Chicks On Lit discussion

The Luminaries
This topic is about The Luminaries
Archive 08-19 GR Discussions > "The Luminaries" with reading schedule, 2015 Chunky Read

Comments Showing 1-50 of 87 (87 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Here is the reading schedule for our next Chunky Group read, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Plan to start reading by February 22nd. Read through the first third of Part 1, A Sphere Within a Sphere. Read through the section titled "Mars in Sagittarious". Stop at "Saturn in Libra" (which is page 117 in the hardcover edition)

March 1st: discuss the first third of Part 1, and read the second third of Part 2, through "Sun in Capricorn". Stop at "Medium Coeli" (which is page 239 in the hardcover edition)

March 8th: discuss the second third of Part 1; and read through the end of Part 1 (Page 360 in the hardcover edition)

March 15: Discuss the end of Part 1; read the first half of Part 2, through "Saturn in Libra". Stop at "Mars in Capricorn" (page 437 of the hardcover)

March 22: Discuss the first half of Part 2; read the second half of Part 2 (to page 519 hardcover)

March 29: Discuss Part 2; Read Part 3 in its entirety, (to page 624 hardcover)

April 5: Discuss Part 3; Read Part 4 in its entirety (to page 719 hardcover)

April 12: Discuss Part 4; read the end of the book (Parts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12) (which ends on page 834 hardcover)

April 19th: Discuss the entire book.

If you have a different edition of this book, page numbers may not match. If you have any questions or confusion with this schedule, please let me know. :-)


message 2: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Our discussion co-leaders will be Meg and Irene. Who will be joining us on this one? :-)

message 3: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Thank you for putting the reading schedule together. Of course I am in. This will be while moving to Texas, nothing like multi-tasking!

message 4: by Maureen (new) - added it

Maureen (meg9000) | 84 comments I'm in -- looking forward to it!

Kama (Okama) Why is that always so long time to read it? :( Definitely too long.

message 6: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Hi Kama,
The long read time is because this book is over 800 pages long. Out "Chunky Read" discussions are always spread out over a longer time like this, because most people cannot read a huge book like this in just a few weeks. So we try to keep our reading of these books at about 100 pages a week.

If you want to join in on a quicker read, our regular monthly reads are always completed quicker, as they are shorter books that ladies can read more quickly. :-)

message 7: by Kama (last edited Jan 21, 2015 01:51PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kama (Okama) I have an access to The Luminaries in original (booked a book in library, there is a queue). I already read another language version for Outlander, and some points of discussion were beyond me (all about language). So despite reading the same book, I could hardly take part in discussion.

I checked the availability of the nominations - English language unavailable. Light between oceans, unavailable.

The Luminaries would be ideal (I'll read it anyway), but by the time it's read by the group it will be 2 months for me after finishing it. It's great if you all people can buy books, but what about those damn foreigners who have to use library?

Please, you serious? How come a regular (or even less) length book (200 pages) is impossible to read in a week? It's not a science book. Plenty of people can pull 52 books a year, and I don't even want to think about those doing multiplying. Somehow, between taking care of children and work, they can find the time to read even 2-3 books a week. Somehow they don't need 3 months to read a book, even if it's long.

message 8: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
I'm sorry that our reading schedules do not work for you, Kama. This is the speed though that we have found works best for the majority of our participating members. Some ladies have a hard time even keeping up at 100 pages a week, as we are often reading multiple other books of our own in addition to reading the group reads here.

If you have a book that you would like to read and discuss more quickly, you are welcome to post a new thread in the "Buddy Reads" Section listing the book or books you are interested in reading and discussing, and asking if there is another member that would like to read and discuss it on your schedule. Doing 'buddy reads' might work better for you, and would allow you to suggest the books easily available to you at your library.

Irene | 4085 comments Sheila, Thanks for putting the reading schedule together.

message 10: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
You are very welcome, Irene and Meg! :-)

Colleen I'm going to try and get in on this. Maybe I'll stick to the schedule, or maybe it will get read faster or slower and participate to the schedule. Time will tell. The point is just to read!

message 12: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
We are happy you are going to try to join us Colleen! And absolutely, some will read faster, some will read slower, some will be able to stick to the schedule, but the point is to just read and enjoy and have fun joining in on the discussion!

message 13: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Sounds great. Great group!!

message 14: by Anna (new) - added it

Anna | 124 comments I would love to join in with this one please.

message 15: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments We would love to have you Anna

message 16: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments About the Author (from Amazon)

Eleanor Catton was awarded the 2013 Man Booker Prize for The Luminaries. Her first novel, The Rehearsal, won the 2009 Betty Trask Award and the Adam Prize in Creative Writing, and was long-listed for the Orange Prize and short-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and an MA in fiction writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Born in Canada, Catton was raised in New Zealand, where she now lives.

message 17: by Abby (new)

Abby | 119 comments I'll be there, though probably not on schedule. Looking forward to this one!

message 18: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Just checking, everyone have the book and ready to read?

I started, into Chapter 4 and it is good!
Happy reading everyone

message 19: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Welcome Abby!

message 20: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
I've started, and am finding it very interesting. I have a feeling this is going to be a very "involved" story, with lots of people and plots and sub-plots!

