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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 (1729 )
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Performance
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  •  
    PAT Loveland, CO United States 07-26-14
    PAT Loveland, CO United States 07-26-14 Member Since 2016

    wishccr

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    "Luminous and Captivating"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Braden Batch 07-24-14
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    "Catton is now a name I look for at the book store!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Luminaries to be better than the print version?

    They are both excellent.


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

    I would rather not spoil any part of the book, people shouldn't answer this question.


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

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruthanne Davis Abilene, Texas USA 07-22-14
    Ruthanne Davis Abilene, Texas USA 07-22-14 Member Since 2013

    The Bookworm

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    "Disappointing"
    What did you like best about The Luminaries? What did you like least?

    I so looked forward to reading/listening to this book...and I was completely disappointed in every aspect, except the narration.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane F. Clifton AUSTRALIA 07-20-14
    Jane F. Clifton AUSTRALIA 07-20-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Brilliant read, top story"
    Where does The Luminaries rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best audiobooks I've listened to.


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

    Mark Meadows managed the difficult task of so many characters and varied accents with consumate skill.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christy Wisconsin 07-04-14
    christy Wisconsin 07-04-14 Member Since 2016

    Books are an integral part of my mental health, intellectual stimulation and social networking!

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    "I tried and tried....."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 06-24-14
    Andrew 06-24-14
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    "Good but not good enough..."

    ...to justify overly complex structure of over-lapping plot lines. The ending wasn't so much an anticipated insight or understanding, but a relief I kinda sorta got what had happened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elizabeth a fowler 05-24-14
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    Story
    "Why?"
    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Right now, I've started "The Burgess Boys" and am enjoying it.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm not sure why this book was so well received. I have tried several times to "stay with it" but am finally giving up. The story line is not engaging and I don't care for the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber Brookman San Francisco, CA United States 05-16-14
    Amber Brookman San Francisco, CA United States 05-16-14 Member Since 2012

    Amber

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    "The benefits of listening."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. The performance made this book interesting and compelling. As did the writing.


    What could Eleanor Catton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I think the story did not need the Astrology. I missed the point of the Astrology, maybe something lost in listening rather than reading. However we picked this book for a book club and I was the only one who finished and liked it, I believe it was directly because I listened to it instead of reading. It would be very tedious to read.


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

    no


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucy Sydney, Australia 05-10-14
    Lucy Sydney, Australia 05-10-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Phenomenal"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is one of the best books I've ever read, and, as a bibliophile, I do not say this lightly. Murder, revenge, love, deceit, betrayal, dastardly characters, innocent and charming characters; an epic, cinematic novel.

    I have no doubt that Eleanor Catton's novels will become future classics, staples on every book lover's bookshelf. I have already recommended this to numerous friends, who are unanimously in awe of Catton's genius.

    Listening to The Luminaries being read by Mark Meadows was an exquisite joy. Meadows as a narrator is unmatched, in my opinion. He switches seamlessly between a vast range of accents, the most impressive of which are probably Maori, Chinese, Norwegian, and German, although the spectrum of his English accents is amazing.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Emery Staines. I've never read a character quite like him. You can't help but be charmed and bewitched by him.


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

    I loved listening to his performance of Harald Nilsson in particularly. Such a subtle accent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Albertus de Geest 04-17-14
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    "Great story well told"
    Where does The Luminaries rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best


    What did you like best about this story?

    The separate story lines build the tension but do not come together until the end so it holds your attention until the end.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    Great narration although his pronunciation of some of the place names was unusual.


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

    No I needed to come up for air occasionally


    Any additional comments?

    A great story told in a way that kept me fully engaged and interested until the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Louisa
    Freshwater Bay, United Kingdom
    3/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I thought it would never end! But it is quite good"
    What did you like best about The Luminaries? What did you like least?

    Best was the reading which was masterly. I also liked the setting and descriptions of New Zealand. I was interested in the whole process of gold mining and the different communities involved in the process. But it was much much too long. However, it is quite clever and if you stick with it you begin to see in what way the book is quite experimental and it is only at the very very end that you understand why the book has been conceived as it has been.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    He manages to convey the strange environment that all the characters live in and he keeps the pace up which is a huge challenge - he brings the characters to life and helps you get through the long passages.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    Possibly, because I would love to see the landscape. The story would have to be drastically cut and I'm not sure if it would be understandable as a film.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like long slow books this is an interesting one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    3/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great story but over long"
    Would you listen to The Luminaries again? Why?

