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The Luminaries Audiobook

The Luminaries

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.
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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 (1468 )
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3.6 (1288 )
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4.1 (1263 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (58)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    day 02-06-15
    day 02-06-15 Member Since 2014

    I like words - even the ones I don't know yet

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
    Overall
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    Story
    "Perfection"
    If you could sum up The Luminaries in three words, what would they be?

    An engrossing mystery


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story unfolds so naturally becoming clearer and more complex all the while: It's meticulously crafted.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    Meadows is truly brilliant and I was especially impressed how nimble he is jumping between characters.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A Chinaman, a Scotsman, a land baron, a journalist, a mystic, a chemist, a politician, an opium-fuelled prostitute and a dead body: You figure it out.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele 01-25-15
    Michele 01-25-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best book I'll read this year!"

    And January is not even over. I listened to it twice, back to back, the book is just that rich with detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. HdC Mill Valley, CA 01-24-15
    C. HdC Mill Valley, CA 01-24-15 Member Since 2014

    neenaleen

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    "A good book"

    This is a good book made better by its narration. The structure and subject are both novel. The narrator gives the story a pace and an interest that I didn't find while reading it myself

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglass A. Lobo Miami, Florida United States 01-16-15
    Douglass A. Lobo Miami, Florida United States 01-16-15 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tough plot to follow"
    What disappointed you about The Luminaries?

    It was an extremely tough story to follow. The plot line was all over the place. It was a good read, just really tough to follow.


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

    No, not at all, one has to have reading stamina.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Meadows?

    The narration was fine, the plot and story line meandered a great deal.


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

    I was glad to finish it because at times while it was good, it was also at times a chore.


    Any additional comments?

    Not for everyone, but you need to be able to focus because the plot is very intricate and at the same time loose

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deirdre Kilaben Bay, Australia 01-15-15
    Deirdre Kilaben Bay, Australia 01-15-15
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    2
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    Story
    "Gripping storyline."

    It took me ages to settle into the story and understand the characters. When I did, I really enjoyed the history, the goldfields life, the language and the portrayal of life in NZ mining settlements in the mid 1800s. However, I feel that the author took too long to get to certain parts and it was quite repetitious sometimes. It's not a book that I'd recommend to my friend
    but am glad I've read it.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Puce 01-12-15
    Puce 01-12-15
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    Story
    "Excellent reading"

    Fantastic story and really, really excellent narration. So easy to follow an recognise character as they all had their own voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Azalea Phoenix, AZ United States 12-15-14
    Azalea Phoenix, AZ United States 12-15-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best Read of the Year; maybe 5 years!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, Yes, Yes. This was the first book I've ever read where I finished the last page and wanted to start re-reading it that moment. I loved it. However, at 1,000 pages, I didn't have enough time to read it all over again. Had to have my desert: Adrian McGinty!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Luminaries?

    The whole book. Loved the time warping; keeps you on your toes! Good to have a map of NZ handy for a while until you get familiar with all the places.


    What does Mark Meadows bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    GREAT, GREAT reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mastictears 12-07-14
    Mastictears 12-07-14

    KZ

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    Story
    "A little overwritten"

    I know a lot of people really loved this book, and in many ways I wish I was one of them. It just seemed a little overwritten, and a few too many side-stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JDS 11-23-14
    JDS 11-23-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mark Meadows reading illuminates The Luminaries"
    What does Mark Meadows bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    This complex book brings a raw, late 1880s New Zealand gold-mining town and its inhabitants to life. But the reader, with his superb rendering of the characters' varied accents and personalities, adds a whole new level to the story.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Impossible--800 pages...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michelle Palos Verdes Estates, US, Canada 11-17-14
    michelle Palos Verdes Estates, US, Canada 11-17-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    34
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    Story
    "great accents"
    What would have made The Luminaries better?

    If you are looking for perfect accents listen here. But for a story that gives you any reason to care about its characters go elsewhere.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Sally
    London
    8/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awful, I was unable to get into this."

    Avoid. I tried to get into the story and found myself drifting off. I found the characters difficult to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • robert
    8/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best book so far after 4 years on audible"

    Great story, great narration, great listen made even better as I was on hols in the South Island New Zealand at the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • brenda
    harlow, United Kingdom
    7/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Help!"