Colleen I just got it out from the library and I'm ready to start today. This will be fun using the discussion group to get through it as it is a big book and looks like it has a lot going on in it. Looking forward to reading with you all!

Chelsea | 23 comments Colleen - I am with you! This novel is on my 2015 Reading List Challenge, and I am so glad this group will be reading at the same time as I am - I look forward to all of your discussions.

message 23: by Maureen (new) - added it

Maureen (meg9000) | 84 comments I've started reading also, and it is engaging and different. Has a totally different feel to it than most books I read. Hope it continues to capture my interest.

message 24: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments I have also started. I agree with you Sheila and I am finding it an interesting, easy read.

Colleen I'm almost finished with the first section - (p. 91) = only 11% through! Ugh, won't let it intimidate me too much, but know that I will keep chugging along to keep interested. Pretty absorbing and detailed story so far. I think the writing is excellent, but it is a lot! It will probably take a bit to really get to the meat of the story. Not quite sure what the astrological references are for unless it's based on what's happening in the story. I do like the intros to each chapter, helps a lot with the plot line.

message 26: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Colleen, I agree about the intros to each chapter. They help a lot with the plot line, which is very involved at this early point! I'm still trying to sort everyone and everything out that is happening in just this first section!

message 27: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments What chapter are we reading through for March 1 my device is only doing chapters. It is hard to read electronically!

I think the book is well written so far. I see a lot of plots and subplots forming and making lots of predictions.

message 28: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Do you have chapter numbers or names, Meg? My book doesn't have chapter numbers. We are stopping at the beginning of "Saturn in Libra".

message 29: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments There are no names at all just chapter numbers. I will try to do some research

message 30: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Colleen wrote: "Not quite sure what the astrological references are for unless it's based on what's happening in the story."

I was just searching online for chapter names vs numbers for this book, and found this interesting bit of info that explains the astrological chapter titles:

Each of the twelve men who comprise the council in the first chapter of the book is associated with one of the twelve zodiac signs. The title of a chapter in which one of these men plays a major role is likely to contain that man's sign. The associations are as follows:

Te Rau Tauwhare (a greenstone hunter): Aries
Charlie Frost (a banker): Taurus
Benjamin Lowenthal (a newspaperman): Gemini
Edgar Clinch (an hotelier): Cancer
Dick Mannering (a goldfields magnate): Leo
Quee Long (a goldsmith): Virgo
Harald Nilssen (a commission merchant): Libra
Joseph Pritchard (a chemist): Scorpio
Thomas Balfour (a shipping agent): Sagittarius
Aubert Gascoigne (a justice's clerk): Capricorn
Sook Yongsheng (a hatter): Aquarius
Cowell Devlin (a chaplain): Pisces

The conventional characteristics associated with each sign serve as a skeleton upon which Catton builds to create full-fledged characters.[5] Te Rau Tauwhare is the only name on the list based on a real person; all others are fictional.[6]

Another set of characters is associated with heavenly bodies within the solar system.

Walter Moody: Mercury
Lydia (Wells) Carver née Greenway: Venus
Francis Carver: Mars
Alistair Lauderback: Jupiter
George Shepard: Saturn
Anna Wetherell: The Sun/The Moon
Emery Staines: The Moon/The Sun

message 31: by Chelsea (last edited Feb 27, 2015 03:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chelsea | 23 comments Sheila - That's great information!

I found this in a review (unfortunately, it was one that had spoilers, so I won't post the link):
"The use of the star chart to shape the plotting is a nifty trick—in the right light it scans as a feat of synthetic naturalism. But in the midst of the sloggy parts, wondering why Capricorn and Venus need to have this entre nous, the plot-by-astrology can feel gimmicky. The Luminaries is a great bit of craft, by any standard, oversaturated with literary invention. At points, all that invention can stagger under its own weight. The richness will be its own reward for some readers, while others will toss Catton’s tome to the side. Even chucking the book will produce a resonant thud.

This duality—simultaneous success and failure—is a higher irony of The Luminaries, which announces itself from the very beginning as concerned with “the Age of Pisces, an age of mirrors, tenacity, instinct, twinship, and hidden things.” The book is at once brilliant and suffocating—though the brilliance outweighs the airlessness. The accolades showered on The Luminaries can be debated, but there is no denying that it’s a substantial achievement. This is a remarkable performance for a writer still shy of age thirty, neither haute-pulp nor didactic, a novel with a satisfying, bardic roundness. The Luminaries amazes, frustrates, bores, and comes very close to a triumph. You have to admire Catton’s ingenuity, even when you can’t keep up with it."

Colleen Haha that about sums it up. Glad most people seem to be enjoying it. I'll need to keep reading so I don't lose the characters or the storyline but will keep to the online discussion. Are there any particular questions to discuss so far?

message 33: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments That is great information Sheila, thank you I will be referring to that a lot I am sure. Colleen feel free to post questions along with the rest of us!

message 34: by Colleen (last edited Feb 28, 2015 05:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Colleen There certainly seems to be quite the mystery brewing. The character descriptions are quite intriguing and detailed. What do you make of these (mostly) men and their secrets? Who do you like the most/least so far?

