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The Luminaries

The Luminaries 1

by Eleanor Catton

Publication Date: 01/09/2013

3/5 Rating 1 Reviews
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 twelve 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. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. 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 and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.
Contemporary fiction
Publication Date:
Granta Books
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

3 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • The Luminaries - review

    by on

    The thickness of this book was daunting, but having read some great write-ups I felt obliged to persist to the very end.

    It's an historical/mystery/adventure novel set in New Zealand. Attracted by rumours of easy riches a motley bunch from differing professional backgrounds have gathered in the mining town of Hokitika. The late arriver to the group, Walter Moody, gradually discovers that nothing and no-one can be taken at face value.

    Plenty of good reviews out there relating to the story's intricate and layered narrative. And I share many of the views - positive and negative - already expressed in other reviews. But it was the writing style that ultimately kept me going: sumptuous, flowing, nicely linking images, actions and reactions together in the same sentence, sometimes a touch unconventional - which I saw as adventurous.