I bought Eleanor Catton‘s book because of its plot and the Man Booker Prize award that she won with it. I thought it to be very interesting and indeed it was. I must confess that I started reading it 3 times before I was able to finish it. This happened not because it isn’t very well written or captivating, but because it has so many characters and a twisted plot and the first two times I wanted to read it, my mind was so tired I just couldn’t keep up with the story. But enough about this, let me tell you more about “The Luminaries”
Who are the Luminaries?
The novel starts with the young Walter Moody’s arrival in New Zealand to try his luck as a gold digger in 1866. At the arrival at the hotel he was staying, he met a group of twelve men who were discussing a series of unfortunate events that each one was involved in a way. The incidents that they were talking about were the death of a loner by the name of Crosbie Wells, the intended suicide of the local prostitute, Anna Wetherell and the disappearance of a wealthy young gold digger prodigy, Emery Staines.
The first part of the book consists of each of the men telling why he is in the room and how he is connected to any of the three circumstances. At the end of each narrative. we find out that in all of the stories a name appears, that seems to be involved in all three mysteries: Francis Carver.
Never underestimate how extraordinarily difficult it is to understand a situation from another person’s point of view.
The second part of the book starts after the discussion that involved the thirteen men and the shipwreck of Francis Carver’s ship. From here the plot is no longer narrated from the past, and it contains present events.
Final Badgery thoughts
I love a good mystery book and this is why I really enjoyed “The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton. The novel has 800 or so pages, but it is a real page turner once you understand the story (don’t start reading it if you are tired), so you won’t feel the pressure of a long book.
I really liked how the author associated each of the characters with a zodiac sign and gave her work an unique touch. For those of you who need a romance in order to read a book, let me tell you that in all this madness of gold, murder, and corruption, there is also love involved. So if you haven’t done this already, I suggest you to add “The Luminaries” to your “to be read” list.