OK - I'm really into Anna's story right now. We haven't been invited into her private thoughts yet, like the others.

message 35: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Good questions Colleen. So far I like Moody the best. I think he is shocked about the men he is meeting and is desperately trying to remain a private person but that is not working too well. I think he is going to be part of the murders and mysterious gold without knowing that he is part of it.

A lot of side plots are developing which is making the story that much more interesting. I am enjoying the writing style and the movement of the story

message 36: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments One of the reviews of this book states that the men do not really stand out in this book. As we read let us keep this in mind and in some of our discussion. So far, do you agree with this statement?

message 37: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
So far for me, none of the men are really standing out. So many men have been introduced in just this first section, and there is so much story and side story going on.

message 38: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments So is the many subplots off putting or does it make you want to read?

Colleen I think the subplots can be hard for some people, but overall I feel if you can get through them and somewhat keep them all straight in memory it does get easier and more interesting. Personally, I am fascinated with all the weavings she is doing, but I'm already in it 300 pages. If I stopped, I would lose it all, lol.

It's also interesting that the main suspects are not part of the actual main plot, and more alluded to. Moody does note this later. They are somewhat secret, I suppose so the reader can play a bit of the detective as well. Hope everyone is enjoying their reading time!

Irene | 4085 comments I finally finished the assigned portion for this week's discussion. I like Tauwhare and Devlin best so far. I am struggling to keep all the characters and back stories straight. I like the writing style. There is just enough old fashioned phrasing to convey the feel of the mid 19th century.

message 41: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Meg wrote: "So is the many subplots off putting or does it make you want to read?"

I am struggling with this one a bit. It could be because I am reading this along with several other books, but I am finding it hard to keep everyone straight, and sometimes I am having a hard time even knowing if someone is telling a story about something that happened, or if we are actually viewing something happening in real time.

message 42: by Meg (last edited Mar 05, 2015 08:16PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Salon Magazine:

From the first five pages of “The Luminaries,” it’s evident that Catton’s model is the Victorian “sensation novel,” in which middle-class characters were suddenly confronted with alarming, inexplicable and uncanny events whose true causes and (usually scandalous) nature are gradually revealed in the course of the story. The best-known examples of these are “The Woman in White” and “The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins, and it’s safe to say that if you are one of Collins’ avid modern-day fans, you’ll be in clover with “The Luminaries.” But if Collins’ novels are rich in reversals and twists, Catton’s is a veritable Gothic cathedral of plot, so complex and intricate that most readers will find themselves doubling back to make sure they’ve got it all straight. “The Luminaries” might have been written with the sole intention of disproving the canard that literary fiction is short on old-fashioned storytelling. There’s enough plot here to fill four novels.

But that’s not all. The underlying structure of “The Luminaries” is astronomically determined. Each of the novel’s parts, which become systematically shorter as you go along, is preceded by a chart indicating which planet was in which of the 12 houses of the zodiac (corresponding to each of the 12 men in the smoking room) on the story’s key dates. You could probably drive yourself crazy trying to decode all this on the first read-through, as some overmatched readers certainly seem to have done. There will surely be buffs who will devote themselves to mapping the elaborate system of astronomical correspondences shaping the novel, but that’s not really required to enjoy it.

All you need to take from Catton’s conceit is the idea that the story itself is driven not by individual characters and their wills but by the ever-changing relationships and combinations among them. You think you’ve got a handle on the nature of its mysteries, then the earth shifts on its axis, the perspective changes to reveal more hidden connections or influences, and you must think again. As the novel’s narrator puts it, “there is no truth except truth in relation, and heavenly relation is composed of wheels in motion, tilting axes, turning dials; it is a clockwork orchestration that alters every minute, never repeating, never still.”

Irene | 4085 comments Thanks for that. I was wondering why the astrological chapter titles. My version does not show the charts, not that I would understand them. I can't read this when I am tired. I have reread more of this book than any other in some time. My head is spinning with all the story threads.

message 44: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Don't feel back, Irene. This one is confusing me too! I keep losing track of who people are, other than the dead guy and the whore. LOL

Irene | 4085 comments I think I got most of the people straight. It is all those pesky details on which a mystery hang that has me confounded.

message 46: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments I wish I woke up and found gold sewed into all my clothes

Colleen Hah - I know. But could opium really not make her figure it out until she went to gaol (jail)?

Irene | 4085 comments I was wondering the same thing. How does she wear these dresses for months clueless about the gold, then, wake up from an opium coma and just know it is there? She would have been taking the clothes on and off before this, a far better chance of realizing what is making them so heavy. Now, with no opportunity to look into the seems because of all the people around, she knows what is there. It makes me think that we are going to get another wrinkle about Anna.

Colleen I just found out what Carver's "twinkle" was on Lauderback! It's all coming together, but I still have plenty of questions. I can never figure out mysteries though.

message 50: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Meg wrote: "I wish I woke up and found gold sewed into all my clothes"

No kidding! LOL

« previous 1
back to top