By: Eleanor Catton
Format/Source: eBook; my copy
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 bus, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner. It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-twenties, and will confirm for critics and readers that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.
At long last I got around to picking this book up 😛 I had initially picked it up after reading that it had won the Man Booker prize but then it languished on my TBR pile for quite a while–and understandably so, the book is some 800 pages long, you need to carve out some time to read this book 😛
Unfortunately I had put the book down after 31% into the novel, it just wasn’t doing it for me. On the one hand I appreciated what the author was doing: it had a Dickensian feel to the story with the sprawl of characters are navigating through 19th century New Zealand and coming from different backgrounds and social strata and varying backstories that lead them to New Zealand. The setting and time period was interesting; haven’t read anything set in New Zealand up until this point. However several chapters into the story I just wasn’t feeling the characters, there wasn’t anything particularly compelling that was keeping me going per se and the jump between storylines wasn’t helping matters whatsoever. I may pick the book up again in the future but for now it remains a DNF.