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‘Wonderful moments’ at the Oscars for Yann Martel

Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi.

Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

Almost certainly the sole Academy Awards attendee who spent the day after the ceremony returning home to Saskatoon, author Yann Martel stopped just long enough to exult in the "crazy, wonderful moments" of an evening that ended with four Oscars for the Ang Lee film made from his bestselling novel – "more Oscars than any other movie this year," Martel pointed out in an e-mail.

"I think the Oscars rewarded Life of Pi precisely where it deserved to be rewarded: for its beautiful cinematography, lovely score and assured direction," he said.

Although he had little involvement in writing the script for the film, Martel was the first person Lee mentioned during his speech accepting the award for best direction, thanking him for writing an "incredible, inspiring book." And the author arrived a winner, with the tie-in edition of his evergreen 2001 novel having sold 1.5 million copies since the film's release last fall.

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More than a decade after its publication, Life of Pi stands at No. 34 on Amazon's list of all bestselling books, No. 6 in literary fiction and No. 5 in genre fiction. Its British publisher, Cannongate, just announced that it has sold a geometrically resonant 3,141,593 copies of the book.

"I'm delighted that a book I wrote in an isolated state of wonder has gone so far and reached so many diverse people," Martel said. "The studio was very brave to do this movie – so international, so scattered in its parts – and I'm glad they've been rewarded for taking the risk."

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