Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, struggles to find his place in the world; his roommate Roger, an HIV-positive musician, wonders how he will leave his mark before he dies. Mimi and Angel look for true love as they face the harsh reality of life as HIV-positive young people, while the businesslike Joanne seeks fidelity from her wild-child performance artist girlfriend Maureen. Sagittarius: Newsies - Based on the real-life Newsboy Strike of , this new Disney musical tells the story of Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy who dreams of a life away from the big city.
Having inherited a shoe factory from his father, Charlie forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of hugh-heeled boots and save the business. In the process, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all. Aquarius: Hair - A product of the hippie counterculture and sexual revolution of the late s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. It tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner.
She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. Throughout the show, no one has faith in Elle Woods, but she manages to surprise them when she defies expectations while staying true to herself. To any reader who reads books as an art critic views a great master, they will read and hear the subtleties of the writer's mind as they structure their work, layer upon layer, until a masterpiece is drawn.
They will see and know the influences that formed the concept and guided the writer's pen in its construction. And reading Eleanor Catton's masterful use of the English language, and her homage to the Victorian masters of literature, I was greatly humbled, and completly understood why she was shortlisted. She is a sublime writer. For a 'proper' review I would urge you to read Antinomasia's review on GR. No review have I read sofar is so discerning and informed.
If I had read this before I bought and invested so much time reading a book too long for this reader to enjoy, I would never have bought it in the first place. It is a book for the discerning reader, and not the 'pop' reader, who likes his fiction to the point, entertaining, engrossing, informative, and exercising to a degree I am a lazy reader, prolific, but utimately shallow.
Present me with too many concepts and inventions in a book then I grow impatient. Join too many 'exercises' in the writer's craft together, and I become frustated. Strip away the artists concept, and if I do not have a picture that I can glimpse and enjoy for all its colour and story then all I see is a few squirls of paint, thoughtfully applied, but ultimately a poor picture to fill a mind with interest. The Luminaries is an average story. It is like so many winners of the Tate Prize in art. How many winners would you really want to grace your shelves, tabletops and alcoves?
My shelves no longer have room for such large tomes. What can I remove to the charity shop. Characters were so many, their voices seem to merge into the same sound. They began to form a crowd in my mind, all speaking the same voice, their personalties indiscernible. The astrology was lost on me. The Luminaries is indeed a worthy Booker winner. It is art in writing. But for a reader who takes Alister McClean to the beach, Jeffrey Archer to bed, and lies on the summer grass filling his head with Asimov I was never the reader for this book.
View all 46 comments. Jan 04, Jennifer aka EM rated it it was ok. I'm abandoning this book, with regret for having read it against my better judgement, without more thorough research. And yes, I'm two-starring and reviewing an unfinished book. If that offends you to your very core, then stop reading now. You've been warned! I am ashame I'm abandoning this book, with regret for having read it against my better judgement, without more thorough research.
Everyone here is raving about this book including people who write great novels themselves. I'm feeling pretty miserable about the fact that I couldn't get into it, forced myself to read halfway, started again and then gave up in despair. The Luminaries is a very long mystery novel which did not enlighten or move me. I am probably not a good judge I find these kinds of comments sad, but telling. Buck up, goodreaders who don't much like The Luminaries! There's enough conspiring against us to make us feel stupid; we don't need books to do that.
I'm way over feeling like it's some flaw in me when I don't like a book that almost everyone else likes. It's not me, book, it's you. I'm just not that into you. We haven't spent that much time together then again, I've read more pages of you than are in the average contemporary novel , but I know you well enough to know this isn't going to work out.
So farewell, best of luck, and I know you're going to find a whole heap o' love out there, coz' you're a real looker, you Man Booker. Man Booker. This book has two fatal flaws for me: 1 fussy structure over character; 2 metaphor gone wild. Although it's not really metaphor gone wild; more like metaphor that is so subtle as to be irrelevant to most readers I certainly do not, and did not.
