Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2013
Canadian Governor General's Literary Award, 2013.
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 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore h ...more
4096 is 2 to the power of 12 and there are 12 chapters.
As Mark comments, the structure…moreIn the court case, the value of the gold is exactly 4096 pounds.
4096 is 2 to the power of 12 and there are 12 chapters.
As Mark comments, the structure is a gimmick but one which creates a sense of urgency especially when you approach the end of the book. As each chapter halves in length, it gives the impression that the story is advancing more quickly. (less)
More lists with this book...
I reviewed The Luminaries for We Love This Book; here I’ll simply attempt to explain why I gave such an accomplished book only 3 stars. It’s just the sort of book I should have given 5 stars: my MA is in Victorian Lit., Charles Dickens is a favorite author, and I adore historical fiction, particularly Victorian pastiche: Possession, The Crimson Petal and the White and English Passengers.
And yet The Luminaries didn’t grab me. It has all the elements of a pi ...more
I am a foolish reader who, like many, take on a booker short-list, or a booker winner, and expect it to wow me. And it did, and it didn't. I have an unsophisticated mind.
To any reader who reads books as an art critic views a great master, they will read and hear the subtleties of the writer's mind as they structure their work, layer upon layer, until a masterpiece is drawn. They will see and know the influences that formed the concept and guided the writer's pen in its construction. ...more
1. There's a trend among reviews of three stars or less on this book to say things like:
I’ll simply attempt to explain why I gave such an accomplished book only 3 stars. It’s just the sort of book I should have given 5 stars....
I am ashame ...more
4th Favorite Read of 2015
Wow just wow. This is a very long book and so I developed a quiz to see if you are a potential reader of this most amazing tome.
1. Did you love "The Alienist" by Caleb Carr?
2. Did you adore "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel?
3. Do you like your mysteries intelligent, complex and compelling?
4. Do you like stories with elements of the supernatural, murder, blackmail and intrigue?
5. Do you like your women wicked and your men wi ...more
This is ...more
An impressive literary feat – intricate, challenging, and singularly structured to mimic the waning moon – that will likely appeal to fans of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins or anyone in the mood for a demanding mystery of coincidence and collusion laced with corpses, prostitutes, and buried treasure.
Like Catton's previous near-masterpiece, The Rehearsal, this suffers from a rather misleading cover. The illustration, and the very title The Luminaries seem to allude to "a different world entirely... a world of drawing rooms, and calling cards, and gowns" (p.31) - not a mystery/ adventure involving gold prospectors, prostitutes, drug addiction and frontier-town bigwigs. One likely t ...more
― Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
There is certainly a lot to like about Eleanor's novel. Its structure is fascinatingly clever and reminds me a lot of the way Nabokov divided Ada, or Ardor. Part 1: 360 pgs, Part 2: 160 pgs, Part 3: 104 pgs, Part 4: 96 pgs, Part 5: 40 pages, Part 6: 26 pages, Part 7: 13 pages, Part 8: 10 pgs, Part 9: 6 pgs, Part 10: 6 pgs, Part 11: 4 pages, Part 12: 4 pages. Or looked at slightly differen ...more
A short word before I get into my review. I understand that this book just isn't for me. It's longlisted for the Booker, Goodreads reviewers generally love it, the author is a real up-and-comer... but it just didn't do it for me.
I think it may have been unfortunate that I read this book so quickly after reading another that really blew me away (Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates), so I kept comparing them (even if I ...more
"But it is also a massive shaggy dog story; a great empty bag; an enormous, wicked, gleeful cheat. For nothing in this enormous book, with its exotic a ...more
However The Luminaries is 832 pages of story in a hardback weighing 1.088kg (no I didn’t take out my kitchen weighing scales and weigh it because that would be weird……………….. *awkward si ...more
Maybe the fashion for the kind of book that would land you in the Accident and Emergency Department of your local hospital if you dropped it on your foot has to do with a reaction against our concentration-challenged age of swift soundbites, manic multi-tasking and permanent drip feed of tweets and messages that collude to reduce our ability to focus long and lovingly on one task to the level of a mosquito on speed. David Mitchell recently embraced modern technology by p ...more
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.-Macbeth, Act Five, Scene Five, William Shakespeare
Still loved this on rereading. The audio was excellent. God knows how the narrator managed to do so many varied accents so well. It is the time of the gold rush in New Zealand, the 1860s, where a rich and full cast are brought together in what ...more
Four years after reading Th ...more
i finished this book nearly a week ago now and have been struggling so hard with my thoughts on it. i didn't love it and i didn't dislike it, but there's something i just can't quite put my finger on here, that made the book feel kind of off for me. i had been anticipating this read so, so much, so i definitely feel disappointed. i don't think my expectations were sky-high and impossible though. i have not yet read catton's first novel, The Rehearsal, though i do o ...more
This is my speech for the launch of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries at Unity Books in Wellington, 3 August 2013. 'Fergus' is Fergus Barrowman, my husband, and Ellie's New Zealand Publisher. I was honoured that Ellie asked me to launch her novel.
Why I did not want to read this book initially:
1. This book won the Booker Prize in 2013. I know people specifically seek out award winning and nominated books, but I tend to be a little wary of such books. I know… I’m weird that way.
2. At 834 pages, this book is MASSIVE.
3. There’s this astrological and zodiac aspect to this book, which I didn’t think I would understand.
4. I didn’t own it, nor did I know anyone who had this book. I didn’t want to read such a huge book in the ebook format.
Set during the gold rush in New Zealand in 1865-1866, the story begins with Walter Moody, a prospector, arriving in Hokitika from Scotl ...more
Here's an 834 page novel that would have been much better if it had been cut to 250 pages. This book needed (and didn't get) a ruthless editor.
Ok, I get that this is supposed to be in the style of a nineteenth century novel, since it takes place in New Zealand in the 1860's.
But all this quaintness and repetition got on my nerves.
None of the nineteenth century novels I've read have been so redundant and long winded.
I've read that ...more
Show, don't tell.
Like come on, guys! To know this axiom is to have completed the third grade. And yet there are authors--acclaimed and published authors--who do not abide by it. Such is Eleanor Catton.
I didn't finish the book, but I'm hoping someone posts a spoilerish summary soon because in terms of plot and setting, the story is great. Any combination of these ideas--19th Century New Zealand Gold Rush Opium Murder Whore--is bound to be en ...more
"Some folks are dealt a bad hand. But you can't rely on another person's conscience to live the life you want to live. You make do with what you're given; you struggle on."
"For although a man is judged by his actions, by what he has said and done, a man judges himself ...more
|Retro Chapter Chi...: September 2019 The Luminaries: Parts 9 - 12||11||11||19 hours, 1 min ago|
|Play Book Tag: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton - 4 stars||4||14||Aug 31, 2019 08:09AM|
|Retro Chapter Chi...: July 2019 The Luminaries: Parts 1 - 4||37||22||Aug 18, 2019 04:35PM|
|Around the Year i...: The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton||6||91||Aug 03, 2019 01:55AM|
|Retro Chapter Chi...: Q3 Big Book (July-Sept) The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton||25||24||Jun 27, 2019 05:59PM|
|Retro Chapter Chi...: August 2019 The Luminaries: Parts 5 - 8||2||5||Jun 26, 2019 12:34PM|
|inglenook: READ ALONG // The Beginning - p. 106||3||8||Jul 21, 2018 09:41AM|