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Eleanor Catton wins the Booker

(21 Posts)
FaddyPeony Thu 17-Oct-13 10:26:06

with The Luminaries. Anybody read it? I'll be going out to buy it along with all the other sheep smile

I know we all need to get over her age but I still can't get over it! It's just mind-boggling to have achieved what she has. Unlike other art forms where early-peaking creatives are common (music, ballet, mathematics...), many writers seem to need that bit of extra life experience and do better work as they get older. So this win makes Catton all the more unusual.

Anyway, looking forward to reading it.

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DancingLady Thu 17-Oct-13 13:18:39

Yes, have read it. Big investment in terms of time and attention - lots of threads to follow and large number of characters to keep track of! DH reading it for the past few weeks and is on p200 or something... smile

DuchessofMalfi Thu 17-Oct-13 17:44:50

I'm going to wait until it's out in paperback or it comes down in price on kindle.

Completely in awe of her talent and ability to win The Booker. What next for her?

But age of author has got me thinking and wondering who else was young, or younger than Eleanor Catton when they wrote their first novel.

hackmum Thu 17-Oct-13 19:41:55

Good question, Duchess. Am I right in thinking that Eleanor Catton was 22 when her first novel was published? I think Zadie Smith, Margaret Drabbled and Jeanette Winterson published their first novels at 24. Francoise Sagan was 16, of course.

I realise all those are women - there must be some male authors who published young too!

DuchessofMalfi Thu 17-Oct-13 21:36:30

I knew about Francoise Sagan. I loved Bonjour Tristesse. Very accomplished for such a young author.

The very youngest I can think of is Daisy Ashford (think that was her name) - The Young Visiters (she spelt it that way), who was 8 or 9 I believe.

spatchcock Fri 18-Oct-13 16:08:23

She's amazing. And yes, she was very young when she first came to attention (although solely in NZ). A hugely ambitious work for a writer of any age, by the sound of it. I look forward to reading it. Good on her.

murielspark Mon 21-Oct-13 10:25:01

Just to chip in, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in her teens.

Catton's obviously a very serious and talented writer, I'm pleased for her even though she makes me feel like a hopeless alcoholic failure

DuchessofMalfi Mon 21-Oct-13 14:38:28

Oh and apparently Donna Tartt started writing The Secret History when she was at University, taking her time after that to perfect it. So another one who started out young, with an incredible talent. And her latest novel The Goldfinch is being serialised on Radio 4 Book at Bedtime from tonight smile

FaddyPeony Mon 21-Oct-13 15:18:04

Yes it's hard not to feel dumb as hell in comparison isn't it Muriel! I suppose some people are just exceptional - Catton clearly is because it is just so unusual for writers to achieve such serious work at such a young age.

Of course her win is attracting the usual sniping begrudgery esp from the knuckle-dragging Guardian commenters. She must be weeping big hot tears into her pile of prize money grin

OP’s posts: |
mrsyattering Mon 21-Oct-13 15:36:16

For dh Christmas, from The Book People. I think they are still on offer for £30 for all 6.

mrsyattering Mon 21-Oct-13 15:38:24

That should say I just bought all 6 nominated books for dh for Christmas. The Book People had an offer, for all 6 for £30

maillotjaune Mon 21-Oct-13 22:11:42

I started reading it last night but it is VERY heavy!

hackmum Wed 23-Oct-13 09:45:13

Is that heavy as in physically heavy or heavy as in hardgoing?

I'd like to read it - I've sworn off long books for a while but when I get my strength back, the Catton book and the new Donna Tartt will be on my list. I see The Goldfinch had a terrible review from Julie Myerson in the Observer, which is an excellent reason to read it.

MurielTheActor Fri 25-Oct-13 10:41:07

Been reading it for a week and almost up to p300... I really liked what Eleanor Catton said about reading BIG books - 'Read up to the length of a regular novel and then see if you want to keep on reading.' Which is roughly where I am now. It is very involved but I will keep going. Her language is fantastic!

maillotjaune Fri 25-Oct-13 19:12:09

Oh no not heavy like that. Just...heavy!

I've had a long week at work and have only managed 15 minutes a day as I can't take it on the tube along with all the crap I have to carry but it's very readable.

Caitlin17 Sat 26-Oct-13 10:14:29

I have to say none of the short list looked appealing.

Noted re Julie Myerson review for The Goldfinch, as you say an excellent reason for buying it. I'm new to immanent but I assume you've done what an appalling woman Myseron is?

Caitlin17 Sat 26-Oct-13 10:15:56

Aargh, new to Mumsnet!

hackmum Sat 26-Oct-13 12:33:05

Caitlin17: "I assume you've done what an appalling woman Myseron is?"

Many times, Caitlin, many times smile

Your name reminds me that Caitlin Moran published her first novel at 15, and it's just been reissued.

Also, re Catton - a very odd comment from Susan Hill in today's Guardian:

Hill's reaction to Eleanor Catton winning the Man Booker for her 832-page novel The Luminaries was caustic: "Who, Catton? I couldn't even begin to read a book as long as that set in, of all places, New Zealand."

DuchessofMalfi Sat 26-Oct-13 12:49:22

Well Susan Hill's comment now makes me even more determined to read it smile Maybe she's forgotten what it's like to be young and talented. DH just read Dolly and was distinctly unimpressed grin

OneHolyCow Sat 26-Oct-13 13:04:18

Susan Hill's comment made me grin.. and her almost vain lack of introspection made me markedly uncurious about her work.

Anyway, I was surprised that Jim Crace did not win. It is such a wonderful book. Might give the Luminaries a try though, love big books but am already reading The Kills.. another nominated doorstopper.

maillotjaune Sat 26-Oct-13 16:14:25

I loved Harvest too - I can't say I was surprised it didn't win though as I'd only read that and The Testament of Mary from the shortlist before starting The Luminaries so no idea what the others are like.

Harvest was really so good though. Not long enough in fact.

Not sure if I'll feel like that at the end of 800+ pages, but actually I would have liked Wolf Hall to be a few hundred longer so it hadn't come to an end so we'll see.

I've never read any Susan Hill, but why on earth would it matter where a book is set? Certainly doesn't make me want to read any of her books.

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