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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 (1541 )
5 star
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3.6 (1357 )
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Story
4.2 (1332 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (63)
1 star
 (62)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    C. HdC Mill Valley, CA 01-24-15
    C. HdC Mill Valley, CA 01-24-15 Member Since 2014

    neenaleen

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
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    Story
    "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
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    206
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    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
    1
    ratings
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    26
    7
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    0
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    Story
    "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
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    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
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    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
  •  
    Peggy United States 11-13-14
    Peggy United States 11-13-14 Member Since 2011

    Peggy Davis

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    7
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    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Long and winding read, but worth the while"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Anna


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy West Bloomfield, MI, United States 11-06-14
    Nancy West Bloomfield, MI, United States 11-06-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "borrrrring!"
    What disappointed you about The Luminaries?

    I couldn't even get through this book. it was so boring!


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

    No


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mark Meadows?

    I liked the narrator


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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
  • Hannah
    6/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing plot"
    What would have made The Luminaries better?

    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!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lucinda
    FAREHAM, United Kingdom
    6/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't get into it!"
    What disappointed you about The Luminaries?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stan d'Up
    6/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great sprawling yarn...."
    Where does The Luminaries rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is up there with my all time audio favourites.
    Start with Sherlock Holmes narrated by the great Basil Rathbone, and add the fabulous cassettes from "Mr Punch" including "To have and have not" with Bogart & Bacall, and 'It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart.

    Great yarn, well told.


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

    Discovering that only half of the book had downloaded from audible!

    I really thought that it was over....


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

    Excellent delivery by the narrator and Mark Meadows does this complex tale a great service. Every character was recognisable by 'voice', sometimes quicker than where they fitted into the plot! Female charachters were particularly good, plus were there 3 or 4 Scottish accents - methinks?

    Bravo


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

    Oh for that luxury! No thanks, not for this tale.


    Any additional comments?

    Too much chapter info at the end, which was a lovely précis, and probably worked better in the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cheltreader
    6/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Luminaries to be better than the print version?

    The narrator was able to really distinguish between all of the characters and their accents; this made it so much easier to keep up with the twists and turns in the plot. Excellent narrative and engaging characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jen
    Wetherby, United Kingdom
    6/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tedious in the extreme"
    What disappointed you about The Luminaries?

    Few redeeming features, way overlong, distant characterisation and feeble plot


    Would you ever listen to anything by Eleanor Catton again?

    No


    What didn’t you like about Mark Meadows’s performance?

    He did not seem any more interested than I was, he has my sympathy


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

    Some historic and geographical interest


    Any additional comments?

    Cannot begin to understand how it won a prize

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Allan Turnbull
    Chippenham, England
    6/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautifully written, perfectly delivered"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The intrigue and the crossing lines of a complex narrative added together make this a must read/listen for any fan of historical drama.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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