    I am still trying to get past the first few chapters - has anyone actually finished it - I have asked friends who are all struggling with it - I will get there one day but am just interested to know what other listeners/readers think

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sean Dynan
    Ireland
    7/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Please may I have 30 hours of my life back?"
    What would have made The Luminaries better?

    An ending worthy of the staggeringly intricate story.


    What will your next listen be?

    Some pulp fiction. I need to detox from this book.


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

    Whatever Mark Meadows was paid for his narration was not enough. He is a complete genius. His narration was the only thing that kep me going to the bitter end, to be honest. I reckon my favourite characterization was Reverend Devlin Cowell. Meadows pulled off an almost perfect Belfast accent for the Reverend.


    What character would you cut from The Luminaries?

    All of them.


    Any additional comments?

    This massive book is a technical tour-de-force, no doubt about it. And Catton's command of Victorian-era stylistic prose is extraordinary. Her ability to succinctly convey the human condition in its myriad forms is a genuine treat. But...the destination just isn't worth the journey. The whole experience reminded me of how I felt after Stephen King's The Green Mile. Please, Audible, reclassify this book as Magical Realism before hundreds of other poor saps waste three weeks of their lives persevering with this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • JackieK
    7/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The best story I've come across in years."
    If you could sum up The Luminaries in three words, what would they be?

    Perfect storytelling.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Brilliantly constructed and beautifully written. A thoroughly engaging story. Must have taken an extraordinary amount of research.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    Loved the characterisations. Very well done throughout.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book was, moving, humorous in parts and emotionally engaging. I really did not expect to enjoy it so much. Commanded my attention throughout.


    Any additional comments?

    I could not stop listening even when it was time to cook the dinner!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wills
    County Durham England
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not My Usual Cup Of Tea"
    What did you like most about The Luminaries?

    The narration was good and the pace of the story was excellent.


    What other book might you compare The Luminaries to, and why?

    Find it difficult to compare with another book as I really have read nothing like it before.


    Have you listened to any of Mark Meadows’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Have not listened to Mark Meadows before but will definitely look out for him again.


    Any additional comments?

    Only bought the book because of online recommendation but have really enjoyed what for me is a very new gendre of reading. Will look out for more Eleanor Catton books and also for the narrator Mark Meadows.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    London, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it's a great story, well told, it does have the odd slow bit but overall really enjoyable. It's a mix of historical novel, western (though set in NZ) and thriller


    Have you listened to any of Mark Meadows’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    not sure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • david
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Easy to imagine yourself in this place and time"
    Where does The Luminaries rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I was fascinated by the different characters and storyline, much better than a lot of books I have listened to


    What other book might you compare The Luminaries to, and why?

    "Out of this Nettle", similar atmosphere of times gone by, distance from home, isolation and hardship


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    Mark did a lot to keep me there, in my mind, he added greatly to the atmosphere which is an important part of this book


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Some characters I felt empathy for, some I did not like and wished them to come to harm, overall my emotions were on the side of those many individuals that were not trying to destroy others


    Any additional comments?

    Had my doubts in the first 20 minutes but very glad I stuck with it, enjoyable and different !!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark Head
    Tiverton, Devon, UK
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well crafted, but ultimately a bit dissapointing"

    The positives:
    This is obviously written with care and attention to detail and character development. You get a very thorough understanding of all the characters and even empathise with the situation and confusion that they find themselves in. The story slowly unravels and you continually learn something new that sheds light on each character's situation, keeping you hooked enough to learn the secret of the mystery.

    The negatives:
    Each character plot line begin with mystery and intrigue, but ultimately never turn out to be overly interesting. Some of the major characters from the start of the story even disappear without any kind of conclusion, I either forgot who they were or was left wondering what the point of them were.

    All in all, this is a very long novel and although I enjoyed the intrigue by the end I was not left feeling fulfilled that I had enjoyed a great story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. Donovan
    Kent England
    6/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well worth sticking with this complex story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Luminaries to be better than the print version?

    Yes as I would not have stuck with print version


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Luminaries?

    none in particular


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    none in particular


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Don't know


    Any additional comments?

    Very well read, complex story that time to get into, but worth it in the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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