This year’s winner is:
- The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
And for those of you in the United States, Little, Brown just published the book today. I have had a copy for a while, but so far I haven’t been able to bring myself to read the large (848 pages) book, but I am looking forward to it. Over at the Booker forum I host (here), The Luminaries was the second-favorite, after Jim Crace’s Harvest (which I have read and did enjoy). Congratulations to Eleanor Catton!
Look forward to see your comments on “The Luminaries.” From what I’ve read there’s an awful lot of “telling.”
Not sure where I fall on the “show, don’t tell” argument.
There are writers who make great cases for “show, don’t tell.” Jhumpa Lahiri is one of them. On every page, while it appears she’s telling, her telling is working to EVOKE an emotional response in the reader. Mavis Gallant is also very skilled at this.
John Williams’ “Stoner,” almost the same thing. You can feel an ache as you read those first opening paragraphs.
Eleanor Catton’s, The Luminaries, is clearly making a case for “Telling.”
Just read an essay by Catton where she basically points out that “show, don’t tell,” is not exactly what she’s after anyway. She’s not necessarily after a visual experience, she’s also after an intellectual experience.
The bottom line is, with “Show, Don’t Tell,” when it’s done well, by the finest practitioners, you not only SEE something you FEEL something. And, yes, it can be done through exquisite exposition.
Catton’s book has left me very leery and I’ve only read the first 5 pages or so.
I think there’s plenty in what Dwayne has to say here: I was ‘surface impressed’ with the language employed by Catton (up to the point I bailed) but it’s simply not as impressive as the Crace book, which has all manner of icy undertones and troubling chiaroscuro etc. Ah well. Did The Luminaries remind them of Hilary Mantel possibly?
Dwayne, I almost brought up show-not-tell in the podcast we just did on Stoner. I’m definitely an advocate for knowing what that phrase means and knowing when to put it on the shelf. Good authors know when to tell plenty — indeed, the way they tell often shows quite a bit. Bad authors never get away from showing and metaphors and all that stuff that just clutters at times. I’m not sure where I’ll land with Catton’s book, but hopefully I’ll have an idea soon. At any rate, I’ll read it with this in mind.
Lee, KFC said something about the similarities of Booker winners over the past few years (not including the fact that two are part of one series). There is a trend to go long and Victorian in style.