The Luminaries

Thoughts tlumbyec The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, Little,Brown and Co 2013, 848 pages. Ebook + Audible = Whispersync

Narrated by Mark Meadows; 29 hours, 14 minutes (if anyone wants me to One-Book this to them, let me know.)

Hokitika = Around. And then back again, beginning.

The blurb from  It 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 met 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 fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely 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-turner.

A book that was exciting! and then sometimes, not.

A book that was complicated; and sometimes almost boring.

“Devlin sipped his whiskey. The taste was smoky and slightly musty; it put him in mind of cured meats, and new books, and barnyards, and cloves.”

A book that had my full attention! until it went over my head and I didn’t care enough to figure it out. (see Astrology:  Each chapter had a title about signs and moons and such. It also included a quick list of what would happen to whom which actually was helpful but I never could figure out the connexions to signs and symbols.)

A book that both tried to inspire me to work harder at getting it!  and then flip-side, had me quite impressed with myself for comprehending what I did.

A book that will likely become one of those books that I can say I’m proud to have read and may one day (but I doubt it) be able to say so at a cocktail party, “Look at me! I read The Luminaries!! I have also attempted Ulysses and loved Les Miserables!  I’m such a good reader. Hhrmpph.”

I’m a lousy ‘reader’. Whatever.

I didn’t get any of the astrology. I just don’t get it. I am a Gemini and the only thing I know about it is that my sign is the twins. And I think maybe this is actually significant to the story in The Luminaries but … well, I’m not sure.

Actually, this aspect (the astrology) is easy to gloss over and really didn’t frustrate me in the least.

I was entertained once I got into the rhythm of the story and finally got the characters straight in my head. I think the narrator did a MARVELOUS job with voices and was even going to commend him for the female voices until the end when I began to think Lydia Greenway was just a little too-too vampish.

I bet I haven’t talked you into reading this, am I right? Ah, if you already have given thought to wanting to read this, please don’t let me talk you out of it. It has many merits and maybe you will love it? Go for it. I’m thinking of getting it for my Dad for Father’s Day…

“A woman fallen has no future; a man risen has no past.”

This was in last year’s Tournament of Books if you want to see how it fared. I tend to agree with the judging mostly.

Have fun!

Rating:  Three slices of fish pie.  “…where he ordered one portion of fish pie – the perennial lunchtime special – and one glass of lemon cordial.”


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17 thoughts on “The Luminaries

  1. Well, I’ve thought a few times about reading this, and each time end up passing. Still don’t think I’ll give it a go…. but I will start adding the “One-Book” offers to my reviews 🙂

    1. I still can’t believe I can’t talk more people into accepting. But I am very interested in seeing if I can accept another! (Michelle gave me Jim Broadbent narrated Harold Fry! It was just as good as reading.)

      1. Haha. Well… I don’t know. You caught my interest, but I have so many unread books I’m looking forward to right now!

  2. I was glad I read this, but at the same time, I don’t think I’d read it again. And someone would have to ask me for a really, really specific kind of recommendation before I’d recommend this. It’s just such a commitment, with the length and the zillions of characters and all the astrology stuff I didn’t get!

    1. It might be a good book to discuss for a class where you love the professor. Or a book club with awesome bright fun people. OK, any book would be great under those conditions. Through in a snarky comic, too and YAY.

    1. I would like to experiment more with it; they say you can and as many as you want but can only receive one. So… Tips better to give than receive ?

  3. Fish pie? Ew. I can’t say that is a high recommendation. However, this has been on my TBR pile since I received a review copy of it. Oops. Someday.

  4. Ohhhhh – well now I’m not so sure I want to give this one a go. Cause I’m really trying to get over caring whether or not I’ve read the difficult books.

    1. Sometimes it feels good to decide that some books will NOT be read. I myself do not care if I miss any of the Russian chunksters. I’m just not interested in attempting War and Peace. I made it through Anna K and I think I’ll call it good.

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