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The Luminariesby Eleanor Catton
Set in 19th-century New Zealand amidst the frenzy of a gold rush, Catton's stunningly ambitious novel pays homage to Victorian masterpieces but is far from traditional. The characters and structure are ruled by the Zodiac, and as the chapters wane in size, powers shift and revelations multiply. A flawlessly executed literary achievement and winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize.
Synopses & Reviews
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to stake his claim in New Zealand's booming gold rush. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: a wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous cache of gold has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.
Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is at once a fiendishly clever ghost story, a gripping page-turner, and a thrilling novelistic achievement. It richly confirms that Eleanor Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international literary firmament.
"The Luminaries is a true achievement. Catton has built a lively parody of a 19th-century novel, and in so doing created a novel for the 21st, something utterly new. The pages fly, the great weight of the book shifting quickly from right hand to left, a world opening and closing in front of us, the human soul revealed in all its conflicted desperation. I mean glory. And as for the length, surely a book this good could never be too long." Bill Roorbach,New York Times Book Review
"Catton provides descriptions of her characters that are meticulous and precise...The result is a finely wrought fun house of a novel. Enjoy the ride." Chris Bohjalian, Washington Post
"Irresistible, masterful, compelling...The Luminaries has a gripping plot that is cleverly unravelled to its satisfying conclusion, a narrative that from the first page asserts that it is firmly in control of where it is taking us...[Catton is] a mistress of plot and pacing..." The Telegraph
"The type of novel that you will devour only to discover that you can't find anything of equal scope and excitement to read once you have finished...Do yourself a favour and read The Luminaries." The Independent
About the Author
Eleanor Catton holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and an MA in fiction writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
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