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3.6 out of 5 stars
675
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 12 May 2017
Having recently returned from Hokitika New Zealand where this book is mainly set ,I was looking forward to reading it ,I wasn't disappointed. It's long and the plot is complicated ,but my advice is stick with it ,it's well worth it. Perhaps not the best choice for those with a short attention span as you need to concentrate on the characters and how they fit into the story, but for those who like a good story intelligently written then give this a try .
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on 6 May 2017
Very long and intricate. Intelligently written with interwoven plots set in mid 1800 gold digging period with unusual characters - haven't finished it yet - I keep thinking I'll give up on it as some of it is overly detailed but then something about it compels me to carry on. Beautifully written if not a bit long winded. Not sure how it will conclude and whether it will be a satisfactory finale.
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on 7 January 2015
Set in the era of the New Zealand gold rush, The Luminaries is a great sprawling epic of a murder mystery, written by a dazzlingly talented, contemporary writer in the style of a Victorian novel.

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. It turned out that I was right as I and many other readers were left with many unanswered questions. This, of course, may have been intentional. I'm afraid though that because I invested so much time reading this book, this unfinished business left me feeling rather let down. I did push on and finish it but didn't feel at all moved by the end or indeed did I take away any deep or lasting themes.

Although I suspect this book, which has won a host of literary awards, will go on to be studied as an example of A Great New Zealand Novel, for me it was a four star rather than a five star read.
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on 26 April 2017
Challenging read, well worth the effort. I intend to read it again.
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on 18 July 2017
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on 14 November 2014
excellent so far
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on 18 July 2017
Quick delivery!
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on 11 September 2014
This book was written in such a heavy old fashioned style that I struggled to get beyond the first chapter. I read it on kindle, which was a huge mistake. There are so many characters to start with that I really couldn't be bothered to go back and check to see who was who. Very much doubt I will try to re read this book, although my other half is looking forward to having ago.
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on 25 October 2016
Very tedious after the first chapter. I thought I was going to enjoy this so took it on holiday, but after a promising start it disintegrated into a novel dominated by its structure to a painful degree.I guess it's all very clever but I just couldn't finish it.
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on 21 November 2013
Have only just started reading, arrived in good condition, seems difficult to 'get into' but no problems. With the book itself
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