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The Luminaries | [Eleanor Catton]

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

3.6 (1061 )
5 star
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3.5 (936 )
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3 star
 (199)
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Story
4.1 (919 )
5 star
 (441)
4 star
 (247)
3 star
 (135)
2 star
 (49)
1 star
 (47)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    DLynn 11-15-13
    DLynn 11-15-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    42
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
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    Story
    "Just...No..."

    I like books that I can get into right away. Unfortunately this was not one of those books. The narration wasn't what I expected, and the beginning was way too slow to even continue listening. I thought I'd give it a chance from reading the other reviews...wish I didnt waste my credit.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri 11-10-13
    Terri 11-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    129
    8
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    0
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    Story
    "Disjointed and hard to follow"
    What would have made The Luminaries better?

    The explanations at the beginnings of the chapters made me think of an outline, a technique that might help in writing the story but only annoying as part of it.


    What was most disappointing about Eleanor Catton’s story?

    It got very good reviews, but couldn't hold my attention.


    Did Mark Meadows do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The narrator did a pretty fair job but had little to work with.


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

    I was disappointed overall.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea 05-19-14
    Andrea 05-19-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    180
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "From the Beginning, I wasn't Hooked"
    Any additional comments?

    In a nutshell, I could not get into the story. I wanted to, but the magic did not happen for me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Houston, TX, United States 11-14-13
    Lauren Houston, TX, United States 11-14-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    73
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    4
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    1
    0
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    "Best Book I've Listened to in 2013"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Excellent intricate storytelling. Complicated enough to engage your brain, but not so complicated you get lost in the audiobook format.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heather norman, OK, United States 11-11-13
    heather norman, OK, United States 11-11-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    25
    2
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    0
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    "Not an average book"

    I give this book three stars not because I believe it is an "average" book, but because as I progressed through this novel I found myself either completely loving it or loathing it. I found the beginning very tedious, as there is an enormous cast of characters, and their melding, back-stories, interweaving, and relationship is a long and over detailed process. The beginning is a teeth gritting process and I actually had my doubts about continuing. I think the beginning is so hard because you do not really relate to any of the characters or feel for them until the middle of the book.

    However by the middle of the book I'm hooked. The characters go from just telling stories to living the story and this is the best part. By the end, I love the flash backs and love that you get to know the dead man, for whom you think you know already. I am not sure if this book would ever be on my read again list but overall I enjoyed it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 10-24-13
    Lisa 10-24-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    5
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    "one star is too many"
    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book to anyone suffering from insomnia. Every time I have attempted to listen to it I have fallen asleep within minutes. Honestly it doesn't even deserve one star but there isn't an option to give it a rating in the negative range.

    9 of 32 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 81-86 of 86 results PREVIOUS189NEXT
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  • Hano Verian
    UK
    1/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I lost the will to live after the first hour"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    An insomniac


    Would you ever listen to anything by Eleanor Catton again?

    No


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

    No idea


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

    Boredom,


    Any additional comments?

    Very descriptive, I'm all for descriptive narrative but there needs to be a story, after the first hour I stopped caring and moved on to another book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Haughton, United Kingdom
    1/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sorry but I just couldnt get on with it"
    What disappointed you about The Luminaries?

    two hours in and I still wasnt grabbed by the story, too long winded and although the preformance was professional I found the flat montoone in the reading of it just made sticking with it even harder. I have never abandoned a book before so I am very disapointed.


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

    Not really, but I might think twice about this author again.


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

    Possibly, but I think that if the story got going I wouldnt have minded how he read it. Just a deadly combination in this case.


    What character would you cut from The Luminaries?

    No idea. Never warmed to any of them sadly.


    Any additional comments?

    Good luck if you try listening...maybe it gets better after the first couple of hours? I dont know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eileen
    Bedford, United Kingdom
    1/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Booker prize"
    Would you listen to The Luminaries again? Why?

    Although I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book and couldn't wait to the next section to see what happens, I was a little disappointed with the ending. It seemed to hang without a definitive answer.


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

    The characters who intertwined with eachother


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hazel
    Arbroath, United Kingdom
    1/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Luminaries underwhelming"
    What did you like best about The Luminaries? What did you like least?

    I found Luminaries quite difficult to get into. It was rather long winded and although the story overall was good, I don't think I would re-visit this book.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Maybe there were just too many characters to contend with and unlike reading a book its not easy to flick back to the list of characters listed at the beginning.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Meadows?

    Yes I have no problem with the narrator.


    Did The Luminaries inspire you to do anything?

    Only to put New Zealand on my list of must visits.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pippa
    Gosport, United Kingdom
    1/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A well woven web of inter relating stories"

    This is a complex story with many colourful characters. The 'book' starts off with a list of the characters names and their jobs. It is well worth noting these down as there are a lot of characters right from the start (you can actually see this page if you go to amazon) . I love how the narrator portrays the wide range of characters. The story jumps about in time and you have to keep your wits about you. Well worth the effort to find out how all these characters are tied into the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tul'si
    London, United Kingdom
    1/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding performance!"
    What did you like most about The Luminaries?

    The book's structure is brilliant, and Eleanor Catton's command of the language incredibly precise. Her sensitive characterisations and gripping story offer a wonderful glimpse into nineteenth-century New Zealand.


    Any additional comments?

    Mark Meadows's use of a broad spectrum of accents amounts to an incredibly accurate rendition of class and cultural difference, and helps the reader keep the characters apart very easily. A very convincing and enjoyable performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Marcus Bachler
    UK
    1/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stars a bit annoying"
    Would you listen to The Luminaries again? Why?

    No, far too long and so many different characters.


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

    Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. In the first half of the Luminaries there is mostly dialog, atmosphere and character and not much action. However it is just as finely crafted.


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

    No, but this is brilliant narration. He captures the accents and charcters just right.


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

    Not all that glitters is gold.


    Any additional comments?

    The elaborate structure of the novel gets in the way of the plot increasingly so that near the end of the book the reader is left scratching their head as to what is taking place. That's such a shame as the rest of the book is so well written and enjoyable to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul D
    Halland, United Kingdom
    1/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting but. . . . ."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, with a proviso . . try this i think you will find it interesting. A narrative of events, a good tale, with some interesting touches of writing style.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not the individual character bit again! I see the book as a whole, individuals interact to produce a complete unit.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Argh! See my previous comment


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Moved me to turn to the next page.


    Any additional comments?

    Well crafted and original. On the face of it a narrative tale surrounding a murder and itssolution but told with original style and skill. Not certain i would read another book by the author in the near future, maybe next year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wendy
    Ramsgate, United Kingdom
    1/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Life is too short..."

    I am struggling to find anything to say about this, other than the narrator is excellent. The writing is obviously the Booker-winning feature, but the 'story' is so slowly and painfully extracted it's hard to maintain interest unless you're able to listen for very long periods, which I am not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jenny
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    1/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyed"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes the time was well spent, I really wanted to hear the whole story


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

    Yes I would recommend, but not strongly. Eleanor Catton was done a wonderful job in writing this book, I congratulate her on her success. Every book is not loved equally by everyone


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

    Mark Meadows did an excellent job with the various characters, BUT a New Zealander would have been great. I am a New Zealander and the pronunciations of words such as Hokitika, Kaniere, totara, paheka grated on me. I am not a speaker of te Reo Maori, so I am not sure how good or bad their reaction would be. It did detract from my enjoyment of this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 81-90 of 120 results PREVIOUS1891012NEXT

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