own story. After reading all the pages, readers find that each chapter is organically interlinked with each other.

Robert Macfarlane, the chair of judges, described the book as a "dazzling work, luminous, vast." He said that despite the vast size of the book, it is "as tightly structured as an orrery." The judges selected the book as the winner because of its perfect structure faithful to the basics of novels.

Kirsty Gunn, a reporter at the British daily The Guardian, said in her review of the book: "Making us consider so carefully whether we want a story with emotion and heart or an intellectual idea about the novel in the disguise of historical fiction … There lies the real triumph of Catton`s remarkable book."

Other British papers including the Independent and the Telegraph also praised the book, commenting that it catapulted Catton to the level of great writers such as Julian Barnes and Margaret Atwood.