We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Luminaries Audiobook

The Luminaries

Regular Price:$24.19
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (1806 )
5 star
 (589)
4 star
 (558)
3 star
 (348)
2 star
 (177)
1 star
 (134)
Overall
3.7 (1596 )
5 star
 (523)
4 star
 (447)
3 star
 (318)
2 star
 (178)
1 star
 (130)
Story
4.2 (1564 )
5 star
 (846)
4 star
 (395)
3 star
 (186)
2 star
 (72)
1 star
 (65)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Peter Middleton, WI, United States 09-01-14
    Peter Middleton, WI, United States 09-01-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    63
    50
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant complex mystery/love story"
    What did you love best about The Luminaries?

    The writing, the sense of place


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Gascoigne--cheerful, independent, insightful, interesting past


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

    Walter Moody--the trial scenes were fabulous


    Any additional comments?

    This book is a complex and brilliantly conceived story with many layers about a remote place and time. The narration is pitch-perfect as Meadows rotates seamlessly between indigenous Maori accents, Irish, Scotch, and English accents. The story is told in a non linear fashion with multiple loops back to the original themes making it easier to grasp. The writing is spectacular. This is a unique piece with throwbacks to a Jane Austen style but with a rare and exquisite layering of plot lines. It takes some time to get through it but it's worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fata Morgana 08-17-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    196
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Simply extraordinary"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Not only WOULD iI recommend this book, I HAVE! … to any friend whom I know to enjoy mysteries, fine literature, narrative tone, and -- when possible -- an ear for just simply delectable fun between the lines.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Each of its many characters were impressively well drawn. The writing is masterful and there is always a sense that the author is having much fun in the writing, the teasing of the reader, the breathlessness of the mystery. It was the most enjoyable page turner I've read in decades. Typically I listen to audiobooks while I exercise. Well, thanks to this book, the number of miles I walked this last month increased substantially! If you love great storytelling, sophisticated literature, intriguing history, fabulous pitch perfect narration, and a true romp through a 19th century mystery, you'll love this audiobook.
    If there is a flaw, it's that ending of the book feels a bit rushed … That's the only reason I did not give it five stars overall.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    Mark Meadows' performance contributed more to the atmosphere and depth of the narrative than any of the many excellent narrators in other audio books to which I've listened. His performance is simply dazzling--just like the author's. His British accent; the perfect pitch, inflection, and pacing for this 19th century setting; the broad command of the different characters' voices--all made the listening experience so rich. I can't imagine that simply reading the words could have matched the depth and breath of this outstanding audio experience.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The most dazzling, thrilling, entertaining historical mystery of your life!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PAT Loveland, CO United States 07-26-14
    PAT Loveland, CO United States 07-26-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
Sort by:
  • Amanda
    4/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Drove me mad!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    It wasn't a 4 or a 5 listen for me!


    What will your next listen be?

    The husbands secret by Liane Moriarty.


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

    yes.


    Any additional comments?

    It was far too long winded. Drove me half mad I'm afraid! I day dreamed through bits!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • SuzyDiamond
    4/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The title is the most interesting bit"
    What would have made The Luminaries better?

    Dump all that stuff at the beginning about astrological influences.


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

    No - but I won't be buying anything else by this author. It may have been a prize winner, but it did nothing for me. It was difficult to get into, and I found my mind wandering frequently because it was slow and boring a lot of the time.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Meadows?

    Yes - nothing wrong with the narration, although he does not 'characterise' the players his voice is pleasant and well paced with no irritating speech patterns.


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

    Abandoned listening part way through (most unusual) so can't say.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christine
    4/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing Narration"

    Mark Meadows deserves an award for this narration. The book basically has 15 main characters and he has differentiated all of them perfectly. I am in awe of the talent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catharina
    AmsterdamNetherlands
    4/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant!"
    Would you listen to The Luminaries again? Why?

    Well, it was a bit long to listen to it again, but it would be worth it for all the fantastic insights into human nature. Reminded me of why I love Jane Austen. Also loved the clever way in which all the different storylines were interwoven and came together. Only downside to me were the last few chapters going back to tell us some things the observant listener would have already figured out.


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

    So many surprising little twists.


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

    No


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

    No, it was too long for that. Otherwise definitely.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    WASHINGTON, United Kingdom
    4/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Transported back in time"
    Where does The Luminaries rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really enjoyed this lengthy book. Definitely in my top ten so far


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

    The party held by Lydia


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

    Mark Meadows' pleasant reading style allowed me to be quite imaginative about the characters


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

    No! Far too long for that. This was to be savoured over many days


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't think I would enjoy a 'historical' novel, but I did. It had obviously been well researched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • K. Ormiston
    UK
    4/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Complicated but worth concentrating for"
    What made the experience of listening to The Luminaries the most enjoyable?

    A friend was reading it at the same time so we could discuss it,


    What did you like best about this story?

    The richness of the characters and setting. It should be sponsored by the New Zealand tourist office.


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

    The Chinaman


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

    Yes, I frequently listened far longer than I had intended to.


    Any additional comments?

    A bit complicated until you get the hang of all the characters but worth perseverance. I didn't understand the astrological stuff at the beginning of each chapter but really like the phrases: in which ... And a one or two word summation of the theme of the chapter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sally
    Nelson, New Zealand
    4/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hokitika take your gum boots"
    Would you try another book written by Eleanor Catton or narrated by Mark Meadows?

    Eleanor yes


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

    Someone who can pronounce te reo words. I loved his voice but some was very irritating.


    Did The Luminaries inspire you to do anything?

    I visit Hokitia several times per year for work. I went into the museum and suggested that the wonderful old photo's of the wharf, weld St and Revell St be turned into postcards, so i can send them to all those people who don't get to the West Coast but love the book.


    Any additional comments?

    A wonderful 'who dun it' set in an extraordinary time. Eleanor captures much of the complexities of early settlers and attitudes to others. I didn't understand all the astrological aspects although i tried hard throughout.
    a book to be enjoyed with lots of time such as long journeys or dark winter evenings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Graham
    Colchester, United Kingdom
    3/31/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well written, but no story"
    Would you try another book written by Eleanor Catton or narrated by Mark Meadows?


    Mark Meadows narration is excellent.


    What will your next listen be?


    Something with a story line


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    None


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

    It is very well written, almost Dickensian in style, and the charecters are interesting, very detailed, but the story doesn't go anywhere.


    Any additional comments?

    Although the book is interesting and very well written, the plot is almost non existant. We end up following a group of people doing very little of interest in some Victorian New Zealand gold rush town.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.