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The Luminaries

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


Item Details

This novel is a murder mystery set in a remote gold-mining frontier town in 19th-century New Zealand. Arriving in New Zealand in 1866 a weary Englishman, Walter Moody, lands in a gold-mining frontier town on the coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind his family's shame. 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, events in which each man finds himself implicated in some way. 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
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Notes: "Originally published in Great Britain by Granta Books, August 2013."--Verso of title page.
Contents: A sphere within a sphere
Auguries - The house of self-undoing
Paenga-wha-wha
Weight and lucre
The widow and the weeds
Domicile
The truth about Aurora
Mutable Earth
Matters of succession
Orion sets when Scorpio rises
The old moon in the young moon's arms.
Summary: This novel is a murder mystery set in a remote gold-mining frontier town in 19th-century New Zealand. Arriving in New Zealand in 1866 a weary Englishman, Walter Moody, lands in a gold-mining frontier town on the coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind his family's shame. 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, events in which each man finds himself implicated in some way. Moody finds himself drawn into a series of unsolved crimes and complex mysteries.
Awards & Distinctions: Man Booker Prize, 2013
Local Note: Master record variable field(s) change: 100, 505, 650 - Master record encoding level change WorldCat Holdings
6 9 15 16 17 18 29 33 35 37 53 63 97 109 118 127 133 138 143 148 151 152 159 167 172 173 182 188 203 210 211 216 222 224 226 231 243 244 264 268 272
ISBN: 9780316074315
0316074314
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Report This Apr 22, 2014
  • paulbifford rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It's a pretty amazing achievement. I had to start it twice (Burial Rites inspired me to try again), got lost in the middle, but I loved the way it was written. It doesn't really resolve, but it picked up at the end and I loved Moody's court arguments. It did remind a little of reading Wolf Hall, although I preferred the style of Luminaries.

This was a marathon book for me but when I got to know the characters I started to really enjoy it and I couldn't believe at first how someone so young could produce such a work of art. One of the best books I have read and I would recommend to anyone but stick with it it's worth it.

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.

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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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