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The Luminaries

Librarian's note An alternate cover edition can be found hereIt is 1866 and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields On the stormy night of his arrival he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have m. I am ashamedI am a foolish reader who like many take on a booker short list or a booker winner and expect it to wow me And it did and it didn t I have an unsophisticated mindTo any reader who reads books as an art critic views a great master they will read and hear the subtleties of the writer s mind as they structure their work layer upon layer until a masterpiece is drawn They will see and know the influences that formed the concept and guided the writer s pen in its construction And reading Eleanor Catton s masterful use of the English language and her homage to the Victorian masters of literature I was greatly humbled and completly understood why she was shortlisted She is a sublime writerFor a proper review I would urge you to read Antinomasia s review on GR No review have I read sofar is so discerning and informed If I had read this before I bought and invested so much time reading a book too long for this reader to enjoy I would never have bought it in the first place It is a book for the discerning reader and not the pop reader who likes his fiction to the point entertaining engrossing informative and exercising to a degree well I m an easy read I am a lazy reader prolific but utimately shallow Present me with too many concepts and inventions in a book then I grow impatient Join too many exercises in the writer s craft together and I become frustated Strip away the artists concept and if I do not have a picture that I can glimpse and enjoy for all its colour and story then all I see is a few suirls of paint thoughtfully applied but ultimately a poor picture to fill a mind with interest The Luminaries is an average storyIt is like so many winners of the Tate Prize in art How many winners would you really want to grace your shelves tabletops and alcoves And at 800 pages the Luminairies is an instalation and not a piece of work to sit upon a humble shelf alongside my Cornwell Austin and Dickens Rupert Bear Albums Tin Tin and Ant Dec Oh what a lovely pair My shelves no longer have room for such large tomes What can I remove to the charity shop Ant Dec perhapsSo I found The Luminairies a master writer scrtitic s wet dream but as a story well sentence by sentence it is beautifully crafted but the shear number of them in relation to one scene or description particulary at the the beginning wore me down Characters were so many their voices seem to merge into the same sound They began to form a crowd in my mind all speaking the same voice their personalties indiscernible The astrology was lost on meThe Luminaries is indeed a worthy Booker winner It is art in writing But for a reader who takes Alister McClean to the beach Jeffrey Archer to bed and lies on the summer grass filling his head with Asimov I was never the reader for this book

Characters ì PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ☆ Eleanor Catton