I think astrology is fun, but dumb here, in both senses. On structure, I know it's there because I've been told so. But all I felt while reading, certainly in the first pages, was: why is this language so expositional and why are these actions so overblown? Why do all these irrelevant details matter? They don't. And neither do the characters, although each one is really intriguing. I would have liked them to be central to the plot, and for the plot to be ascendant over structure.
I guess it wasn't in the stars. Also, setting: New Zealand, , during a gold rush and early settlement. I was so looking forward to being immersed in it; alas, I got absolutely no feeling for it. Biggest disappointment, by far. It's about what happens to us when we read novels — what we think we want from them — and from novels of this size, in particular. Is it worthwhile to spend so much time with a story that in the end isn't invested in its characters?
In other words, I could've been reading Shirley. Or Anna Karenina. So, 12 reflections on The Luminaries. See what I did there? View all 49 comments. Oct 16, Jaidee rated it it was amazing Shelves: five-stars-books. This is a very long book and so I developed a quiz to see if you are a potential reader of this most amazing tome. Did you love "The Alienist" by Caleb Carr? Did you adore "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel? Do you like your mysteries intelligent, complex and compelling? Do you like stories with elements of the supernatural, murder, blackmail and intrigue? Do you like your women wicked and your men wi 5 "superlative, intricate and fascinating" stars!!
Do you like your women wicked and your men wickeder? Do you like writing that is formal, elegant and with a systematic style that ties in brilliantly to both plot and character? Are you fascinated by New Zealand or the chaotic wild west?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions then what are you waiting for On a more serious note- this book is absolutely exquisite and perfect in every way. Catton at the age of 28 has written a novel that will stand the test of time. This book reminded me of a complex mandala This novel is systematic, mystical and endlessly fascinating. She uses astrological charts and also personality traits to predict the futures of her fifteen or so main characters. One could easily do a PHD thesis on this work and believe me I'm sure there are people at it right now.
I'm mighty obliged ma'am View all 78 comments. Sep 27, switterbug Betsey rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites.
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A thirteenth, Walter Moody, an educated man from Edinburgh who has come here to find his fortune in gold, walks in. As it unfolds, the interlocking stories and shifting narrative perspectives of the twelve--now thirteen--men bring forth a mystery that all are trying to solve, including Walter Moody, who has just gotten off the Godspeed ship with secrets of his own that intertwine with the other men's concerns.
This is not an important book. There is no magnificent theme, no moral thicket, no people to emancipate, no countries to defend, no subtext to unravel, and no sizable payoff. Its weightiness is physical, coming in at pages. And yet, it is one of the most marvelous and poised books that I have read. Although I didn't care for the meandering rambling books of Wilkie Collins, I am reminded here of his style, but Catton is so much more controlled, and possesses the modern day perspective in which to peer back.
I felt a warmth and a shiver at each passing chapter, set during the last days of the New Zealand gold rush. And there's more between Dunedin and Hokitika to titillate the adventurous reader. There's even a keen courtroom segment later in the story. And, there are crucial characters that are not gathered in the Crown that night who link everyone together. The prostitute and opium addict, Anna Wetherell, is nigh the center of this story, as she is coveted or loved or desired by all the townspeople.
The layout of the book is stellar: the spheres of the skies and its astrological charts. You don't need to understand the principles and mathematics of astrology I don't , but it is evident that knowledge of this pseudoscience would add texture to the reading experience, as it provides the structure and frame of the book. The characters' traits can be found in their individual sun signs such as the duality of a Germini.
The drawings of charts add to the mood, and the chapters get successively shorter after the long Crown chapter. The cover of the book illustrates the phases of the moon, from full moon to sliver, alluding to the waning narrative lengths as the story progresses. With so many vivid characters coming at you at once, it is difficult at first to absorb. However, as the pages sail and they will, if this appeals to you , you won't even need the names and professions. The story and its striking, almost theatrical players become gradually and permanently installed, thoroughly and unforgettably.
