Monday, September 15, 2014

The Luminaries | Eleanor Catton

A lot has been said about this Man Booker Prizewinning book by New Zealand author Eleanor Catton.

The story centres on Walter Moody who is travelling to the goldfields of Hokitika, in the South Island of New Zealand. There he meets with 12 men who are somehow entwined in the mystery surrounding a series of unsolved crimes. Each man is represented by a celestial symbol, which is drawn at the beginning of each chapter. Other characters also have associations to celestial bodies. The interaction of the characters with each other makes up the bulk of the narrative. I really loved reading this story, which has been written as a circle rather than a straight line. 
Every element of an adventure story is included, gold-rush fever, romance, deceit, murder and a historical context. 

There are a few technical things that Catton has deliberately included in the book. For instance, each chapter is half the size of the previous chapter, a challenge Catton set herself. It is well worth looking out for interviews with her and reading of other challenges she set herself.

I found this book well worth reading but I know some readers find it difficult to get into. I think it is well worth persevering with it as it's so well written. 

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