The Luminaries

The Luminaries

Book - 2013
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Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize and Governor General's Award for Fiction, and set during the heady days of New Zealand's Gold Rush, The Luminaries is a magnificent novel of love, lust, murder, and greed, in which three unsolved crimes link the fates and fortunes of twelve men. Dickens meets Deadwood in this internationally celebrated phenomenon.

In January 1866, young Walter Moody lands in a gold-mining frontier town on the west coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind a family scandal. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to investigate what links three crimes that occurred on a single day: the town's wealthiest man has vanished. An enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. A prostitute has supposedly tried to end her life. But nothing is quite as it seems. As the men share their stories, what emerges is an intricate network of alliances and betrayals, secrets and lies, that is as exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

Part mystery, part fantastical love story, and intricately structured around the zodiac and the golden mean (each chapter is half the length of the preceding one), The Luminaries weaves together the changing fates and fortunes of an entire community, one where everyone has something to hide. Rich with character and event, it is a gripping page-turner - and a unique, atmospheric world - in which readers will gladly lose themselves. It confirms Eleanor Catton's reputation as one of the most exciting and innovative novelists writing today.

ISBN: 9780771023248
9780771019104
Characteristics: 832 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm.

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b
becker
Aug 25, 2017

I knew after the first few paragraphs that I was going to love this book. This is a big complex story that is incredibly well constructed. The characters are so well designed with each of them containing a unique voice and serving a specific purpose in the book. The ending was so clever right up to the last parargraph which was moving and beautiful. I listened to a portion of this book on audio and the narrator was amazing with the ability to switch back and forth between about half a dozen different accents in a dialogue. For me, it was the perfect book. I was very sad to finish it which says a lot about a 830 page book.

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EmilyEm
Jul 12, 2016

Walter Moody interrupts a meeting when he enters his hotel’s parlor on a stormy night in 1860s New Zealand’s Gold Rush town of Hokitika.

Very Dickens-like with multiple characters and character motives. No wonder the hype and awards. Reminded of David Mitchell’s and Kate Atkinson’s recent writing. Loved it.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

The Luminaries is a many-faceted and, in ways, complex book, but that doesn't mean the story is not enjoyable. For those willing to make the effort, it can be a wonderful read. Yes, it's saturated with cross-references to astrological charts, experimentation of form, and word play, all with the stylization of Victorian literature, but I wouldn't say the story is in any way bogged down by these elements. If anything, I'd say these elements are what lift this novel above other such tomes of historical mysteries.

p
paul_broomfields1
Jun 02, 2016

This really is an exquisitely written novel. Highly recommended for myriad reasons.

Do you love really long books? This is the one for you. It also happens to be a gorgeously written story full of complex characters set in the fascinating 1860's Gold Rush period in New Zealand. Read this delicious puzzle today. Recommended by Melissa

b
bookwormjeph
Feb 09, 2016

A great read though I did find it lost some momentum in the middle of it's more than 800 pages. A rollicking story set in Hokitika in the height of the gold rush. A complex cast of characters and the inter-relationships between them all is written with humour, pithiness and at times sadness and disappointment. Beautifully written and well deserving of it's award to Eleanor Catton.

d
doneschu
Jan 03, 2016

90% of the book is wonderfully descriptive. It's written as people might have talked in the 1800's: lots of words and phrases not in general use today. The last few chapters are horrible. It's almost as though the author got tired of writing and just jotted down a few thoughts to get it over with. Very disappointing, poorly written ending.

t
trixxstaar
Nov 21, 2015

Lived up to the hype, in my opinion.

f
Foxglen
Oct 23, 2015

This is not a book you can't put down. In fact I couldn't finish it. It's a long drawn out mistery that could have used half the words.

h
heinrij
Sep 22, 2015

This would have been a good story if it were 200 or 300 pages. If you get stuck, start at part 5 and go to the end. It explains everything. Some profanity, not much. Rate it PG

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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Love cannot be reduced to a catalogue of reasons why, and a catalogue of reasons cannot be put together into love.

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