From the scar on Captain Francis Carver's cheek, to the widow's garment on Anna Wetherell's gaunt frame, the lively images and descriptions animate this boisterous, vibrant story. Catton is a master storyteller; she combines this exacting 19th century style and narrator--and the "we" that embraces the reader inside the tale--with the faintest sly wink of contemporary perspective. Instead of the authorial voice sounding campy, stilted, and antiquated, there is a fresh whiff of nuanced canniness, a knowing Catton who uncorks the delectable Victorian past by looking at it from the postmodern future.
You will either be intoxicated by this big brawl of a book, or weighed down in its heft. If you are looking for something more than it is, then look no further than the art of reading. There's no mystery to the men; Catton lays out their morals, scruples, weaknesses, and strengths at the outset. The women had a little poetic mystery to them, but in all, these were familiar players--she drew up stock 19th century characters, but livened them up, so that they leaped madly from the pages. There isn't much to interrogate except your own anticipation.
Otherwise, the two books are alike as fish and feathers. The stars shine bright as torches, or are veiled behind a mist, like the townspeople and story that behave under the various constellations. Catton's impeccably plotted yarn invites us to dwell in this time and place. At times, I felt I mined the grand nuggets of the story, and at other times, it blew away like dust. We now look outward View all 47 comments. Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. An impressive literary feat — intricate, challenging, and singularly structured to mimic the waning moon — that will likely appeal to fans of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins or anyone in the mood for a demanding mystery of coincidence and collusion laced with corpses, prostitutes, and buried treasure.
View all 27 comments. Shelves: booker , anz , historical-fiction , , decades. Like Catton's previous near-masterpiece, The Rehearsal , this suffers from a rather misleading cover. The illustration, and the very title The Luminaries seem to allude to "a different world entirely One likely t [4. The Luminaries certainly is a pastiche of a kind, though it was never so overwhelmingly Victorian in its style as I expected after seeing a well-known book blogger mention how he abandoned it: "Jeanette Winterson said, "If you want to read 19th-century novels, you may as well read the real thing, and not go out and buy a reproduction.
And it's certainly faster reading than most nineteenth-century originals. The narrative voice has hints of George Eliot whom I was delighted to read Catton also prefers over the Brontes and Austen. But perhaps because I've never read Wilkie Collins, with whom this book's most often been compared so far the experience of reading The Luminaries made me think most of all of Arthur Conan Doyle, back before I'd read the Holmes stories so often they'd become a little boring. Tales of skullduggery and crime often recounted through the medium of conversations between men - sometimes in the telling itself, sometimes as a deep-sea dive into a framed narrative like Heart of Darkness.
Still, those were comparisons to the actual Victorian Neo-Victorian isn't a trend in which I've had much interest other than the odd work by big names like A. Byatt, Sarah Waters and Alan Moore. The larger-than life characters and the sheer pointless fun of this story do, for me, recall comics put into prose. Michael Chabon was perhaps the most unlikely comparison I kept making as I read.
Catton seems like an intellect every bit as formidable as Byers but she so far has applied it to structure rather than essentially highbrow story-topics. Unlike Waters and many other historical novelists her application of modern values is subtle; characters are people of their time, though perhaps a greater percentage of the well-off white men are, without fanfare, decent and civil to ethnic minorities and to women of questionable backgrounds than may have been the case in the real mid nineteenth century. Characters of all origins are treated with equal dignity by the narrative, again, without ever making a song and dance about it, which periodically gives a rather pleasant time-warp effect.
The setting, at least for most non-ANZ readers, has much novelty and interest, when so much Victoriana focuses on London; plus it has similarities to the Wild West along with its own distinctive character. The Luminaries though, is from a writing perspective a fairly mind-boggling achievement that sounds almost as difficult,and almost as much a potential impediment to producing a good story, as do the letter-missing-out antics of Georges Perec.
