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The Luminaries Audiobook

The Luminaries

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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted – Baileys Women’s Prize 2014

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2013

Canadian Governor General's Literary Award, 2013.

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore 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 patterned as the night sky.

The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th-century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-20s, and will confirm for critics and listeners that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

Eleanor Catton was born in 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2007 and won the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for The Rehearsal. She was the recipient of the 2008 Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship to study for a year at the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop in the US and went on to hold a position as Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing there, teaching Creative Writing and Popular Culture. Eleanor won a 2010 New Generation Award. She now lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

©2013 Eleanor Catton (P)2013 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

"The Luminaries is an impressive novel, captivating, intense and full of surprises.” (Times Literary Supplement)
“The Luminaries is a breathtakingly ambitious 800-page mystery with a plot as complex and a cast as motley as any 19th-century doorstopper. That Catton's absorbing, hugely elaborate novel is at its heart so simple is a great part of its charm. Catton's playful and increasingly virtuosic denouement arrives at a conclusion that is as beautiful as it is triumphant.” (Daily Mail)
“It is awesomely - even bewilderingly - intricate. There's an immaculate finish to Catton's prose, which is no mean feat in a novel that lives or dies by its handling of period dialogue. It's more than 800 pages long but the reward for your stamina is a double-dealing world of skullduggery traced in rare complexity. Those Booker judges will have wrists of steel if it makes the shortlist, as it fully deserves.” (Evening Standard),br />“Eleanor Catton is nothing if not ambitious. Her latest novel, longlisted for this year's Man Booker prize, is an 828-page blockbuster. With astonishing intricacy and patient finesse, Catton brings to life the anomalous nature of 19th-century New Zealand.” (Sunday Times)
“Expansive and quite superb. Catton writes with real sophistication and intelligence... with intricate plotting and carefully wrought scenes.” (Scotsman)
“Every sentence of this intriguing tale set on the wild west coast of southern New Zealand during the time of its goldrush is expertly written, every cliffhanger chapter-ending making us beg for the next to begin. The Luminaries has been perfectly constructed as the consummate literary page-turner.” (Guardian)
“For the scale of her ambition and the beauty of its execution, somebody should give that girl a medal.” (Lucy Daniel, Daily Telegraph)
“a truly exciting new writer” (Kate Atkinson)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (1573 )
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4.2 (1357 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    ceelouise 10-15-15
    ceelouise 10-15-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Really got into this"
    What made the experience of listening to The Luminaries the most enjoyable?

    So jealous of Catton's talent! It took me a while to get into this book. I sometimes have trouble with male narrators. I bought the book version and may read it again, there's so much to capture. I mean, she's no Henry James or Jane Austen, but this book is pretty brilliant. Enjoy! (The ending will really get you and you'll have to go back and relisten!)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne 09-09-15
    Anne 09-09-15 Member Since 2000
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Sadistic treatment of the reader"

    I wasted 30 hours thinking that eventually the hard to follow plot would come together. instead, having evidently run out of time or space or her advance, Catton tries to wrap it up in a chapter heading (!) at the end. Authorial malpractice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsay 09-06-15
    Lindsay 09-06-15
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "brilliant!"

    loved this book! worth the time! everything is woven together perfectly from start to finish. intelligent prose, entertaining, fascinating human story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabith A Biber 08-23-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Mixed feelings"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would not recommend this audio book to most people. The story is long and convoluted. It gets a bit tedious over time. I would probably recommend a hard copy rather than an audio version as it is a little easier to keep things straight w/ a hard copy, as you can go back to check on previous story details more easily. The audio copy that I downloaded from audible was missing most of the last chapter. I down loaded it twice so I know it wasn't a download issue.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Turtle 05-20-15
    Turtle 05-20-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "the narrator is brilliant!"
    Have you listened to any of Mark Meadows’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    this book has many characters and a story that keeps getting more side stories so without the brilliant narration of Mark Meadows it would have been agony to follow.


    If you could take any character from The Luminaries out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I can't say any of the characters were likable, but most were very plausible.


    Any additional comments?

    it was a study in human character,regardless where it is, but also shined a light on the gold rash era of New Zealand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Hewitt AL, United States 05-04-15
    G. Hewitt AL, United States 05-04-15 Member Since 2016

    Alabama Mom

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "not for audio"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    a map and outline


    Has The Luminaries turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no


    How could the performance have been better?

    I am still interested in this title, but this is a story with many layers of stories embedded within. Well, I am 2 hours into it and so far this is what I've got. I listen to many, many audiobooks but this one is just not working for me. I need visuals to make this one work. I don't walk away from books very often, but I'm walking from this one.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    confusion


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerald MANLY, Australia 04-17-15
    Gerald MANLY, Australia 04-17-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great writer. Good story. Brilliant reader."