Ortunes that is as complex and exuisitely ornate as the night sky Richly evoking a mid nineteenth century world of shipping banking and gold rush boom and bust The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page turn. 45 A rip roaring yarn and awe inspiring use of experimental form it s not every day you see that in a book Like Catton s previous near masterpiece The Rehearsal this suffers from a rather misleading cover The illustration and the very title The Luminaries seem to allude to a different world entirely a world of drawing rooms and calling cards and gowns p31 not a mystery adventure involving gold prospectors prostitutes drug addiction and frontier town bigwigs One likely to appeal to uite a number of readers who may be put off by the first impression of yet another AustenDickens pastiche The Luminaries certainly is a pastiche of a kind though it was never so overwhelmingly Victorian in its style as I expected after seeing a well known book blogger mention how he abandoned it Jeanette Winterson said If you want to read 19th century novels you may as well read the real thing and not go out and buy a reproduction It strays further from faithful Victorian reproduction after the early chapters still making wonderful use of the depth of characterisation that s too often missing from contemporary British novels And it s certainly faster reading than most nineteenth century originals The narrative voice has hints of George Eliot whom I was delighted to read Catton also prefers over the Brontes and Austen But perhaps because I ve never read Wilkie Collins with whom this book s most often been compared so far the experience of reading The Luminaries made me think most of all of Arthur Conan Doyle back before I d read the Holmes stories so often they d become a little boring Tales of skullduggery and crime often recounted through the medium of conversations between men sometimes in the telling itself sometimes as a deep sea dive into a framed narrative like Heart of Darkness Still those were comparisons to the actual Victorian Neo Victorian isn t a trend in which I ve had much interest other than the odd work by big names like AS Byatt Sarah Waters and Alan Moore The larger than life characters and the sheer pointless fun of this story do for me recall comics put into prose Michael Chabon was perhaps the most unlikely comparison I kept making as I read Catton seems like an intellect every bit as formidable as Byers but she so far has applied it to structure rather than essentially highbrow story topics Unlike Waters and many other historical novelists her application of modern values is subtle characters are people of their time though perhaps a greater percentage of the well off white men are without fanfare decent and civil to ethnic minorities and to women of uestionable backgrounds than may have been the case in the real mid nineteenth century Characters of all origins are treated with eual dignity by the narrative again without ever making a song and dance about it which periodically gives a rather pleasant time warp effect The setting at least for most non ANZ readers has much novelty and interest when so much Victoriana focuses on London plus it has similarities to the Wild West along with its own distinctive character It s often uite possible to imagine if only one could put the words together a bit nicely had greater stamina for writing at length c how it might have been possible to write various books The Luminaries though is from a writing perspective a fairly mind boggling achievement that sounds almost as difficultand almost as much a potential impediment to producing a good story as do the letter missing out antics of Georges Perec 1 It is a highly complex mystery which would in itself be a considerable invention2 Each of its 12 parts has a word count exactly half that of its predecessor3 Astrology a pre existing complex fictional system has been used as a starting point for the characters interactions A three stairs in one stride step up in intricacy from the use of playing cards in The Rehearsal Not only that but Catton has partially refashioned astrology to her own purpose by making each of the main characters a sign or a planet and various buildings the houses on the chart such that for example Mercury in Aries means a meeting of those two characters I think it would also be perfectly possible to enjoy the book as a story whilst ignoring or knowing little of these aspectsTowards the end of the book it s possible to see the decreasing word count become slightly burdensome as the in which chapter descriptions start to near the length of the text they precede These same length constraints mean that there are several short chapters going into detail about earlier events to a level that isn t always necessary but which I nearly always found interesting At least Catton doesn t use this tailing off to tie the present fates of the characters up too neatly I and probably a lot of readers of a book like this prefer some unknowns at the end although it s not terribly Victorian What is impressive though is that the content never seems forced or unnatural only the layout and chapter divisions indicate something unusual is going onThe astrological themed characters are an object lesson in how a seriously good writer can make archetypes into interesting personalities few of whom end up seeming like stock characters there s something atypical or unexpected about nearly all of them which offsets their origins Sometimes it s easy to spot how it s done eg a spendthrift dandy who s Scandinavian Most have a cartoonish yet complex uality which reminds me of good comics I didn t find out that twelve of the characters were based on star sign attributes though the planetary ones were clearer somehow from the obliue dramatis personae until I d read over 200 pages Once I knew this it all fell into place and I occasionally had to banish mental pictures of the early 90 s Creme Egg ads when certain characters appeared but given that a I know far than I d like about astrology and b I think I read uite closely I was all the impressed with Catton s characterisation for not having been able to help making it ridiculously obvious as many authors would haveA drawback of the astrological scheme is that the planet in