A three-stairs-in-one-stride step up in intricacy from the use of playing cards in The Rehearsal. Not only that but Catton has partially refashioned astrology to her own purpose by making each of the main characters a sign or a planet, and various buildings the houses on the chart - such that, for example, Mercury in Aries means a meeting of those two characters. I think it would also be perfectly possible to enjoy the book as a story whilst ignoring or knowing little of these aspects. Towards the end of the book, it's possible to see the decreasing word-count become slightly burdensome as the "in which" chapter descriptions start to near the length of the text they precede.
These same length constraints mean that there are several short chapters going into detail about earlier events to a level that isn't always necessary, but which I nearly always found interesting. At least Catton doesn't use this tailing-off to tie the "present" fates of the characters up too neatly. I and probably a lot of readers of a book like this prefer some unknowns at the end - although it's not terribly Victorian. What is impressive, though, is that the content never seems forced or unnatural - only the layout and chapter divisions indicate something unusual is going on.
The astrological-themed characters are an object lesson in how a seriously good writer can make archetypes into interesting personalities, few of whom end up seeming like stock characters; there's something atypical or unexpected about nearly all of them which offsets their origins. Sometimes it's easy to spot how it's done: e.
Most have a cartoonish yet complex quality which reminds me of good comics. I didn't find out that twelve of the characters were based on star-sign attributes though the planetary ones were clearer, somehow from the oblique dramatis personae until I'd read over pages. Once I knew this it all fell into place — and I occasionally had to banish mental pictures of the early 90's Creme Egg ads when certain characters appeared — but given that a I know far more than I'd like about astrology and b I think I read quite closely I was all the more impressed with Catton's characterisation for not having been able to help making it ridiculously obvious as many authors would have.
A drawback of the astrological scheme is that the planet-in-sign chaptering led to rather a lot of one-on-one conversations. What they characters are saying is generally exciting, and sometimes the chats become a framing device, but the format led to a slight background monotony that was at odds with my otherwise great enjoyment of the book. This is why it's a rounded-down, not rounded-up 4. Whilst sceptics surely can't argue with the idea of using one made-up system to make up something else, I've noticed a few press reviews which are puzzled by the astrological basis of the novel when only one character, Lydia Wells, has any enthusiasm for star signs.
To me it seemed another mental leap by the author; to use this scheme for a story with a cast of hippies, psychics etc would have been obvious. Though perhaps it's only if one's had much familiarity with astrology that it doesn't seem off-key to see it applied to non-adherents, to things and people which seem unrelated to the subject. Everyone has a horoscope, whether they've ever taken any notice of it or not. Even Richard Dawkins. My own knowledge comes from OCD-like phases of struggle with superstitious systems plus a tendency to hoover up information. I was a little disappointed that, according to this interview Eleanor Catton seems — for the moment - to embrace astrology unquestioningly although she must be enormously intelligent.
But she has at least made a rather stupendous work of art out of it - one started when she would have been only This is, incidentally, the first novel of its size I've finished in exactly six years. The last one was Darkmans - pure coincidence that the names almost mirror. And like the Nicola Barker, it was so enjoyable that the book was rarely burdensome even if I did take a day off in the middle for a sub pager, which helped. I would love to see The Luminaries win the Booker.
There are two or three contenders between which I can hardly choose.
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Though its scale of ambition and experiment, and sheer bulk, lead inevitably to a few imperfections that wouldn't be found in a more conventionally-structured, polished novel of a quarter of its length. Regardless, it was enormous fun, very readable and ever so clever. View all 11 comments. Sep 14, Maureen Jansen rated it it was ok.
I'm a New Zealander like the author. I liked the beginning, started to identify with the first character, Moody, then lost the plot when the other 14 or so main characters took over the story. The faux 19th century style felt slightly forced and the sentences w I'm a New Zealander like the author. The faux 19th century style felt slightly forced and the sentences were, for me, indigestible. After reading the first quarter of the book I have a vivid picture in my mind of Hokitika in the s.
I like that about it. At the same time it doesn't ring true that the leading lights in a pioneer community would care so deeply about the death of a hermit and apparent attempted suicide of a prostitute. There was a sameness to the dialogue that didn't ring true to me either. Sure, I haven't read any 19th century novels for a long time and have forgotten the style. Whatever the cause, this book didn't enable me to suspend my disbelief. I usually find that challenging novels pay me back for the effort I put into reading them. I gain insights, I identify with the characters, I experience a different part of the world.
