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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Booker winner: Your views
Yann Martel
Martel has had fantastic reviews
Yann Martel has won the 50,000 Booker Prize with his surreal fantasy Life of Pi.

Only one judge wavered over Martel's novel, but what you do think about the tale of a shipwrecked boy and a tiger?

This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

I really wanted Sarah Waters to win the Booker, but feel sure that I'll also be first in line when Life of Pi is published in paperback. One thing that does puzzle me is why the judges made such a stand against the type of books sent to them by publishers in the belief that they were Booker material, only to award the prize to "Pi", the most obviously Booker book on the shortlist. I'd love to hear the reason for the final decision.
KJ Elsdon, Spain

I enjoyed the Booker on TV last night and shall look forward to reading Martel's book, although I preferred Tim Winton's from what I have heard so far. How long it will take me to forget the presenter Kirsty Wark's off-putting croaky voice, I don't know!
Liz Barnes, UK

I'd heard good things about this story earlier this year, and was intrigued by the nature of the story and the claim that by the end of the story, "you will believe in God."

I thought the story was really well written, with a nice measure of description, reflection and theory, and the prose was a pleasure to read. The middle section, when Pi has to try and overcome his fear of the situation and press his authority upon Richard Parker was especially good, but the last few chapters, where Pi lands on the floating island of vegetation, were a bit...daft!

The book's conclusion was quite a nice touch, and by the time I finished, I felt like I knew Pi as if he were a friend.

On the whole, this book is excellent: Clever, thoughtful, beautifully written and a story that I've spent four months recommending to people.

Well done, Yann!
Phil Ellis, England


I loved this book - it took me a couple of attempts to get into but I'm really glad that I stuck with it

Linzi Jones, England
"This book will make you believe in god!" said one of the reviews I read, and being a complete atheist, I bought the book. And unless I missed the point of this book completely...what??!! I enjoyed this book for what it was...a good story, and not much else.
Duncan, UK

I admit that Life of Pi is a fantastic book, however it pales in comparison to possibly a few books that were written by people who live outside of the "Booker-zone." (e.g. Americans).

I also find it laughable that the chair of this year's Booker panel said that the award would become "blandly generic as opposed to specifically British" if expanded to include America.

Anti-Americanism is always the best way to go. One never has to explain his or her opinion.
Jay, Philadelphia, USA

I loved this book - it took me a couple of attempts to get into but I'm really glad that I stuck with it. I didn't feel the ending was a dream as one of the judges suggested!!! It is a beautiful story of love, life and tragedy and the fine line between each.
Linzi Jones, England


The book is unpretentious and readable which sets it apart from many previous winners of this award

Pete Wilde, England
Rubbish arty farty nonsense and yes, I have read it. Why are mainstream books and authors excluded from such awards? Surely it couldn't be because we, the general public, aren't intelligent enough to pick the winner? Let's face it, all the nominated books in such awards are generally heavy going rubbish of interest to the author and a few Guardian readers.
Marc B, England

Yann Martel truely deserves to win this prize for Life of Pi. This book would even make the most secular of us think that there just may be something more out there on a spiritrual level than we allow ourselves to believe. On a lighter note it is simply a great read - very entertaining.
Chris Coleman, Manchester, England

Usual dire Booker award. As in the past the best book is overlooked. Judges got it wrong again.
Peter Gieler, UK

I loved this book! Life of Pi is a realistic, rousing adventure and a tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling. The story of the boy, the tiger and the lifeboat makes you question your own spirituality, or lack of it. There is joy on the lifeboat - as well as horror, and gore, and "tense, breathless boredom". The book is unpretentious and readable which sets it apart from many previous winners of this award. Enjoy it!
Pete Wilde, England


How Martel's novel could possibly have won over Sarah Waters' Fingersmith is unbelievable

Jane M Tardif, USA
Congratulations to Yann Martel on his win. I loved Life of Pi and have read it three times since buying it some months ago. It is a different book each time. For me it was the purest writing, a fabulous use of imagination, witty, surreal and deeply personal. I doubt I will read anything like it again. Brave choice of Booker prize. I have been sceptical in the past about certain winners but Martel really deserved it. Congratulations also to the publishers, Canongate, who continue to publish exceptional books with verve, charm and intelligence.
A Musgrave, Scotland

Fresh, exciting, funny, brilliant, wonderful read.
Stephanie Anderson, Japan

How Martel's novel could possibly have won over Sarah Waters' Fingersmith is unbelievable. I admit I did not read Martel's novel, but his tale can't even come close to the engaging and wonderful read of Fingersmith. It does make me wonder whether the criteria the Booker Prize once prided itself upon is now just something of the past.
Jane M. Tardif, United States

Martel, Waters, Winton, Trevor, Mistry, Shields. Is this REALLY the best the literary world has to offer? I think not!
Andy, Doncaster, England

Martel's novel was a fantastic story with a refreshing original play upon the whole situation. Equally, though for different reasons, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters was also an equally gripping book. I had the fortune to read a manuscript of a new book called From the Brink by Tom Hansen, an Australian living in England. Look out Booker Prize, this book is absolutely incredible.
Jared Moses, England

I have to disagree with Mark B. As colleagues we constantly bicker at the quality of English literature. Mark is obviously not of sound mind as it is plain to see Martel's novel is a masterpiece produced from someone verging on literary genius.
Andy, England

The judges said they'd avoid the portentous, but this unconvincing book reeks of it. Most fables grow tiresome and unfocussed - though Animal Farm and Gulliver's Travels are wonderful exceptions. Sarah Waters should have won.
Paul, England

Coverage of the 2002 Booker Prize from BBC News Online and BBCi Arts


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