sign chaptering led to rather a lot of one on one conversations What they characters are saying is generally exciting and sometimes the chats become a framing device but the format led to a slight background monotony that was at odds with my otherwise great enjoyment of the book This is why it s a rounded down not rounded up 45 The uieter among these conversations in which we witness characters communication of information some of which we may already know and their reactions and in which telling not showing is really part of the useful action reminded me of 18th 19th century epistolary novelsWhilst sceptics surely can t argue with the idea of using one made up system to make up something else I ve noticed a few press reviews which are puzzled by the astrological basis of the novel when only one character Lydia Wells has any enthusiasm for star signs To me it seemed another mental leap by the author to use this scheme for a story with a cast of hippies psychics etc would have been obvious Instead the story in The Luminaries is seasoned with astrology but not I would say overwhelmed by it similar to the way Celine Julie Go Boating is seasoned with magic both stage and esoteric Though perhaps it s only if one s had much familiarity with astrology that it doesn t seem off key to see it applied to non adherents to things and people which seem unrelated to the subject Everyone has a horoscope whether they ve ever taken any notice of it or not Even Richard Dawkins My own knowledge comes from OCD like phases of struggle with superstitious systems plus a tendency to hoover up information I managed to break from astrology after discovering fixed star astrology which added a near exponential number of extra possibilities so that crucially from within the system itself and not only from outside it all started to seem nonsensical and as if it could be made to say anything I was a little disappointed that according to this interview Eleanor Catton seems for the moment to embrace astrology unuestioningly although she must be enormously intelligent But she has at least made a rather stupendous work of art out of it one started when she would have been only 26This is incidentally the first novel of its size I ve finished in exactly six years The last one was Darkmans pure coincidence that the names almost mirror And like the Nicola Barker it was so enjoyable that the book was rarely burdensome even if I did take a day off in the middle for a sub 300 pager which helpedI would love to see The Luminaries win the Booker There are two or three contenders between which I can hardly choose Though its scale of ambition and experiment and sheer bulk lead inevitably to a few imperfections that wouldn t be found in a conventionally structured polished novel of a uarter of its length Regardless it was enormous fun very readable and ever so clever AMSG exuisitely ornate as the night sky Richly Who Killed Hazel Drew? evoking a mid nineteenth century world of shipping banking and gold rush boom and bust The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page turn. 45 A rip roaring yarn and awe inspiring use of A Whole New League (Briarwood High Book 2) experimental form it s not Since I Died every day you see that in a book Like Catton s previous near masterpiece The Rehearsal this suffers from a rather misleading cover The illustration and the very title The Luminaries seem to allude to a different world Not Pulling Out 2 entirely a world of drawing rooms and calling cards and gowns p31 not a mystery adventure involving gold prospectors prostitutes drug addiction and frontier town bigwigs One likely to appeal to uite a number of readers who may be put off by the first impression of yet another AustenDickens pastiche The Luminaries certainly is a pastiche of a kind though it was never so overwhelmingly Victorian in its style as I Driving on the Edge expected after seeing a well known book blogger mention how he abandoned it Jeanette Winterson said If you want to read 19th century novels you may as well read the real thing and not go out and buy a reproduction It strays further from faithful Victorian reproduction after the El Socialismo Historico Altoaragones early chapters still making wonderful use of the depth of characterisation that s too often missing from contemporary British novels And it s certainly faster reading than most nineteenth century originals The narrative voice has hints of George Eliot whom I was delighted to read Catton also prefers over the Brontes and Austen But perhaps because I ve never read Wilkie Collins with whom this book s most often been compared so far the Dont Call Me Coach experience of reading The Luminaries made me think most of all of Arthur Conan Doyle back before I d read the Holmes stories so often they d become a little boring Tales of skullduggery and crime often recounted through the medium of conversations between men sometimes in the telling itself sometimes as a deep sea dive into a framed narrative like Heart of Darkness Still those were comparisons to the actual Victorian Neo Victorian isn t a trend in which I ve had much interest other than the odd work by big names like AS Byatt Sarah Waters and Alan Moore The larger than life characters and the sheer pointless fun of this story do for me recall comics put into prose Michael Chabon was perhaps the most unlikely comparison I kept making as I read Catton seems like an intellect Obłok Magellana every bit as formidable as Byers but she so far has applied it to structure rather than Destinys Need essentially highbrow story topics Unlike Waters and many other historical novelists her application of modern values is subtle characters are people of their time though perhaps a greater percentage of the well off white men are without fanfare decent and civil to Gabe (Alvarez Security ever making a song and dance about it which periodically gives a rather pleasant time warp Tony (Alvarez Security effect The setting at least for most non ANZ readers has much novelty and interest when so much Victoriana focuses on London plus it has similarities to the Wild West along with its own distinctive character It s often uite possible to imagine if only one could put the words together a bit nicely had greater stamina for writing at length c how it