    No, it's too big a commitment with not enough payback


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    A bit lack luster


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

    The priest was very likable


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

    The story only really got going in parts 2 and 3 which were really enjoyable.


    Any additional comments?

    It takes too long to get going, but once it did it was great. Lots of depth in both story and characters. Really enjoyable, how evert he ending was too drawn out, leaving a taste of disappointment to something that could have been great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Per
    Oslo, Norway
    3/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Talkative!"

    Sorry to say, this book was boring! No beginning, no middle, no end. And endless stream of detailed stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • stew
    Radstock, United Kingdom
    3/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well Read But..."

    Terrible slow story I'm afraid. I gave up half way through. A massive cast all of whom seem to be relating a story that's already happened at a monotonous pace and about whom I failed to care. I got stared at for screaming "Get on with it" as I walked around listening to this tripe.
    Avoid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sophie
    Brisbane, Australia
    3/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Probably the best audio book I've listened to."
    If you could sum up The Luminaries in three words, what would they be?

    Mesmerising. Fascinating. Brilliant.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The history. Beautifully researched and excellently written to make everything utterly real, it made me want to go over and explore New Zealand and all the places mentioned in the story.


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

    No, but he's brilliant! And it's performance that makes this book so special for me. His genius with juggling so many and often complex voices allowed the story to shine though. I have no doubt I personally would have got a bit bogged down if I was actually reading this one myself.


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

    The sheer scale of this novel moved me, it is enormous and epic and takes you away on the most amazing journey back in time whilst making it seem very real. I honestly felt I was there with the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • an amazon customer
    GODALMING, United Kingdom
    3/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "You can almost forget it's literary fiction"
    What did you like most about The Luminaries?

    I normally steer clear of Booker winners and literary fiction because I often find them too pompous and self-important. However, this was a very good and complex story, told and woven among approximately 20 different characters. It was part murder mystery, part court-room drama, and a perfect period piece. I admit that listening to it rather than reading it, I may have missed quite a lot of the astrological significance, but that didn't matter too much overall.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    No particular favourite.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The courtroom scene.


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

    No - it's 29 hours!


    Any additional comments?

    I found this book very difficult to get into at first, but it was worth persevering. The narrator was good and differentiated the characters well, but initially I found the number of characters a bit confusing. It took me a good 2-4 hours to get into it - almost to the point where the initial scene with the 13 men in a room got up to real time. But I'm glad I stuck with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    Bedfordview, South Africa
    3/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastical Story Weaving"

    A magical trip into the New Zealand gold rush, through one of the most carefully thought out books that I've yet read. The story is woven together with such precision that it leaves you guessing, piecing elements and characters together, and revelling in the rich language.

    The narrator played a large part in making the book - with so many characters and dialogues, his accents and characterisation of the each of the players brought the book to life.

    At times the tempo faltered slightly, and was a little drawn out, but in restrospect these sections of the book developed the persona of each of the characters more richly.

    Go and get it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • L
    Auckland, New Zealand
    3/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "OMG, I'll listen again when I've recovered"

    Massively complex tale, after one listening, I'm not sure I caught it all! And one day when I've recovered from this mammoth story, I'll listen again to pick up the bits that slipped by unnoticed. The narrator did a sterling job with voicing an intimidating number of characters, except Te Rau Te Whare, I don't know what accent we were going for here??
    Anyway, don't buy this book if you were planning getting anything done for the next week, once you start, you won't want to stop until you've worked out what the hells going on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ecovisitor
    UK
    2/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this gripping story. Its involved, complicated but clear with beautifully constructed characters brilliantly read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The length and consistent tension- it was relentless, didn't give you a break in wanting to know what happened next...


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    His way of giving each character a distinctive voice- clear but not annoyingly obvious.


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

    A tale of pure gold in a new world of hardship, intrigue and loyalty.


    Any additional comments?

    It was brilliant and I am bereft now its finished!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stella
    London, United Kingdom
    2/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "extraodinary reading of a maze-like novel"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Luminaries to be better than the print version?

    this is an amazing reading by Mark Meadows - so many distinct and different voices captured and held clearly in the listener's mind. the only advantage in reading the book would be to be able to track back the extraordinary plot to its origins - as it is (or seems to be) a novel which swoops round to the beginning at the end....


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

    all the incidents involving the Maori character.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    his astonishing ability with different characters and their accents and their languages!


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

    some of the moments with Anna towards the end


    Any additional comments?

    an amazing book to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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