Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Luminaries


Image of The Luminaries
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.


I normally read at least 40+ books a year. This year as Shelfari helpfully tells me "I'm behind my pace". This is the book that did that to me, it took soooo long to read.
I know it is an awarding winning book - however IMO....
This book is so long that I nearly gave up on reading it to the end. The first half is the retelling of the same story from the different viewpoints of each of the characters, which I don't think quite works in a book of this length. If you could read it over a few days then you would remember who said what, also, reading it on the kindle meant I couldn't retrace what I had read easily either. 
The beautiful writing is what kept me going, akin to Wilkie Collins.  After I reached half way I couldn't put it down as the story had picked up by then. 

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