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Book Review: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton


The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Like many people I suspect, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton was the first book on my reading pile for Christmas in 2013. I approached this book with eager anticipation, so proud that this amazing New Zealand author had achieved the Man Booker Prize. I admit it took a while for me to get hooked into the storyline (but I think that was because I was nursing a cold at the time), but by about page 200 the story had me completely gripped and by the time I had finished the book I really only had one word to describe this amazing novel – brilliant.

Historical fiction at its most gripping, The Luminaries is set in 19th-century Hokitika. It opens with the arrival of Charles Moody who discovers 12 men gathered in the smoking room of his hotel. The gathered men begin to recount a mystery, one that concerns a local hermit who has recently died, a missing prospector, an opium-addicted ‘whore’ who seems to have attempted suicide, and a fortune in gold. This is a big, epic story of greed and fortune, hope and desperation, shipwrecks and swindlers. It is one of those tales that I will very probably read again in the future just for the quality of the writing. Eleanor Catton is a highly accomplished novelist and I can’t wait to see what she writes next

#bookreviews #historicalfiction

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