    The author slowly unfolds the story and the reader learns more about the characters as the story progresses. Although this is a long book, it never flags. The reader is exceptional.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alaska rower 04-10-15
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    "Wonderful reading"

    The performance added depth and clarity to the many characters. Having a written chart would help listeners make sense of the many characters and zodiac references

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carmen United States 03-30-15
    Carmen United States 03-30-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great take, beautifully written, confusing plot"

    Maybe because I listened to this on audio over several days, but I had a hard time keeping track of the time line of this historical mystery. But I did find myself captivated by the characters, the gold rush culture of New Zealand, and the real and surreal elements of the plot. Now sure hoe it turned out to be a love story but suddenly it was The End and lover is declared. Lovely to listen to a book so well written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bookwoman 03-26-15
    bookwoman 03-26-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Long, detailed, lovely"

    A wonderful story with so many rich layers of detail. I am not sure I would have had the endurance to read the entire book, but I became positively addicted to having it read to me. The narration is brilliant!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Sarah F (Lancashire)
    1/9/15
    Overall
    "Fascinating mystery obscured by baffling structure"

    I'm afraid I was unable to fathom the depths of this most unusual literary work. I quite enjoyed the plot at the level of a good mystery, but the greatest mystery of all is the significance of the zodiacal references. I now need to read a great many other reviews in the hope of illumination!

    I liked the narrator's voices for the characters but found the overall style of narration rather irritating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. Groom
    UK
    1/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too much detail"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not really. Sure, the author has researched this brilliantly but I like a faster paced book. This is long and slow and infinitesimally detailed. A great book for those who appreciate this sort of work I'm sure. Just not for me.


    Would you recommend The Luminaries to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes to my friends who like this sort of thing. No to those who are more like me.


    What aspect of Mark Meadows’s performance might you have changed?

    The performance was okay, can't think of any changes that would improve anything.


    Could you see The Luminaries being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    I could see it being made into one of those quality, long Sunday TV serials they used to make more of when I was younger.
    I wouldn't go and see it if it was a movie.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    1/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unusual thriller."

    Good book. Persevere with it and it delivers in spades. A book of connections and linkages but also one that conveys a raw feeling of a new frontier on the gold mines of New Zealand in the 1860's.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jade Graham
    UK
    12/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Aggravatingly non-chronological!"

    I'm sure it is very clever to reveal the complexities of plot and relationships by jumping backwards and forwards in time: it is also very confusing and irritating! Well performed by the narrator though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Claire
    12/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "most disappointing"
    Would you try another book written by Eleanor Catton or narrated by Mark Meadows?

    Did not enjoy from the start. Could not get into it and have given up trying.


    What could Eleanor Catton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    ?


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    ?


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No if it did I would have stayed with it and hoped for improvement


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Linsey
    11/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "disappointing ending"
    Would you try another book written by Eleanor Catton or narrated by Mark Meadows?

    yes, i'd consider it


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed this up to the last few chapters. They would be around 20 minutes throughout the book but then just 2 minutes towards the end and I don't think it cleared things up properly, not a proper ending. Everything was well thought out / explained / told but the ending was rushed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hels Bels
    10/29/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dire!"
    What would have made The Luminaries better?

    By halving the length & condensing the plot.


    What was most disappointing about Eleanor Catton’s story?

    Far too long winded. Too many characters involved and it all got very confusing with the backwards & forwards approach to the plot.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    He made the book.......without his brilliant interpretations of the various characters, it would have been even more of a disaster!


    Any additional comments?

    Really disappointed with the end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lee
    Redditch, United Kingdom
    10/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Go Abridged"
    What disappointed you about The Luminaries?

    It is very well written and has lots of depth, but as others have said its slower than slow.

    I struggled with this book and for the first time in 5 years of listening to audio books, I wished I'd had the abridged version, as I really don't think you would miss anything.


    Which character – as performed by Mark Meadows – was your favourite?

    Mark Meadows narration of the many characters in this book was excellent, and each was distinctive from their speech


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nigel Nicholson
    London England
    10/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too much plot - too little purpose"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would to someone looking for terrifically written and complicated narrative - but it's a lot of work - I mean a long book, and one wonders why, after it all.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Irrelevant question - hardly anything to do with the merits of the title


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the best plotted and carefully crafted works of fiction I've read in a long time, but where is the engagement? There's hardly anyone one cares about - almost like reading history of dead people. Ian McKewen's much shorter little masterpiece, The Children Act, accomplishes so much more in terms of moral complexity, character and revelation than this very long book comes close to

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    St Martins, United Kingdom
    9/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I absolutely cannot fathom why people like this."
    What would have made The Luminaries better?

    Clearly plenty of other people loved this book but I found it incredibly frustrating. Dull, slow, relentless, overly descriptive, pointless, monotonous, irritating... you get the point.


    Has The Luminaries put you off other books in this genre?

    No. I usually love a lengthy book or saga.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Mark Meadows’s performances?

    Nope. I thought his narration was a bit pretentious.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Luminaries?

    I have no idea as I couldn't get past part one. I reckon all the scenes I listened to would be up for the chop. If there really is something spectacular going on here, some serious editing is required to give it some pace. I just couldn't devote any more time to it.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't believe this is worthy of a prize. I suspect the panel must have also lost the will to read it all and gave it lots of points for length and trying to sound 'in period'.

    I'll be asking to return this one to Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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