- Published: 05/09/2013
- ISBN: 9781847085931
- Granta Books
- 848 pages
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.
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
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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.