Youth and heft triumphed at the Booker Prize on Tuesday, as 28-year-old New Zealand author Eleanor Catton won the fiction award for The Luminaries, an ambitious 832-page murder mystery set during a 19th-century gold rush.
The choice should give heart to young authors of oversized tales. Catton is the youngest writer and only the second New Zealander to win the prestigious award — and her epic novel is easily the longest Booker champion.
Travel writer Robert Macfarlane, who chaired the judging panel, called The Luminaries “dazzling” and “luminous.”
“It is vast without being sprawling,” he said.
“You begin it, feel you are lost, think you are in the clutches of a big, baggy monster … but soon realize you are in something as tightly structured as an orrery,” a device for measuring the planets.
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