The Luminaries is so plot-based that it didn't give me that payback. As for the astrological aspect of the novel, I just didn't get it and the book didn't inspire me to delve into it. I don't feel good writing this about a fellow kiwi's great accomplishment. I was more suited as a reader to Emily Perkins' The Forrests, another long and challenging NZ novel but more character-based. View all 37 comments. Dec 20, mark monday rated it really liked it Shelves: unicorn , rain-man-reviews , fog-and-gears , these-fragile-lives , into-the-past , mnemonic-devices.
Aries the Ram thrusts forward, discarding the past except as a symbol of what has been overcome. Fearsome, single-minded Aries! This book does not fall under the sign of Aries; it is invested in the past, it is enchanted by it. The past is such an important part of the novel that the narrative continues after its climactic resolution with a series of escalating chapters that take the reader back to where it all began. The Luminaries' characters live under the shadow of their own pasts, they judg Aries the Ram thrusts forward, discarding the past except as a symbol of what has been overcome.
The Luminaries' characters live under the shadow of their own pasts, they judge others by their past actions as well. Aries is well-represented by Te Rau Tauwhare, a Maori greenstone hunter. Taurus the Bull is a sign of love, in all of its strength and awkwardness, its earthiness and purity. Obstinate, strong-willed Taurus! This book has a strong Taurean influence: it has at its heart a passionate and moving story of star-crossed lovers, determined to persevere, blind to reason - two parts of a whole that yearn to merge.
Taurus is represented - poorly - by the aloof banker Charlie Frost. Gemini the Twins , sharp and cutting, a sign of the mind, of the air. Impulsive and restless Gemini! This book has a marked Gemini influence in its clever narrative voice, one often sidelined by description and dialogue yet still distinct, full of wit and sly innuendo. Gemini's influence is even stronger when considering the almost dizzying ingenuity of the book's look-at-me structure and its increasingly cheeky chapter introductions. Gemini is represented by Benjamin Lowenthal, a Jewish newspaper editor and a character in need of richer development.
Cancer the Crab moons about in its shell, moody and self-absorbed, yet caring and loyal to the end. Complicated, sensitive Cancer!
The Crab has little to do with The Luminaries, except when looking at the novel in general terms. A strong and thick hardcover book, a complicated structure, a soft heart lurking within. Cancer is well-represented by the hotelier Edgar Clinch. Leo the Lion sits back, the very image of self-satisfaction, a magnet to lesser men, a sun that would have the whole universe revolve around it.
Confident and surprisingly generous Leo!watch
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The heavy-lidded sensuality of the Lion holds court throughout The Luminaries, its beautiful imagery and its rich descriptive prowess openly displayed; well-hung Leo also clearly influenced this book's impressive length. Leo is represented by Dick lol Mannering, a goldfields magnate. Virgo the Virgin is the sign of this reviewer. It is the most wonderful sign imaginable: critical yet fair, judgmental but only in the most loving of ways, altruistic, well-read, self-sacrificing, practically perfect in every way, the Mary Poppins of the Zodiac. All must bow to the wonder of Virgo!
The Virgin is terribly represented by Quee Long, who is about the opposite of any decent Virgo. For shame, Eleanor Catton, you have betrayed the Zodiac with your libelous portrait of a so-called Virgo! Okay here's the one thing that bothered me about The Luminaries: the way it treated its Asian characters. Perhaps because I'm a hyper-critical half-breed who favors his Asian side, I'm always on the look-out for things to irritate me in the way that Asians are represented.
Now I don't think that Catton has an issue with Asians, but it does chafe on a personal level how little they are respected in this novel. I understand the lack of respect coming from other characters, given the time and place. But I resented their actual parts and paths in the narrative - and that's all Eleanor Catton. One Asian is presented as single-minded in the most simple and greedy way possible; another is an opium addict and merchant whose tragic life and grand quest for revenge end in a limp little fizzle, off of the page.
