It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an... show more
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-20s, and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.
Publish date: August 1st 2013
Publisher: Granta Books
Pages no: 849
Edition language: English
, Book Club
, Adult Fiction
, Historical Fiction
, Literary Fiction
Let's start this review with something that's just housekeeping, not criticism. I read this book as part of a CanLit project. It won the (Canadian) Governor General's award, after all. But this is CanLit only by the most attenuated of courtesies; Catton may have been born in Canada, but she grew up ...
My god, I made it. Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize-winning first novel is not for the faint-hearted. It is long. And I mean long. It’s also historical fiction, which really isn’t my bag, but ten minutes in, I was hooked. It’s set in New Zealand in 1866 and follows a group of men in a small frontier go...
I am applying the 50-page test to this one: I'm on page 57 and ambivalent. On the positive side, there's very good writing, keen observation, and an interesting setting (New Zealand in 1866, during a gold rush). On the negative side, I'd managed to overlook that this is a mystery and a ghost story, ...
70. THE LUMINARIES, BY ELEANOR CATTONAnother recommendation by mysamwise! And I have to say, I liked this one much better... But we’ve already covered that. Onto this one!Synopsis: Walter Moody, recently almost destitute and at odds with his family, arrives upon the shores of New Zealand hoping to ...
When I turned the last page of the book, my first reaction was “whew’! It took me a long time to read this book. There were so many characters, and although the author carefully developed them, some were easier to remember than others. They were all related in some way, as each had some unusual conn...