Congratulations to Eleanor Catton on winning this year’s Man Booker Prize with her lengthy murder mystery novel The Luminaries, set during the gold rush in New Zealand. This is a double first, with Catton being the youngest ever recipient with the longest book ever to be awarded the prize. It was almost a triple record, since she is only the second New Zealander to win.
The longest book I have read this year is A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin, at 761 pages. It can sometimes be daunting, I find, to pick up a big book – you know it’s not going to be read in a day. But you can’t get a much better endorsement than beating 151 other novels to be the Man Booker Judges favourite, and no doubt many more people will be reading The Luminaries in the weeks to come. As the chair of the judges Robert Macfarlane points out:
“A lengthy book never poses a problem if it’s a great novel. The Luminaries is a novel you pan, as if for gold, and the returns are huge. Although those of us who didn’t read it on e-readers got a full body workout from the experience.”