The Luminaries | Granta

The Luminaries

Eleanor Catton

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

  • Published: 05/09/2013
  • Ebook
  • ISBN: 9781847085931
  • 848 pages

Irresistible, masterful, compelling. It 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... The things that most impress are the cunning withholding of information, the elegant foreshadowing, the skilful looping back on the narrative

Lucy Daniel, five star review, Telegraph

An immense feat of structuring and plotting which means that this novel starts as a gentle stroll and ends with the exhilarating sense of running downhill... Ambitious, intricate, spectacular

Natalie Haynes, Independent

A breathtakingly ambitious mystery... Catton's playful and increasingly virtuosic denouement arrives at a conclusion that is as beautiful as it is triumphant

Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

The Author

Eleanor Catton was born in 1985 in Ontario, Canada and raised in New Zealand. Her first novel, The Rehearsal, won the 2007 Adam Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters, and a Betty Trask Award. Her second novel, The Luminaries, was awarded the the 2013 Man Booker Prize and the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

The Rehearsal

A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency and power. The publicity seems to turn every act into a performance and every platform into a stage. But when the local drama school decides to turn the scandal into a show, the real world and the world of the theatre are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve … The Rehearsal is an exhilarating and provocative novel about the unsimple mess of human desire, at once a tender evocation of its young protagonists and a shrewd expose of emotional compromise.

Eleanor Catton on Granta.com

In Conversation | The Online Edition

Eleanor Catton | Podcast

Eleanor Catton & Anne Meadows

Anne Meadows talks to Eleanor Catton about opium and gold, whether a good author can also be a sadist and what it means to be a New Zealand writer today.

In Conversation | The Online Edition

Eleanor Catton | Interview

Eleanor Catton

Eleanor Catton, author of the critically acclaimed, Betty Trask-award-winning debut novel, The Rehearsal, talks to Granta.

Fiction | Granta 106

Two Tides

Eleanor Catton

‘The harbour at Mana was a converted mudflat, tightly elbowed and unlovely at any tide but high.’