I raged a bit at the injustice of it all. Libra the Scales is a sign of beauty, and much like Beauty itself, displays both grace and superficiality, charisma and vanity. Lovely, indecisive Libra! Libra's scales are seldom in balance; this sign seeks to make things equal and often fails. And so it is with the author of The Luminaries, a Libra on the cusp of Virgo.
Her favorites among the novel's astrological characters are dynamic and richly developed; those less-favored are given mere cameo appearances. But don't look for fairness from a Libra - look for beauty! And there is much beauty within the pages of The Luminaries. Exquisite prose, gorgeous imagery, lovely moments within its lovely love story; the beautiful mind of its author, yearning to be recognized for its brilliance - and rewarded by the Man Booker Prize.
Libra is represented - perfectly - by Harald Nilssen, a commission merchant. Scorpio is the Scorpion , and the Eagle as well. It soars above the earth and lives in its holes. This strange sign is the Investigator of the Zodiac and is also its greatest conundrum - secretive to its core, yet suspicious of secrets in others; dark and unyielding; often cold yet deeply sexual.
Mysterious, obsessive Scorpio! The Luminaries is intimately connected to the Scorpion, in its basic nature as a Mystery Novel and in its refusal to solve certain mysteries, to keep them shrouded in ambiguity. The Eagle dislikes having to explain itself. Scorpio is represented by Joseph Pritchard, a chemist and a perfectly executed character who is left almost entirely off of the page. Perhaps Catton feared the perverse potential lurking within him and so curtailed her exploration of his depths. I also felt the Scorpio influence upon this novel's villain, the dark, manipulative, unknowable Francis Carver.
Sagittarius the Archer shoots an arrow into the future, his true place; Sagittarius the Centaur gallops quickly, heedless of those too simple and slow to keep his pace. Strong-willed, independent Sagittarius! This sign's influence on The Luminaries is striking: it has no patience for readers of the idiot class. It makes scarce concessions to those longing for explanations or a simple plotline; it will give you the opportunity to come into its world and be surrounded, enveloped Sagittarius is well-represented by Thomas Balfour, a shipping agent. Capricorn the Sea-Goat : "still waters run deep" was surely coined for this sign, one whose stable and inhibited surface appearance belies the complicated ambitions within.
Patient, resourceful Capricorn! A courageous introvert, a fastidious intellectual, virile yet chilly, dignified and aloof and rich with hidden depths. The novel The Luminaries was born under the sign of Capricorn. The novel's birth sign is represented - perfectly - by Aubert Gascoigne, a justice's clerk. Aquarius the Water-bearer abhors restrictions and eschews barriers, seeking the enlightenment beyond, traveling the stars without and within, ever in search of wisdom.
Inventive, rebellious Aquarius! But dig deeper and you shall find the sublime Aquarian ruling an eerie and haunting love story, one full of unexplainable visions and brazen leaps of faith.
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Aquarius is well-represented by Sook Yongsheng, a Chinese hatter and lover of opium. Pisces the Fish , Pisces the dreamer, the last sign and the oldest. Pisces yearns for escape, in dreams, in drugs, in art, in the dark damp spaces. Elusive Pisces, the sign of self-undoing!
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I had a Piscean experience when reading this novel. It was my go-to book for a certain period of time, a little bit nearly every morning and every afternoon, for almost 3 months. I escaped into its depths, it was my sweet sweet drug and I fear that I am suffering from withdrawal. This lengthy review was an attempt to live in it again.
Alas, now even this review is over. Pisces is represented - rather poorly - by Cowell Devlin, a chaplain. View all 21 comments. Oct 21, Darwin8u rated it liked it Shelves: Its structure is fascinatingly clever and reminds me a lot of the way Nabokov divided Ada, or Ardor.
