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:$23.44
  • 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 (1744 )
5 star
 (556)
4 star
 (543)
3 star
 (341)
2 star
 (171)
1 star
 (133)
Overall
3.6 (1539 )
5 star
 (494)
4 star
 (436)
3 star
 (309)
2 star
 (173)
1 star
 (127)
Story
4.2 (1511 )
5 star
 (814)
4 star
 (380)
3 star
 (183)
2 star
 (69)
1 star
 (65)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Harriet Kailua Kona, HI, United States 11-13-13
    Harriet Kailua Kona, HI, United States 11-13-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Overblown, disappointing"
    Would you try another book from Eleanor Catton and/or Mark Meadows?

    no


    What was most disappointing about Eleanor Catton’s story?

    Not all that much story, way too many words. I love detail and long, long books by accomplished writers: Steinbeck, Dickens, Hardy, Stephenson - but this seemed mostly just filler. 29 Hours should have more information.


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

    He did what he could; he did make the blustery, arrogant characters very unpleasant


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Luminaries?

    Not so much deleting a scene as removing the verbal bloat within them


    Any additional comments?

    I am sorry to be so negative, Ms.Catton's editors have failed her. There were many opportunities for beautifully drawn characters and backgrounds in the book.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harley 10-27-13
    Harley 10-27-13 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    314
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    255
    150
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    29
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "and the wheel goes around and round"

    This story is told and retold slightly different while strongly the same. In spite of the multiple characters, Ms Catton's descriptions create clear distinctions avoiding confusion over who is who. The book is very different thanks to the distinctive writing style. Be warned: if you decide to listen to this book - it is very long and repetitive but there is no way it could be any different. I thought I was at the end only to realize that was not the case. I understand the story, the plot, the character and the achievement of the complex writing but I do not understand the end. So the wheel goes around again?

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Madelaine Provo, UT, United States 10-27-13
    Madelaine Provo, UT, United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Took me a while to get into it - then I loved it"

    It was difficult to keep all the characters and intrigue straight in my head - and I'm still not entirely sure I know exactly what happened - but I really enjoyed this listen. The whole thing reminded me very much of Dickens in that there was a large cast of very interesting, well-drawn characters and the novel was completely plot-driven. The narration by Mark Meadows is absolutely fantastic. I really don't know if I would have been able to power through the rather confusing beginning if it weren't for him (I listen while I work - so this book might not be quite as mystifying for the completely undistracted listener). And I'm really glad I did power through - I think this was my favorite audible book of the year.

    10 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Bettendorf, IA, United States 11-23-15
    Mark Bettendorf, IA, United States 11-23-15 Member Since 2011

    Photographer, nature & water geek, music lover, book fiend.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    267
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    741
    86
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    22
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent novel made more exceptional be narrator"

    A wonderful, captivating story that could've gone on even longer. Simply fantastic. Excellent novel made more exceptional be narrator.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn 05-30-14
    Kathryn 05-30-14

    alwayslookingforgoodbooks

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the best performances by a narrator"

    The story is good and worth the 23+ hours but I had to write this review to praise the narrator for such a wonderful job. There are about 16 different characters with all types of accents; Scottish, Irish, Australian, French, etc. He mastered them all and I could always tell who was talking based on the voice. I think this is quite a feat with this particular book. I seldom notice the narrator unless they are very bad, but I wish I could give this one 6 stars.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie United States 02-10-14
    Katie United States 02-10-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really hard to get into"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This story is just really really long. The narrator does a good job but the story just isn't particularly interesting after the first few hours. It would have been much better if the length was trimmed. The story was too convoluted.
    Also, there were too many characters - it was really hard to 1) keep track of them 2) care what they were doing


    Would you ever listen to anything by Eleanor Catton again?

    Maybe - the plot premise was interesting, it was just issue with length & number of characters


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Meadows?

    Yes - he did his best to keep the tone interesting


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Grants Pass, OR, United States 01-09-14
    Kimberly Grants Pass, OR, United States 01-09-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    66
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring!!"
    What would have made The Luminaries better?

    Too long winded and it took too long to go anywhere


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

    no


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The accent was a bit thick and I was easily distracted.


    What character would you cut from The Luminaries?

    I did not like any character


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grey Todd San Francisco, CA 12-23-13
    Grey Todd San Francisco, CA 12-23-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book made even better by epic performance"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I found the audio book narrator, Mark Meadows, to be marvelous! His ability with accents and in particular his delicious interpretation of Lydia was inspired, and his excellent character distinctions did a great deal to help my own understanding of, and ability to differentiate between the many characters. Bravo, sir!


    Any additional comments?

    This is an exceptionally well-written book, but fair warning, it has a complicated, non-linear plot requiring (on my part) taking notes on the characters, places, times and relationships both revealed and secret between each of these elements.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Bergh NH 12-16-13
    P. Bergh NH 12-16-13 Member Since 2013

    There's always time for reading

    HELPFUL VOTES
    122
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    252
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well read, twisty plot, great history, but l-o-n-g"

    I enjoyed the Luminaries: a fascinating account of gold fields of New Zealand. The characters are all colorful, very Dickens-like, and the book is very well read. The biggest challenge is that there are many characters and it is very long. Even listening regularly, it is easy to get a bit confused, particularly as the book jumps around date-wise a bit. That being said, it is a really good book and deserved of its awards and accolades.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart 12-14-13
    Stuart 12-14-13

    Reading opens up new worlds.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mezmerizing!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Luminaries the most enjoyable?