might have been possible to write various books The Luminaries though is from a writing perspective a fairly mind boggling achievement that sounds almost as difficultand almost as much a potential impediment to producing a good story as do the letter missing out antics of Georges Perec 1 It is a highly complex mystery which would in itself be a considerable invention2 Each of its 12 parts has a word count The Simon Iff Stories & Other Works exactly half that of its predecessor3 Astrology a pre Polish-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary existing complex fictional system has been used as a starting point for the characters interactions A three stairs in one stride step up in intricacy from the use of playing cards in The Rehearsal Not only that but Catton has partially refashioned astrology to her own purpose by making The Best Interface Is No Interface each of the main characters a sign or a planet and various buildings the houses on the chart such that for James Fitzjames example Mercury in Aries means a meeting of those two characters I think it would also be perfectly possible to Contemporary Poetry enjoy the book as a story whilst ignoring or knowing little of these aspectsTowards the Sweet 16 end of the book it s possible to see the decreasing word count become slightly burdensome as the in which chapter descriptions start to near the length of the text they precede These same length constraints mean that there are several short chapters going into detail about Chasing Vermeer (Chasing Vermeer, events to a level that isn t always necessary but which I nearly always found interesting At least Catton doesn t use this tailing off to tie the present fates of the characters up too neatly I and probably a lot of readers of a book like this prefer some unknowns at the Something Wonderful (Sequels, end although it s not terribly Victorian What is impressive though is that the content never seems forced or unnatural only the layout and chapter divisions indicate something unusual is going onThe astrological themed characters are an object lesson in how a seriously good writer can make archetypes into interesting personalities few of whom Men In Petticoats end up seeming like stock characters there s something atypical or unexpected about nearly all of them which offsets their origins Sometimes it s Jungle Fever (Jessicas Seduction easy to spot how it s done Bride for a Night eg a spendthrift dandy who s Scandinavian Most have a cartoonish yet complex uality which reminds me of good comics I didn t find out that twelve of the characters were based on star sign attributes though the planetary ones were clearer somehow from the obliue dramatis personae until I d read over 200 pages Once I knew this it all fell into place and I occasionally had to banish mental pictures of the Atomic Design early 90 s Creme Egg ads when certain characters appeared but given that a I know far than I d like about astrology and b I think I read uite closely I was all the impressed with Catton s characterisation for not having been able to help making it ridiculously obvious as many authors would haveA drawback of the astrological scheme is that the planet in sign chaptering led to rather a lot of one on one conversations What they characters are saying is generally Great Goddesses exciting and sometimes the chats become a framing device but the format led to a slight background monotony that was at odds with my otherwise great Transference Countertransference enjoyment of the book This is why it s a rounded down not rounded up 45 The uieter among these conversations in which we witness characters communication of information some of which we may already know and their reactions and in which telling not showing is really part of the useful action reminded me of 18th 19th century Linchpin epistolary novelsWhilst sceptics surely can t argue with the idea of using one made up system to make up something The Shadow of Gods (The Godling Chronicles, else I ve noticed a few press reviews which are puzzled by the astrological basis of the novel when only one character Lydia Wells has any The Tropes of Fantasy Fiction enthusiasm for star signs To me it seemed another mental leap by the author to use this scheme for a story with a cast of hippies psychics Doctor Strange etc would have been obvious Instead the story in The Luminaries is seasoned with astrology but not I would say overwhelmed by it similar to the way Celine Julie Go Boating is seasoned with magic both stage and The End of Everything (The Risen Dead, Pt. 1) esoteric Though perhaps it s only if one s had much familiarity with astrology that it doesn t seem off key to see it applied to non adherents to things and people which seem unrelated to the subject Everyone has a horoscope whether they ve The Embrace ever taken any notice of it or not Even Richard Dawkins My own knowledge comes from OCD like phases of struggle with superstitious systems plus a tendency to hoover up information I managed to break from astrology after discovering fixed star astrology which added a near Madoc, Vol. 5 exponential number of Humiliated by My Husband and Best Friend extra possibilities so that crucially from within the system itself and not only from outside it all started to seem nonsensical and as if it could be made to say anything I was a little disappointed that according to this interview Eleanor Catton seems for the moment to Heart of Darkness (Includes: Lords of the Underworld embrace astrology unuestioningly although she must be Wim Crouwel exactly six years The last one was Darkmans pure coincidence that the names almost mirror And like the Nicola Barker it was so Białe. Zimna wyspa Spitsbergen enjoyable that the book was rarely burdensome হারেম even if I did take a day off in the middle for a sub 300 pager which helpedI would love to see The Luminaries win the Booker There are two or three contenders between which I can hardly choose Though its scale of ambition and Wolf Protector (Federal Paranormal Unit, experiment and sheer bulk lead inevitably to a few imperfections that wouldn t be found in a conventionally structured polished novel of a uarter of its length Regardless it was My Horizontal Life enormous fun very readable and Pitu i Kudłata Dają Radę ever so clever

