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)
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.
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!
The narrator for this book was excellent and did a great job with so many accents. It was a pleasure to listen to this book.
I found the story very interesting and engaging until it dropped out at the end. I was left with the impression of the author scribbling the last 15 pages in the taxi on the way to the printing office as the deadline arrives. The novel was complex and well written for the majority of the story but so many threads seem to be left unaddressed. Overall I still liked this book. Maybe the author is leaving the door (wide) open for a sequel.
I am going to have to return the book and purchase a copy to read.
It is not the actual story or the writing that is putting me off but the way the reader uses far too much of a strange kind of up-speak inflection that is sort of getting my goat.
I'm not saying that he is not a good reader and many people might like his style. However, for me, it is somewhat irritating and I cannot continue listening.
The portion of the tale that I have read was engrossing and interesting and I want to read more.
Great story, but there were lots of characters and many dates and such. It would have been a little easier to follow if I'd actually read it instead of just listened.
No - not my style - too slow to get into the story, too long building up characters.
To be fair - I haven't listened to the entire book I've given up at ~14 hrs into it - believe me I tried to like it - however the start is excruciatingly slow. Perhaps there is a good story buried but for the life of my I just can't get into it. I typically choose books of great length so it's not that it's a long book (29hrs +).
This book requires a commitment of time and attention, but these are well rewarded.
The writer takes her leisurely time, and if you do too you will develop a cinematic picture of life on the gold fields in New Zealand. Moving back and forth in time, the story unravels and knits back up, each time with a few more pieces in place. I am ALMOST tempted to begin again from the beginning just to enjoy how deftly the author does it.
The book is amazingly read. Each character is given his or her own voice, so there is no doubt about who is speaking. If I have any quibble at all it is that a bit of the comic timing could have been improved. That said, I'd gladly spend more time with this reader.
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
So disappointed about this one, another Booker Prize winner that is not for me. I was frustrated because the writing seemed to not be as tight as it should have been. Yet, the author clearly knew what she was doing. What gives? Well I looked at the reviews and information on it -- another gimmick. Each chapter half the length of the other? Not for me. In the style of Wilkie Collin's (who was Dickens' best friend and who wrote The Woman in White, which I loved), well that is for me, but not with the gimmick. Why not just write a good book? Hopefully next time.
"I just didnt get it."
I found this dull and over long. I think the author was paid by the word as you hear the whole story and then it is repeated.
As short less repetitive book would have been much better.
Mr Carver as he was the only character that bought a bit of drama to the whole proceedings.
I got value for money as it was such a long audio book.
I would listen to this while doing chores around the house. I listened every day. After 3 days my wife asked why I was replaying the book ? I replied, I wasn't and that the story is often repeated. Her reply was how dull. I agree.
"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.
"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.
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.
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