The luminaries by Eleanor Catton – 2013

LuminariesIf you are hesitating over picking up (or downloading) The luminaries due to its much-discussed 828 pages – don’t. Once I started reading it I continued to do so contentedly through to the end – never once wishing it a shorter novel. In fact I think Catton breaks her style towards the end not only for astrological reasons but also as a kindness – to ease us away from her entrancing 1866 New Zealand gold rush universe. Having just arrived in Hokitika Walter Moody unwittingly walks into a secret meeting of 12 men, gathered to share what information they have on recent events in the settlement – a death, a disappearance and a possible attempted suicide. Reading The luminaries is a trip in time: not only in its setting but also in style – admittedly it is modern in view and terminology, but for most of the book it is slavishly Victorian in style. It is a delightful mystery read that has you guessing and puzzling the whole way through: Who was the dead man? Where did the ‘lucky’ gold miner go?  What is Anna’s relationship to the fortune in gold? The characters are wonderfully drawn – reflecting astrological signs and planets – and even if you don’t get into the intricacies of the astrological workings of the plot (which I didn’t) you still get the feeling of individuals whirling around, being moved and buffeted by forces beyond their knowledge and control. The luminaries is an historical novel, a mystery, a love story, and a story of deceit and betrayal – and I loved it! A great piece of story-telling.

This entry was posted in #yeahnoir, Book Review, Historical. Bookmark the permalink.

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