Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review:The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Catton's novel is large in many dimensions and directions. It’s long, it has a large cast, its prose has depth and complexity and the plot takes the reader on a lengthy, not altogether straightforward, journey.  Add to this the Victorian mystery style that begins in one way, then deviates, and the layers of astrology that slip in between each section and you have a challenging and rewarding read.

Catton writes with some recognition that her reader will need tools of recapitulation, ably provided by Walter Moody. She crafts and maintains a admirable sense of the time and setting she’s chosen for the story -– the gold rush years in a young country full of people who have left some other place in their search for somewhere where they might find the life they want.
I counted myself fortunate that I recognised the geography having recently sent some time on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island – at least one aspect of the book was familiar!

I found myself looking forward to the next time I could open my Kindle and read more of this book.  I’m still wondering about the unresolved matters  -more than one and one central to the story. I’m thinking Catton might be writing the sequel right now. If so I’m looking forward to reading it and I’d read this book again.

NB this book is on the Man Booker short list see http://www.themanbookerprize.com/books/luminaries

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