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
"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)
Mark Meadows was absolutely fabulous. There were many characters in the novel and he was able to assign a distinct voice to each one. I don't believe I would have enjoyed reading the book as much as I did listening to the story, because of the wonderful narration.
I couldn't even get through this book. it was so boring!
I liked the narrator
I wouldn't say, it's a stupid story but in my opinion it's not apt for an audiobook. Usually after at most 1-2 hours of listening to a story, I get drawn into it and can't wait to get back to it. In this case I listened on and on for hours on end until I finally decided to resign - which I have only done once before. I just couldn't cope any longer! So boring! Such a rigmarole! I really do enjoy lenghty descriptions and dialogues when they are well written, but this was just unbearable. Sorry! It is just as well that I didn't waste a credit for this book but bought it as a bargain for $ 4,95. Otherwise I would have been really disappointed!
Tell us about yourself!I am an avid reader but enjoy listening while waking to work, ironing, doing dishes, etc. Listening to novels is an entirely different experience than reading; a well narrated story is a cross between drama and written fiction. Listening to books on Audible has been a wonderful experience.
The writing, the sense of place
Gascoigne--cheerful, independent, insightful, interesting past
Walter Moody--the trial scenes were fabulous
This book is a complex and brilliantly conceived story with many layers about a remote place and time. The narration is pitch-perfect as Meadows rotates seamlessly between indigenous Maori accents, Irish, Scotch, and English accents. The story is told in a non linear fashion with multiple loops back to the original themes making it easier to grasp. The writing is spectacular. This is a unique piece with throwbacks to a Jane Austen style but with a rare and exquisite layering of plot lines. It takes some time to get through it but it's worth it.
Not only WOULD iI recommend this book, I HAVE! … to any friend whom I know to enjoy mysteries, fine literature, narrative tone, and -- when possible -- an ear for just simply delectable fun between the lines.
Each of its many characters were impressively well drawn. The writing is masterful and there is always a sense that the author is having much fun in the writing, the teasing of the reader, the breathlessness of the mystery. It was the most enjoyable page turner I've read in decades. Typically I listen to audiobooks while I exercise. Well, thanks to this book, the number of miles I walked this last month increased substantially! If you love great storytelling, sophisticated literature, intriguing history, fabulous pitch perfect narration, and a true romp through a 19th century mystery, you'll love this audiobook.
If there is a flaw, it's that ending of the book feels a bit rushed … That's the only reason I did not give it five stars overall.
Mark Meadows' performance contributed more to the atmosphere and depth of the narrative than any of the many excellent narrators in other audio books to which I've listened. His performance is simply dazzling--just like the author's. His British accent; the perfect pitch, inflection, and pacing for this 19th century setting; the broad command of the different characters' voices--all made the listening experience so rich. I can't imagine that simply reading the words could have matched the depth and breath of this outstanding audio experience.
The most dazzling, thrilling, entertaining historical mystery of your life!
First, high praise to Mark Meadows for his excellent narration. He is stellar and immensely increased my enjoyment of this book.
Catton does a tremendous job of taking the reader/listener to the mid-1800's with the mannerisms and speech patterns of her characters. Because of this, it took me a bit to get my bearings, but thereafter I was enthralled.
I really loved this book until the closing scenes, which seemed anti-climatic. I am sad to say this, because it is a masterful book and I wanted to put it on my list of forever favorites right up until that last chapter. That is not to say it totally ruined the book for me, but it the ending was very mundane--just a wispy re-cap of what the reader (mostly) already knew.
They are both excellent.
I would rather not spoil any part of the book, people shouldn't answer this question.
For different reasons I liked different characters, Gascoigne's accent had a great charm to it. That said, I really had trouble with Lidia Well's voice, but I cant tell if its the actor or the character herself that irked me.
There is a couple of very sad moments that put me in a somber mood. There is real tragedy that befalls certain characters, and I reacted to that.
I had no real expectation of this book. The setting in 1800s New Zealand at first seemed so irrelevant, but after getting to know some characters I really started to appreciate the story telling. This book is, if nothing else, superb storytelling, and could be set anywhere. I will be a lifelong fan of Catton's, and I look forward to reading her other works.
I so looked forward to reading/listening to this book...and I was completely disappointed in every aspect, except the narration.
Try as I might, I could not get into this book. It was certainly not the fault of the narrator. Mark Meadows did a fine job...it was the book itself. It was tedious from the beginning. The characters were wooden and underdeveloped. I am amazed that this won the Man Booker Prize last year. There were many books much more deserving.
One of the best audiobooks I've listened to.
Mark Meadows managed the difficult task of so many characters and varied accents with consumate skill.
Books are an integral part of my mental health, intellectual stimulation and social networking!
I really wanted to enjoy this book as it sounded so interesting from the descriptions as well as other reviews. I first tried to read the actual hard copy of this book, that was not working. I found myself unmotivated to read the amount of text to get to the story! Then I tried the audio approach and found myself drifting often. I made it through about 30% of the book before I decided to take a break. Maybe I will finish it someday. The narration was fine; it was just the amount of words I had to process to understand the meaning!
The plot was moderately intriguing and I do want to know about the remainder of the story, but the style of writing was a bit cyclical for me. I do appreciate novels that the writing is part of the process and thought that this was going be the same with this book. Maybe if there was a more intriguing onset to the story, it would have kept my interest.
Also, this won the Man Booker award......not sure what that really means anymore. I might not be so interested in reading the next winner of that award next time.
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
"Please may I have 30 hours of my life back?"
An ending worthy of the staggeringly intricate story.
Some pulp fiction. I need to detox from this book.
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.
All of them.
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.
"The best story I've come across in years."
Brilliantly constructed and beautifully written. A thoroughly engaging story. Must have taken an extraordinary amount of research.
Loved the characterisations. Very well done throughout.
The book was, moving, humorous in parts and emotionally engaging. I really did not expect to enjoy it so much. Commanded my attention throughout.
I could not stop listening even when it was time to cook the dinner!
"Not My Usual Cup Of Tea"
The narration was good and the pace of the story was excellent.
Find it difficult to compare with another book as I really have read nothing like it before.
Have not listened to Mark Meadows before but will definitely look out for him again.
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.
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
"Easy to imagine yourself in this place and time"
I was fascinated by the different characters and storyline, much better than a lot of books I have listened to
"Out of this Nettle", similar atmosphere of times gone by, distance from home, isolation and hardship
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
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
Had my doubts in the first 20 minutes but very glad I stuck with it, enjoyable and different !!!
"Well crafted, but ultimately a bit dissapointing"
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.
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.
"Well worth sticking with this complex story"
Yes as I would not have stuck with print version
none in particular
none in particular
Very well read, complex story that time to get into, but worth it in the end.
An ambling story which has an interesting first chapter. However, 5 chapters in I am now bored by dull characters and not much substance to engross me- very disappointed in this novel indeed!
"Couldn't get into it!"
Really tried but couldn't get into the story at all, too many changes in characters, hard to focus on to follow the story line.
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