Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton - 848 Pages - Winner Man Booker Prize 2013

I am very pleased to have a wonderful novel to close out my posting for 2018.  The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton won the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

Set in New Zealand’s South Island in 1866, a gold rush is drawing fortune hunters, called in the local slang, diggers, from all over.  The Luminaries is a Grand work, fully ready to take a place among the 19th century novels on which it is lovingly modeled.  There are multiple central characters, numerous subplots, mysteries, murders, all driven by the greed for gold.  The plot begins when  Walter Moody checks into a hotel in Hokitika, the closest town to the goldfields, now with a wild west boom town feel, planning to equip himself to start prospecting for gold.  Instead he stumbled into a meeting of twelve men, trying to resolve a mysterious set of events.  Catton structures the novel around the Zodiac with each man representing a sign.  

There are Chinese men, a Maori and most of the men being single,a prostitute plays a central part in the story.

I got a real feel for life in New Zealand in 1866.  The characters are very well developed. The plot was quite  exciting and it did not feel long at all.  I was sad when I finished it I enjoyed the work so much.  

You can find numerous reviews of The Luminous online.  The Guardian said 2013 might be the best ever short List for The Man Booker Prize.

Here were the other short listed works.

Man Booker Shortlist 2013

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)

Harvest by Jim Crace (Picador)

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)

Of these I have read and posted on the last three, all very good.

From Goodreads.

Eleanor Catton (born 1985) is a New Zealand author. Catton was born in Canada while her father, a New Zealand graduate, was completing a doctorate at the University of Western Ontario. She lived in Yorkshire until the age of 13, before her family settled in Canterbury, New Zealand. She studied English at the University of Canterbury, and completed a Master's in Creative Writing at The Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington. She wrote her first novel, The Rehearsal, as her master's thesis.Eleanor Catton holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she also held an adjunct professorship, and an MA in fiction from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. Currently she teaches creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology. 

Most books I prefer just E reading, but I would enjoy having a copy of this wonderful novel just to be able to hold it once and a while.  

Mel u


Carole said...

Hi! I'm Carole from Carole's Chatter. I've followed your blog for quite a while now. I wondered if you would like to join the group of bloggers who share their posts on a monthly basis via Books You Loved. I host this link up on the first Wednesday of each month. If you would like to check it out just hop on over to Carole's Chatter. We would all love to see you there. Cheers

Lisbeth said...

I loved the book when I read it. I am not sure though I really understood the greatness of the structure of the book.

Mel u said...

Lisbeth,. I loved this book also. Great to see such books still being written and awarded

Buried In Print said...

One of the aspects of this book which I found so mesmerizing was its handling of time. Part of the magic being, indeed, the way time slips past while you're enjoying the web Catton is weaving. I enjoyed her debut, The Rehearsal, too, but it's very different. It has some layering, but overall it's not quite as complex as this one (of course, few books are)!

What a great one with which to end your reading year!