- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 29 hours and 14 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 15 Oct. 2013
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00FTV4D1C
The Luminaries Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
So when Walter Moody, a recent Scottish émigré, accidentally gatecrashes a clandestine meeting of twelve local businessmen, he is drawn into their various shady dealings. There is gold lost and found; a missing man; a dead drunk; a suicidal prostitute and a very sinister, scar-faced sea captain. There are tensions between the white settlers and the Chinese camp. Oh, and there is a token Maori. The writing, for the most part, is really good. The setting is conveyed well and the reader feels fully transported through space and time into a complex and authentic world.
But, and it's a big But, the involvement of so many players makes the novel far too complicated and grinds the pace down to a glacial speed. Every player has to have a relationship with each of the other players, resulting in many events being played out multiple times from multiple perspectives. Moreover, the use of reportage to create a non-linear time structure heightens the feeling of repetition. When it seems that the novel has finally moved on, it gets brought back again and again and again. The twelve main characters are supposed to represent different signs of the zodiac and perhaps those who like astrology would recognise their traits and interactions. But for the lay reader, the characters seem rather indistinguishable and, frankly, not much more than a personification of their job.Read more ›
It's not that it's a bad book. It's a beautifully-written pseudo-Victorian mystery, with a strong sense of time and place. Eleanor Catton's "The Rehearsal" was a very promising debut, flawed by over-complexity and over-ambitiousness. The problems of that book, far from being resolved, have been greatly compounded in "The Luminaries." It's simply too long (some 850 pages), too complex and too dull for pleasurable reading. Pseudo-Victorian fiction is a morass for inexperienced writers, tending to the production of much scribbling and damn'd thick, square books -- whereas the Victorians themselves could often be very concise.
Praised to the skies by critics, garlanded with prizes, this is a book which most ordinary readers will struggle with, and the reviews here show that. There are too many characters to remember, too many conversations to follow, too many mysteries to unfold. In a novel that should have been highly original, the reader is left with an impression of endless repetition, of scenes that sprawl and loll, of a prolixity of characters too much alike to one another to inspire interest. Like many other reviewers, I was numbed by boredom, despite the best will in the world.
The book could have worked very well at half the length or less, and with half the characters or less. A great pity. But Eleanor Catton is a very young author who is still learning her craft, and I am confident that her prodigious talent will produce a far better and more enjoyable book very soon.
Normally, I would give Booker-prizewinners a wide berth, fearing over-intellectualism and incomprehensible story lines, but here was one with a crime/mystery theme, and by a New Zealand author, and I'm a NZer myself so, here we go...
For the first 150 pages, I thought my Booker prejudices were validated: hard going, put-downable, especially when I considered the hundreds of pages still to come. But I stuck with it and, very gradually, I found myself getting drawn in, with a mounting curiosity as to where it was going (as one might hope with a mystery). Things were looking up! (aided, I should say, means of one of the characters providing a 2-3 page summary of the story so far at the end of Part I, some 350 pages in - very helpful, this, you can look forward to it). And so on to the full 827 pages, but, after all that, to a damp-squibbish ending. Was that it? - after all that?
Notwithstanding the critics' accolades, I dare to say I can't understand how this story can be highly rated. The book is far, far, too long, moving at a glacial pace; the story is stupifyingly complex, propped up with far too many coincidental events and long-shot chance happenings; then there's the sleight-of-hand techniques such as two characters having the same name (or was it one character having two names? - can't remember, it's gone); and don't get me started on the resolution of the "missing bullet" saga - I'll keep this from you. Is this really award-winning stuff?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
3 different friends recommended this to me and I thought it was wonderful. Don't be put off by the reviews claiming it to be too complicated or slow - I thought it was intricate,... Read morePublished 1 day ago by LEW
A very long read, impressively executed. I am glad I read it but it is a hard book to love... Addictive but ultimately unsatisfying.Published 11 days ago by Ajescent
One day in the mid-1860s, potential gold-digger Walter Moody steps off a ship in the town of Hokitika on the south island of New Zealand. He’s just had a nasty shock. Read morePublished 14 days ago by leekmuncher
Got bored with this, too long and drawn out...not my kind of book, sorry...Published 21 days ago by Thomas Small
I just could not get into this book! I have given it two stars instead of one because I would like to give it another shot at some point. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mrs_Schofield
I did not like the structure of this book which went round and round in circles; I know the author was advised to do it differently but she refused. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ender Barbara
For me, this book is a feat of literature - not of storytelling. And it is all the richer for it.
In an age of disposable fiction, with tidy gratification the order of... Read more