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The Luminaries

A Novel
Catton, Eleanor (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Luminaries


Item Details

Arriving in New Zealand in 1866 to seek his fortune in the goldfields, Walter Moody finds himself drawn into a series of unsolved crimes and complex mysteries.
Authors: Catton, Eleanor, 1985-
Title: The luminaries
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown,, 2013
Edition: First United States edition
Characteristics: 834 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Eleanor Catton
Notes: "Originally published in Great Britain by Granta Books, August 2013."--Verso of title page
Summary: Arriving in New Zealand in 1866 to seek his fortune in the goldfields, Walter Moody finds himself drawn into a series of unsolved crimes and complex mysteries.
Awards & Distinctions: Man Booker Prize, 2013
ISBN: 9780316074315
0316074314
9780316074315
Branch Call Number: FICTION CATTON 2013
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Report This Apr 14, 2014
  • Smartjanitor rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I could not get excited about this. The opening was at once overwritten, stultifying, and lugubrious. Perhaps if I had taken a powerful stimulant I may have lasted longer. I felt so guilty about being somewhere between uninspired and repulsed about a book that had gotten such plaudits that I contacted my brother for solace. "Life is too short to read anything that doesn't grab you," he said, and gave me a list of books that turned out to be much better. I'm sorry. It's blah. I'd rather read Brideshead Revisited again--and am doing so.

Well recommended by some, panned by others. I'll try it.

Report This Apr 06, 2014
  • macierules rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Engages the mind with all the layered details, however, it fell flat for me on an emotional level.

Report This Mar 17, 2014
  • vickiz rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Although it is an immense novel - an initially but only briefly daunting 832 pages - The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is a book I'm keen to revisit. Not only is the storytelling utterly engrossing - again, initially but only briefly intimidating in its complexity - and the individual character development rich and intriguing, but all of that was so absorbing that I confess I paid little attention to the novel's meticulous construction. That is, it's built on a precise astrological framework, whereby the main characters represent signs of the zodiac or pairings of planetary bodies, and their respective stories and how they intersect (or do not) correspond to the movement of the heavens. I tried to stick with that for approximately the first quarter of the book, but then got swept into action, mystery and romance of the story, set in the latter half of the 1800s in New Zealand during that country's wild west goldrush era. By the halfway point, I was also so captivated by the well-rounded characters and their fascinating interactions and motivations that I was much more interested in their respective fates than Catton's estimable structural feats. I know that a return visit to this book will likely be an even more powerful experience, melding the compelling story more consciously with the literal and figurative constellation of characters.

I absolutely loved this book. Long though it is, it's a page-turner, and the characters are described by someone who really looks carefully at people, and can make you laugh too. Wonderful scene between the priest and the maori man, at the gravesite of their friend... so clever! After reading quite a few rather "shallow" books, I found this one rich and satisfying. I didn't follow the astrological connection, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment, though one day it would be great to have it explained.

Report This Feb 11, 2014
  • suikii rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

The worst book I have read in many years. Absolutely terrible. How does such a poorly written book get awards. Beyond me. Not worth my precious time. A complete DUD.

Report This Jan 27, 2014
  • tomeseattle rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I liked the book but it could have done with a bit of editing. I liked the complex plotting and the flashbacks and multi-points of view from each of the characters (which make up almost a whole view). I also liked the style and clever plotting and organization. But to me it took almost 75% of the book for the author to get to a point where she could start tying all the threads together. This was the point where the pace picked up and kept moving until near the end. This part of the book is quite well crafted. However, near the end of the book the chapter synopses that head each chapter now go from a few lines to almost a whole page in order to provide the context in which to deliver a few lines of dialogue. But at least it doesn't take as long to end the story as to begin it. As for loose ends, through providing sufficient clues for the reader to fill in the blanks, I think the author did very well in not having to spell out every side-mystery (who really did what).

Report This Jan 26, 2014
  • bluehydrangea rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Unexpectedly funny, and fun to read.

Report This Jan 19, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

And that was a marathon! Reading this was more like completing a challenge near the end rather than doing anything for fun but it was interesting. I can see why it won the Man Booker. If you take Charles Dickens, make him a modern twentysomething woman and move his local to 1860s New Zealand you have what the Luminaries is. It's very Dickensian to the point of I have the same frustrations with this as I do with early Dickens. The writing is really something. There's a passage near the beginning with the narrator delivering so much sass about one character's story - and the fact that they are giving you all the actually relevant bits - but good writing can only carry it so far. There are a lot of characters but not too much makes one stand out from the other so a lot of the hoping around becomes white noise. The astrology motif going on was also completely lost on me.

Report This Jan 16, 2014
  • jazpur rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Priceless!

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Eleanor Catton reads from 'The Luminaries'

Eleanor Catton reads from 'The Luminaries' ; winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize; PBS Newshour

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