THE OFFICIAL BLURB:
Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, a breathtaking feat of storytelling where everything is connected, but nothing is as it seems…. It is 1866, and 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 met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. 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 fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky. Eleanor Catton was only 22 when she wrote The Rehearsal, which Adam Ross in the New York Times Book Review praised as “a wildly brilliant and precocious first novel” and Joshua Ferris called “a mesmerizing, labyrinthine, intricately patterned and astonishingly original novel.” The Luminaries amply confirms that early promise, and secures Catton’s reputation as one of the most dazzling and inventive young writers at work today.
I love to hate a compelling novel. I love the fact that I can’t put it down but hate that I can’t put it down at the same time! These kind of reads usually end in sleep deprivation, neglect of household chores, an increase in height of unfolded washing piles, lack of groceries in the pantry and long unexplained absences from my family and friends. My sincere apologies to all affected!
The Luminaries goes round and round in circles like a game of Chinese Whispers of mammoth proportions. But each whisper exposes an additional element to the unraveling story – a specific character, an event or an assumption made or previously eluded to.
Among the key players who are unknowingly and almost secretively drawn together like Freemasons called to a Masonic Lodge are an Ex-Lawyer, a Magistrates Assistant, a Chaplin, a Newspaper Editor and Jew, a Banker, a 17th Century Pimp, a Chinaman or two, an Alchemist and a Maori. Most start out as complete strangers but each one’s experience to hand, and collaboration of knowledge, sets free the cogs of truth and justice.
The setting and era – The New Zealand Goldrush, 1866 – lends itself to the theatrics of sea voyages, Bonanzas, Indigenous Culture, Multiculturalism, The Opium Wars, vengeance, fraud, homicide, discovery, blackmail, truth & lies. All of which are told by Eleanor Catton with connectivity, interconnectivity, intra-connectivity and an inventiveness that earned her The Man Booker Prize of 2013. CONGRATULATIONS!