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The Luminaries Audiobook

The Luminaries

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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 (1716 )
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4.2 (1486 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Kysha 02-19-15
    Kysha 02-19-15 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    21
    2
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    "Great story"

    A great story read by a fantastic narrator. I loved the complexity and the way that the character development was woven into the unravelling thread of the mystery.
    The build up was a little slow to start and the denouement was somewhat unnecessary since the author did such a great job of telling the story and developing the characters that a discerning reader should have already known all that was revealed in the denouement.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mira 02-15-15
    Mira 02-15-15 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    69
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    0
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    "too tedious even for audio"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Literary aficionados may love this book, both the writer and her achievements inspired me to take on this book. I have tried both with Kindle and Audio but I just found it extremely boring.


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

    No, I read a lot of historical fiction style books and will continue to.


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

    Mark performed well.


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

    Maybe like one of those movies that everyone talks up you enter with higher expectation. Every time I checked into this story it felt like work.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-14-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Like a neo-Victorian novel!"

    I didn't know what to expect from this book, especially because I knew I'd be missing an important part of the book with it being an audio instead of paper book. I browsed the printed copy and saw the star charts and astrological information that I'd miss out on with the audio version. For that reason, it took me a long time to start the book. But as soon as I did, I was drawn in.

    This book reads like a classic Victorian-era novel. I felt like I was reading a new and fresh Dickens or Hardy novel. It has a deep and satisfying plot with as many twists, turns, hills, and gullies as the New Zealand landscape in which it is set. The opening drops you right in the middle of the intrigue, as the opening character, Walter Moody, stumbles upon a secret society. The detailed and florid descriptions of the events, the characters, and the setting were reminiscent of David Copperfield or Far from the Madding Crowd. Dickens is my favorite author, so I enjoyed the writing immensely.

    I don't feel like I missed out on anything with not having the star charts and astrology right in front of me to reference. I still was able to enjoy the overall theme of the characters being guided and almost controlled by their "destinies" as outlined in the heavens. The ending is a satisfying one because of it's inevitability, not necessarily because it's a "happy" or "sad" ending.

    I recommend this book to anyone - especially Victorian literature lovers!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chloehoe 02-13-15
    Chloehoe 02-13-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Long read, worth it."

    Originally I got this as an audiobook as I struggled with how big it was. However after completing this work of art, it will forever live as one of my favorite books. Cartons detailed world was so well crafted and,within this reading, thrown into life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean 02-08-15
    Sean 02-08-15 Listener Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic story"

    huge story lots of plots to follow, got lost a few times.
    Beautifully written. huge amount of research & narrated quite brilliantly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    day 02-06-15
    day 02-06-15 Member Since 2014

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
    2
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    17
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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 01-24-15
    C. HdC 01-24-15 Member Since 2014

    neenaleen

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    14
    5
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    0
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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
    8
    ratings
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    207
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    0
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    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
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    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
Sort by:
  • 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
  • DAvid
    5/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great start, terrific narration, but peters out"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The first 3/4 of the book are beautifully written, and narrated, wonderful to listen to, but then the entire story is resolved, and it turns out there is no real mystery, and no ghost story at all. The remaining chapters of the book are so thin that it feels as if Eleanor Catton had a target length for her book, realized she had to come to a swift completion and entirely changed her writing style to come to that closure.


    If you’ve listened to books by Eleanor Catton before, how does this one compare?

    Previously reading (not listening to) The Rehearsal I was looking forward to another book which kept me guessing, and reached a high point with its final resolution. Unfortunately with The Luminaries the opposite was the case - the high point is the first part of the book, albeit that this is a value for money 20 hours or so of the audio version, and is thoroughly enjoyable, it does mean the the book ultimately disappointed me.


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

    Mark Meadows' narration is wonderful. His accents for the different characters brings them to life, and his pronunciation of the Maori and Chinese sounded very convincing to my untrained ear.


    Any additional comments?

    I am sure I did not fully understand the Astrological theme (maybe this is more effective read rather than heard), but it added nothing to the novel for me.
    Overall: Enjoy the writing and narration for the first 20 hours or so, but do not expect too much from the remainder of the novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • P. S. Rowley
    UK
    5/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Time Lord's delight"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Although this book is to be recommended, it fails me in the end with the loose ends and the most especially the compulsive use of jumping back in time like a recording made in nonsequential edits. It rapidly becomes confusing as you futilely try to keep a group on who why and when. Once the trial is over it again leaps backwards to finally tie things up, but creates more of an anticlimax in doing so. Better to reorganise the time segments in a more sequential manner to follow the characters and related events.


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

    I wanted it to be the unexplained facts, and maybe a closure, especially relating to Anna, but it was not to be. So, I suppose the second part of the download was better, with a desire to listen on and get into the story more (e.g. relationship between Carver and Wells), but it was not fulfilled, either as a "once upon a time..." or as a tragedy.


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

    Moody


    Do you think The Luminaries needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes, it would be possible. There are enough loose ends with the death of A Suk, Shepherd' actions and the continuation of Staines' activities in the gold field. Of course, the characters of Lydia Wells, and Carver act as good bad guy characters to act as foils. Maybe tell it from Moody's viewpoint re Anna and Staines.


    Any additional comments?

    Reorganise the structure of the original.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • P
    GUERNSEY, United Kingdom
    5/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A really good story"

    I am so glad I listened to this book. I was a little daunted by the 'list' of characters, but I managed to keep track! Good plot, well written and easy on the ear narration. I was tempted to listen to it again when I got to the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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