12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
A masterful achievement, 5 Nov 2013
The Luminaries is a wonderful book. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the from the first page on you're drawn into an unknown world beautifully painted and completely believable.
The structure of the book is so original, and the breadth of characters and story-telling gives the reader multiple perspectives on the same story, each character building on the story of the previous one.
It's a very ambitious book and the writer has clearly researched and explored the world of 19th century New Zealand, I felt from the very first pages that the picture she paints was both imaginative and accurate and immediately I wanted to know more about those early days of settlement, the towns, the inns, the men, the women that made up the town of Hokitika.
From the bedrooms to the bar and from the opium dens to the courthouse Eleanor Catton paints the most wonderful and vivid picture, that you felt you could see, smell and touch the whole environment.
The story-telling isn't so much about what happens and why, but more it's about the pleasure the reader gets from understanding how it happens, the links between the characters, skilfully revealed over the course of the book.
A great read and highly recommended.