As debuts go, this one is astral - as well as teasing, intelligent and knowing ... Catton anatomizes brilliantly the psychology of youth, its sexual mores, it's posing pretentiousness, its worries, its bravado ... So much accomplishment carried so lightly
It represents a starburst of talent and the arrival of an author wholly different from anyone else writing today
A supremely confident piece of writing ... the clarity of its thought and language make it a definite contender for debut of the year
From the Same Author
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.
Eleanor Catton on Granta.com
In Conversation | The Online Edition
Eleanor Catton | Podcast
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.