Book Title: The Luminaries
Author: Eleanor Catton
Publication Date: August 1st 2013
Genre(s): Mystery & Thrillers, Historical Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
Format Received: Hardback
Goodreads: 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.
My Review: It has taken me a month but I have finished this wild beast of a book (832 pages). All I can say is I am not at all surprised Eleanor Catton won The Man Booker Prize of 2013 … literary genius – wow!!!
At the very beginning the reader is introduced to a scene of twelve men gathered at the Crown Hotel in Hokitika, New Zealand in January 1866. A thirteenth man by the name of Walter Moody is shortly introduced. Intruding but also mild and innocent, the reader quickly finds out that Moody has come to Hokitika to find his fortune in gold. As the story moves on and unfolds, interweaving stories of all thirteen men bring about a mystery that the men – as well as the reader – are all trying to solve.
In a Victorian led story which has a slight resemblance to a Dickensian tale Catton presents a story of chance, betrayal and infidelity along with séances and opium, and amongst all of this an abundance of other things such as a politician, a prostitute, a ghostly presence, a missing man, a dead man and a good old fashion romance.
At the beginning of the book there is a cast list. I suggest if you’re to read the book to keep the cast list in mind as the first 200 pages or so is a character mind field. However, as the tale progresses, characters will embed themselves into your mind and absorb your every literal reading second to the point they’ll soon feel like a theatre of friends.
The Luminaries you will find, like me, will take you on a journey like you’ve never been on before.
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