Eleanor Catton ☆ 2 Characters

Et in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events A wealthy man has vanished a prostitute 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 f. Twelve men meet at the Crown Hotel in Hokitika New Zealand in January 1866 A thirteenth Walter Moody an educated man from Edinburgh who has come here to find his fortune in gold walks in As it unfolds the interlocking stories and shifting narrative perspectives of the twelve now thirteen men bring forth a mystery that all are trying to solve including Walter Moody who has just gotten off the Godspeed ship with secrets of his own that intertwine with the other men s concernsThis is not an important book There is no magnificent theme no moral thicket no people to emancipate no countries to defend no subtext to unravel and no sizable payoff Its weightiness is physical coming in at 832 pages And yet it is one of the most marvelous and poised books that I have read Although I didn t care for the meandering rambling books of Wilkie Collins I am reminded here of his style but Catton is so much controlled and possesses the modern day perspective in which to peer backI felt a warmth and a shiver at each passing chapter set during the last days of the New Zealand gold rush Catton hooked me in in this Victorian tale of a piratical captain a Maori gemstone hunter Chinese diggers or hatters the search for colour gold a cache of hidden gold s ances opium fraud ruthless betrayal infidelity a politician a prostitute a Jewish newspaperman a gaoler shipping news shady finance a ghostly presence a missing man a dead man and a spirited romance And there s between Dunedin and Hokitika to titillate the adventurous readerPrimarily THE LUMINARIES is an action adventure sprawling detective story superbly plotted where the Crown Hotel men try to solve it while sharing secrets and shame of their own There s even a keen courtroom segment later in the story And there are crucial characters that are not gathered in the Crown that night who link everyone together The prostitute and opium addict Anna Wetherell is nigh the center of this story as she is coveted or loved or desired by all the townspeopleThe layout of the book is stellar the spheres of the skies and its astrological charts You don t need to understand the principles and mathematics of astrology I don t but it is evident that knowledge of this pseudoscience would add texture to the reading experience as it provides the structure and frame of the book The characters traits can be found in their individual sun signs such as the duality of a Germini The drawings of charts add to the mood and the chapters get successively shorter after the long Crown chapter The cover of the book illustrates the phases of the moon from full moon to sliver alluding to the waning narrative lengths as the story progressesBut onward also rolls the outer sphere the boundless present which contains the bounded pastTake note of the cast list at the beginning which is uite helpful for the initial 200 or 300 pages With so many vivid characters coming at you at once it is difficult at first to absorb However as the pages sail and they will if this appeals to you you won t even need the names and professions The story and its striking almost theatrical players become gradually and permanently installed thoroughly and unforgettably From the scar on Captain Francis Carver s cheek to the widow s garment on Anna Wetherell s gaunt frame the lively images and descriptions animate this boisterous vibrant storyCatton is a master storyteller she combines this exacting 19th century style and narrator and the we that embraces the reader inside the tale with the faintest sly wink of contemporary perspective Instead of the authorial voice sounding campy stilted and antiuated there is a fresh whiff of nuanced canniness a knowing Catton who uncorks the delectable Victorian past by looking at it from the postmodern futureYou will either be intoxicated by this big brawl of a book or weighed down in its heft If you are looking for something than it is then look no further than the art of reading There s no mystery to the men Catton lays out their morals scruples weaknesses and strengths at the outset The women had a little poetic mystery to them but in all these were familiar players she drew up stock 19th century characters but livened them up so that they leaped madly from the pages There isn t much to interrogate except your own anticipation If you ve read COLOUR by Rose Tremain don t expect any similarities except the time place setting and the sweat and grime of the diggers Otherwise the two books are alike as fish and feathersThe stars shine bright as torches or are veiled behind a mist like the townspeople and story that behave under the various constellations Catton s impeccably plotted yarn invites us to dwell in this time and place At times I felt I mined the grand nuggets of the story and at other times it blew away like dustBut there is no truth except truth in relation and heavenly relation is composed of wheels in motion tilting axes turning dials it is a clockwork orchestration that alters every minute never repeating never stillWe now look outwardwe see the world as we wish to perfect it and we imagine dwelling there