    The reader was able to bring all of the characters to life. The prose is so sumptuous and detailed -- you get lost in the moment, drinking in the settings and descriptions.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the way that the story folded into itself -- truth revealed at the crux between the past and the future. The book celebrates language. I enjoyed the names of all the characters and places -- had a Dickensian onomatopoeia.


    What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

    He was able to bring the voices to life in all the languages and accents.


    If you could take any character from The Luminaries out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    It would have to be Emery Staines -- the most pleasant, optimistic and positive of the cast.


    Any additional comments?

    I was sorry that the story ended. I wanted to hear more about the resolution -- what happened to the Widow Carver. Did the Maori walk free? Was there love at long last for Anna and Emery? But like a bountiful meal, I left the table sated with much to digest. It was a marvellous listen.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • S.E.
    Spain
    11/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tedious. Can't think why this is a prize winner!"
    What did you like best about The Luminaries? What did you like least?

    Excellent narrator.....shame about the book! Goodness...what a disappointment! I rarely give up on books but this one was exceptionally tedious. I found I really didn't care what happened and to whom and therefore did not engage with the characters or the plot! I wonder what was going on in the minds of the judges....I don't always like/enjoy their choices but have always managed to finish the books....this one was exceptionally boring and I gave up!


    What was most disappointing about Eleanor Catton’s story?

    THE STORY! THE CHARACTERS! THE MISERABLE SETTING!


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Meadows?

    Definitely! A very fine narrator!


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

    Please don't write another like this!


    Any additional comments?

    Enough said!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Black Mary
    6/20/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A stunning narration of an interesting tale."

    After a very slow start which took a while to ignite my interest, I became captivated by the skill of the narrator in creating the voices of the different characters. He is so skilful that another person, overhearing part of the story thought that there was a full cast of players including women.
    His skill hooked me into the tale which in itself became compelling and I was sorry when it ended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    Aylesbury, United Kingdom
    6/5/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Man of Many Voices"

    Mark Meadows is a genius! In this magnificent epic tale of greed, gold, crime and grime, he voices at least 20 characters, each one believable and realistic (the Frenchman occasionally veers into 'allo 'allo territory, but that's just me being picky). There's a cast of thousands in this book (ok, around 15 - 20) and it does take a while to work out who's who and what's what. Over the course of the book, each character's back story is revealed bit by bit, along with their relationship with the other characters. All the lives are intertwined, and as the book gathered pace, I was desperate to keep listening. Mark Meadows reading really brought the story to life and made it a lot easier to recognise the characters than it would have been if I'd read the book myself. There are plenty of surprises and twists. I loved it. Eleanor Catton describes the mood and feel of the period beautifully, and although I'm not normally a fan of period pieces, the characters are so well drawn that it could have been set anywhere at any time. It's long - 3 downloads - but time flew by while I was listening and I found myself volunteering to do extra ironing just so that I could listen for longer. Highly recommended, and if anyone can tell me the significance of what Moody saw on the ship he sailed in on, that would be a bonus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    6/1/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A wonderful tale filled with twists and turns"

    I loved every minute. I am already looking forward to starting again! A fantastic tale, beautiful written and extremely well performed. Due to it's length I did get a little lost at times but thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • jnowlrose
    6/1/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "love all of it!"

    brilliant book and fantastic narration. I was hooked from the outset. highly recommend it to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ebg
    5/25/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Wonderful Story"

    I've listened to The Luminaries twice and will no doubt listen again soon. It is a wonderful, complex, human story and very well read. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sliceandserve
    5/19/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "That's a heavy plod..."

    Wonderful, layered, detailed, conceptual, historical. But boy it's hard-going. Very glad someone was reading it for me!

    And what a great job this narrator has done. The voices, accents, and careful presentation, was appreciated; I didn't give up because of these.

    The story is solid, has colourful characters, and a wonderful complex plait of comings and goings, plots and fortunes. The intertwined stories may be a challenge if you're not dedicating good chunks of time to this book.

    I chose it for the promised New Zealand pioneer history, and this is both well-referenced and adds depth to what, under other circumstances, may have been a collection of petty crimes, coinciding with... a murder!

    I was going to say it will make a very good movie - but the BBC has picked it up to adapt into a tv series... so even better.

    I liked it. And it really lends itself to a screen version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helena
    1/15/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "wonderful"

    A great mystery full of twists and turns, the more you listen the more hooked you become

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Starling
    1/7/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hmmmm...."

    Bit monotonous. The fact that it's repetitive is part of it's point, a story appearing through a revelation of different observations. I thought it was a bit boring though. Alright as a back up read, not as a main event for me personally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • R
    12/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great narration."

    Fantastic narration with wonderful variance in characters' voices. Compelling story but felt ending little rushed.

    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.