57 of 69 people found the following review helpful
The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton,
This review is from: The Luminaries (Hardcover)
It's a while since I've read such a lengthy book with such a labyrinthine plot. I confess, at times I was confused and gave up trying to hold all the pieces together in my head and just enjoyed the story as it unfolded, which is nevertheless a rich enjoyment, here. Catton does several things incredibly well in this novel: moving her plot along; narrative structure; dialogue; and reader engagement. The plotting is rather obviously the standout achievement (even if at times I let it get away from me), however the intricate way the plot is constructed around the 12 + characters, each of whom has their own part to play and own history to bring, which intermingles with the influence of the characters, is brilliant. I wasn't so sure, though, about the zodiacal conceit. Not really sure what exactly that adds, or whether it was just intended as frill. I must also admit to feeling that it ends rather more with w whimper than a bang, as several events we've already been told about earlier on in the book, are narrated again first-hand, as it were.
However, overall this is a very impressive novel and I would certainly recommend it. It's rare to come across a writer nowadays who attempts something like this, a big doorstop of a book with a Wilkie-Collins-esque maze of a plot.