Part 1: pgs, Part 2: pgs, Part 3: pgs, Part 4: 96 pgs, Part 5: 40 pages, Part 6: 26 pages, Part 7: 13 pages, Part 8: 10 pgs, Part 9: 6 pgs, Part 6 pgs, Part 4 pages, Part 4 pages. Compare this to Nabokov's ADA: Part 1: pgs, Part 2: , Part 3: 86, Part 4: 32, Part 5: 25 Or looked at slightly differently: Catton is following in the brave tradition of Nabokov, Pynchon, et al in constructing an elaborately structured novel.
The plot is interesting, but at times ends up being a little redundant. Do we really need to look at the same event from twelve different angles? OK, I'm not sure if that actually ever happens, but at points in the novel it felt like it did. The problem with Catton is all the writers I want to compare her to Pynchon, Dickens, Carey, Nabokov demolish her prose.
Her language while precise didn't twinkle or thrill me. Her plot while interesting didn't pull OR push me. Her characters while curious didn't move or provoke me. And her setting, while exotic didn't capture or entice me. She belongs on the shelf next to Eggers, just not next to Nabokov. View all 24 comments.
Aug 20, Doctordalek rated it did not like it Shelves: librarything-first-reads. Disclaimer: I received this book as part of the Goodreads "First Reads" program. A short word before I get into my review. I understand that this book just isn't for me. It's longlisted for the Booker, Goodreads reviewers generally love it, the author is a real up-and-comer I think it may have been unfortunate that I read this book so quickly after reading another that really blew me away Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates , so I kept comparing them even if I Disclaimer: I received this book as part of the Goodreads "First Reads" program.
I think it may have been unfortunate that I read this book so quickly after reading another that really blew me away Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates , so I kept comparing them even if I didn't want to or mean to as I read this one. As a quick glance into my mindset, I'll post a comparison here and maybe you can understand why I just couldn't get into the book. Both books included parts where people were looking into mirrors, as a way for the author to describe what drives these superficial, yet self-conscious, people.
One glance in a mirror and we see how superficial and vulnerable this person is. In The Luminaries, Catton describes a man looking into a mirror in this way. I find it to be terribly long-winded and boring: "Moody was not unaware of the advantage his inscrutable grace afforded him. Like most excessively beautiful persons, he had studied his own reflection minutely and, in a way, knew himself from the outside best; he was always in some chamber of his mind perceiving himself from the exterior.
He had passed a great many hours in the alcove of his private dressing room, where the mirror tripled his image into profile, half-profile and square: Van Dyck's Charles, though a good deal more striking. It was a private practice, and one he likely would have denied - for how roundly self-examination is condemned, by the moral prophets of our age! As if the self had no relation to the self, and one only looked in mirrors to have one's arrogance confirmed; as if the act of self-regarding was not as subtle, fraught and ever-changing as any bond between twin souls.
In his fascination Moody sought less to praise his own beauty than to master it. Certainly whenever he caught his own reflection, in a window box, or in a pane of glass after nightfall, he felt a thrill of satisfaction - but as an engineer might feel, chancing upon a mechanism of his own devising and finding it splendid, flashing, properly oiled and performing exactly as he had predicted it should. That's a mouthful that does two things: 1.
I like the bit about the engineer, it's a great line. That plus one other sentence would have been sufficient. But this book is filled with paragraphs upon paragraphs, pages upon pages, which could be cut out completely or at least shortened considerably. It's over pages that could literally be used to fend off a home intruder. I worry that some young authors feel that they have to write a two-inch-thick saga in order to be taken seriously. I really struggled to read it and found that time was grinding to a halt. I read so I can relax and enjoy being swept away into another world.
If this other world is so boring and tortuous that it makes me want to stop reading, it's just not worth it. I obviously don't "get" the book. It's nothing against the author, who will have a long and fruitful career even though I didn't like what she wrote. View all 12 comments. Jan 27, Helene Jeppesen rated it really liked it. Wow, I have never ever in my life read a book like this before!
