The Luminaries – Eleanor Cattan

The Luminaries - Eleanor Cattan

The Luminaries – Eleanor Cattan

When this first came out I was quite adamant that I wouldn’t read it – it was too long and too Victorian (I can only do so many of those). However, I needed something on my Kindle and this novel kept popping up in my recommendations. I am glad I read it. I enjoyed it is long and Victorian-like, but it is also compelling. It is reminiscent of a novel version of a Guy Ritchie film – in fact this would make a great film.

Here is the blurb …

It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute 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 ornate as the night sky. Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner.

This is quite a sprawling novel with a large cast of characters and I must admit to getting confused at times – not with the plot but with the characters – was that one the owner of the opera, the agent, clerk at the bank? I suspect on a second reading that this novel would be even better (but who has the time?). There are unexpected connections between people, co-incidences and plenty of mysteries. There is also a mystical element to it all – what happened to the bullet fired from Anna’s gun?

It requires – and rewards – careful reading ( and possibly monogamous reading). It is definitely worth the effort particularly if you have read any 19th century literature.

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