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The Luminaries Paperback – 3 Apr 2014
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'The Luminaries is an impressive novel, captivating, intense and full of surprises' -- Times Literary Supplement
'The Luminaries is a breathtakingly ambitious 800-page mystery with a plot as complex and a cast as motley as any 19th-century doorstopper. That Catton's absorbing, hugely elaborate novel is at its heart so simple is a great part of its charm. Catton's playful and increasingly virtuosic denouement arrives at a conclusion that is as beautiful as it is triumphant' -- Daily Mail
'It is awesomely - even bewilderingly - intricate. There's an immaculate finish to Catton's prose, which is no mean feat in a novel that lives or dies by its handling of period dialogue. It's more than 800 pages long but the reward for your stamina is a double-dealing world of skullduggery traced in rare complexity. Those Booker judges will have wrists of steel if it makes the shortlist, as it fully deserves' -- Evening Standard
'Eleanor Catton is nothing if not ambitious. Her latest novel, longlisted for this year's Man Booker prize, is an 828-page blockbuster. With astonishing intricacy and patient finesse, Catton brings to life the anomalous nature of 19th-century New Zealand' -- Sunday Times
'Expansive and quite superb. Catton writes with real sophistication and intelligence... with intricate plotting and carefully wrought scenes' --Scotsman
'Every sentence of this intriguing tale set on the wild west coast of southern New Zealand during the time of its goldrush is expertly written, every cliffhanger chapter-ending making us beg for the next to begin. The Luminaries has been perfectly constructed as the consummate literary page-turner' -- Guardian
'An intellectual deconstruction and a remarkable act of literary ventriloquism that truly feels as if it has been written in the same spirit as its antecedents. Although I felt the need to gallop through the book in pursuit of some answer that would satisfy my increasingly painful curiosity, I found myself frequently slowing down to savour Catton's characterisations and gentle wit. The Man Booker judges have really struck gold' --Sunday Express
'For the scale of her ambition and the beauty of its execution, somebody should give that girl a medal' -- Daily Telegraph
'Carefully executed, relentlessly clever, easy to read... Catton sustains a human comedy that sweeps through the hope, the mud, the lies and the secrecy underlying gold fever. It is not so much a morality play as an astute celebration of the power of the story' --Irish Times
'The 2013 Man Booker prize-winner is, even in paperback, a hefty tome. Catton's irresistibly intricate plot makes the pages fly by. Snappy dialogue, crisp humour and grand vision sets this far above its rivals *****' -- Daily Telegraph
'Truly dazzling' --Paperback review, Sunday Herald
'An immense feat of structuring and plotting which means that this novel starts as a gentle stroll and ends with the exhilarating sense of running downhill ... Ambitious, intricate, spectacular' --Independent
'I enjoyed The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton's game of literary Cluedo so much I had to ration myself to 50 pages a day' --'Book of the Year', Observer
‘Addictive [and] very clever.’ (The Times)
‘A breathtakingly ambitious mystery ... Catton's playful and increasingly virtuosic denouement arrives at a conclusion that is as beautiful as it is triumphant.’ (The Daily Mail)
‘A dream novel: stellar in every way.’ (The Economist)
'A book to curl up with and devour, intricately plotted and extravagantly described, a pastiche of the Victorian sensation novel in the same smart yet playful vein as Sarah Waters.' (The Guardian)
‘An immense feat of structuring and plotting which means that this novel starts as a gentle stroll and ends with the exhilarating sense of running downhill ... Ambitious, intricate, spectacular.’ (The Independent) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
I had a vested interest in finishing this book as Catton is writing about the history of the country I grew up in, a country that was settled by immigrants to a New World of which I (and the author) was one.
There is so much to admire in this hugely ambitious book, not least the complex structure. As the astrology is the key to understanding the overall circular structure, each of the twelve parts is prefaced by an astrological chart. At at the start of the book a character chart highlights the personality types in each sign of the zodiac. Then there is the interplay between the astrological chart with its twelve signs of the zodiac and the structure of the twelve parts themselves. Each one is half the length of the preceding one until the last chapter is barely more than a few paragraphs long.
The Luminaries is beautifully written and Catton has a sly sense of humour, particularly in her use of language that mimics the style of Wilkie Collins and Dickens. However, where Catton and Dickens do differ is in terms of characterisation. I was determined to finish this book, but by the time I'd read 75% of the book my favourite character had been killed off. And I realised that even by this late stage of the book I had very little emotional connection to the remaining characters. There were one or two I felt sorry for, but that's different from actively wanting to find out what happens to them.
And then I had a moment of realisation as I thought about that circular structure. That must mean then that there wasn’t necessarily going to be a resolution.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I read this about a year ago and it went on FOREVER! I kept waiting to discover what it was about, but never found it. What was it all about? Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
What a totally tedious tale with an abrupt and unsatisfactory ending. Excruciatingly long winded. The whole book could easily have achieved its end in half its length.Published 1 month ago by Spinningmoon
This is a fascinating, unputdownable, chalenging and exciting read. I picked it up several times and put it down again as I couldn't imagine the lives of gold prospectors in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pat Barnett
This had all the hallmarks of a book I would love, but I have to say that I really struggled with it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
This Man Booker Prize winner was chosen by my local reading group as our book to read for April. At first glance, The Luminaries looks like a daunting proposition because it is... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Siltone
A beautifully written and elegantly structured and crafted book in my opinion.
I loved the slow reveal. Anyone who knows anything about literature will like this book. Read more