I have absolutely no idea where this book is going, but I'm loving the ride.
It's like a mash-up of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, with bits of Charles Palliser's The Quincunx thrown in for good measure, topped off with Sara Waters' Victorian romps.
It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute 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 ornate as the night sky. Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner.
Oh I can tell already that I'm going to love this. Catton has absolutely nailed that 19th century writing style.
I usually hate it when the book I'm reading is compared to either the latest blockbuster or a literary classic, because more often than not I end up rather underwhelmed. But The Luminaries is already reminding me of The Quincunx by Charls Palliser which I absolutely loved.