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