Luminaries, The

Catton, Eleanor

  1 Reviews

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the West Coast goldfields. On the 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 whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous sum of money 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. [Taken from the book cover.] Winner of the Man Booker Prize. [This book is issued for two months. For groups on a full programme, it counts as two books.]

This title is also offered as part of the Narrative Muse Book Club. View this title on the Narrative Muse website

Comments from Groups

Those who actually finished the book really enjoyed it, although we all found it too long in general. The language was so beautiful and rich, transporting the reader to another time. We loved the twists and the structure was so unique. Recommended only if members are keen to read a very long book. Auckland 302

This book defeated a couple of the group, but those that finished it felt it was worth the effort. The plot was intriguing enough to keep us going to the end despite some finding the language hard going, and trying to keep track of the different characters. Probably need to read again in a while to fully appreciate it! Ohope 006

We were unanimous about the notes, which were excellent. Only two of us thoroughly enjoyed it. The rest found it too complex and complicated, but all admired her writing and the NZ flavour. Christchurch 145

Surprisingly, only a few members really enjoyed or loved the book. "Too long', 'too involved', were some of the comments. All enjoyed the descriptions of Hokitika and gold mining. A lively discussion resulted from the differing opinions. Christchurch 088

We thought it was a brilliant book, but the story could have been written more concisely. We liked each chapter synopsis - it helped us keep up with the story... Karaka 004

We all managed to finish the book - although it was a struggle for some of us. We had a mixed reaction to the book, but all agreed that the prose was excellent and the story a good description of how things were at the time of the gold diggings, and the beginnings of commercial life in the area... Auckland 088



WELL 134
Read by only a few of us who, by and large, enjoyed it while acknowledging that it could have done with editing! Good feel for the environment and the social history of the time. Interesting language, but 800 pages was too much for some to want to tackle.