A book that made me so confused that I was on the verge of giving up on ever understanding what was going on, but at the same time I was extremely intrigued and needed to know what was happening. I started out as a big question mark, I ended with a smile on my face and a "aha" coming out of my mouth. Still, I'm not confident that I've completely understood everything, but it feels great! It basically feels like Eleanor Catton took m Wow, I have never ever in my life read a book like this before!
It basically feels like Eleanor Catton took my mind and tossed it into a tornado before letting everything settle in great understanding. Are you confused by this description? Well, that's what this book does to you. This story takes its focal point in Walter Moody, but at the same time it's not at all about Walter Moody. It is set in New Zealand among gold diggers; however, very little of the story deals with actual gold digging. I think what impresses people the most about this book is the way it is beautifully structured around stars and destinies among stars.
The first chapters are endless with one-line introductions - the last chapters are shorter than their introductions. Everything fits perfectly, and this perfection entwines with the story which starts out as a confusing mess but ends with all the answers. I need to reread this book someday because this is one of those books that you need to read again in order to understand everything. However, if you've never read it, I recommend that you do so because this is quite a unique reading experience! View all 7 comments. Apr 23, Jaline rated it it was amazing Shelves: x-favourites.
This is one of the most impressive books I have read in a long time. Complex and filled with fascinating characters that held my interest, in part because time and place were also so vivid and real. I found it very enjoyable! View all 34 comments. Oct 18, Dan Petegorsky rated it it was ok. For me, at least, the greatest mystery of this massive whodunit is how it won the Booker Prize. I don't think I can do any better describing it than this review from The Guardian , which I'd have been better off reading before I read the novel.
While the reviewer sees these traits as a mark of meta literary genius, for me it was just the opposite: "But it is also a massive shaggy dog story; a great empty bag; an enormous, wicked, gleeful cheat. For nothing in this enormous book, with its exotic a For me, at least, the greatest mystery of this massive whodunit is how it won the Booker Prize. For nothing in this enormous book, with its exotic and varied cast of characters whose lives all affect each other and whose fates are intricately entwined, amounts to anything like the moral and emotional weight one would expect of it.
That's the point, in the end, I think, of The Luminaries. It's not about story at all. And which, to deepen the mystery, wasn't even longlisted for the Booker Prize. Go figure. View all 10 comments. Shelves: reviewed , read , library-loan , literary-fiction , 3stars , adult-fiction. However The Luminaries is pages of story in a hardback weighing 1. So what is The Luminaries about??? It was about solving a series of mysterious occurrences and crimes in s New Zealand when mining the goldfields was the way to make your fortune.
So you could say that The Luminaries at its heart was a love story between man and gold! But the reason I was facetious about the plot of this book is because of how long the story took to get going. Oh my god pages of set-up Needless to say it got tedious!! I LOVE a good slow burner. Oh when the plot is filled with atmosphere, tension, gorgeous descriptions, in depth characterisations…. THIS however……… Oh. What she is not , is a good editor!!!! If she can describe one tiny element of person or situation in one paragraph then it is MUCH too brief for her.
She needs to write at least two pages about the one thing! And as I said it is lovely to have everything so detailed and described If you get too much of one thing it makes you feel queasy. Or it gets boring, dull, repetitive!!! I just wanted to tear my eye balls out from the tediousness of her writing style at times. I guess I can see how the critics fawned over this writing and her wonderful grasp on the English language but it felt like showing off!!! And then we get to the omniscient narrator, narrators, whatever……. He, she, we, it… I do not care!!!!
We get it dear all-knowing and powerful narrator!!! You are smart. You are wise. You are always in control directing us poor meek clueless readers…. There is nothing I hate more than a patronising narrator. And good gosh this was a patronising narrator. What we got were pastiches at best. Yes characters had some backstory but they all felt uninspired to me. Lacking emotion. Not one character did I feel anything for… not hate, not love, not even like… just a whole lot of apathy.
But you kept reading for pages Emer and your status updates stated that you enjoyed the book?? Explain that one!! My name is Emer and I love to argue with books. See I get this perverse pleasure out of disagreeing with books, especially books with omniscient narrators!!!