10 thoughts on “The Luminaries

  1. says:

    The curious case of the 3 star review I reviewed The Luminaries for We Love This Book a web magazine that is now

  2. says:

    I am ashamedI am a foolish reader who like many take on a booker short list or a booker winner and expect it to wow me And it did and it didn't

  3. says:

    I'm abandoning this book with regret for having read it against my better judgement without thorough research And yes I'm two starring and reviewing an unfinished book If that offends you to your very core then stop reading now You'v

  4. says:

    5 superlative intricate and fascinating stars 4th Favorite Read of 2015 Wow just wow This is a very long book and so I developed a uiz to see if you are a potential reader of this most amazing tome1 Did you love The Alienist by Caleb Carr?2 Did you adore Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel?3 Do you like your mysteries intelligent complex and

  5. says:

    Twelve men meet at the Crown Hotel in Hokitika New Zealand in January 1866 A thirteenth Walter Moody an educated man from Edinburgh who has come here to find his fortune in gold walks in As it unfolds the interlocking stories and shifting narrative perspectives of the twelve now thirteen men bring forth a myst

  6. says:

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel From Beginning to Bookend An impressive literary feat – intricate challenging and singularly structured to mimic the waning moon – that will likely appeal to fans of T

  7. says:

    45 A rip roaring yarn and awe inspiring use of experimental form it's not every day you see that in a book Like Catton's previous near masterpiece The Rehearsal this suffers from a rather misleading cover The illustration and the very title The Luminaries seem to allude to a different world entirely a world of drawing rooms and calling cards and gowns p31 not a mystery adventure involving gold prospectors prostitutes drug addiction and fr

  8. says:

    I'm a New Zealander like the author Everyone here is raving about this book including people who write great novels themselves I'm feeling pretty miserable about the fact that I couldn't get into it forced myself to read halfway started again and then gave up in despair I liked the beginning started to identify with the first character Moody then lost the plot when the other 14 or so main characters took over the story

  9. says:

    Review #642 in which the reviewer tries to fathom why she chose to read this book about the gold rush given that she'd avoided reading it for

  10. says:

    Aries the Ram thrusts forward discarding the past except as a symbol of what has been overcome Fearsome single minded Aries This book

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