The Luminaries (Compact Disc)
Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, a breathtaking feat of storytelling where everything is connected, but nothing is as it seems....
It is 1866, and 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 unsolved crimes. 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 patterned as the night sky.
Eleanor Catton was only 22 when she wrote The Rehearsal, which Adam Ross in the New York Times Book Review praised as "a wildly brilliant and precocious first novel" and Joshua Ferris called "a mesmerizing, labyrinthine, intricately patterned and astonishingly original novel." The Luminaries amply confirms that early promise, and secures Catton''''s reputation as one of the most dazzling and inventive young writers at work today.
I enjoyed the book although it's not one I would have selected on my own. Especially for a debut novel I thought it was well done and engaging. I can't attest to the historical accuracy of the book's premise (yes, I know it's historical fiction). Over-all I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy, entertaining read for beachside (when beaches reopen) or for a weekend of relaxation even if it's in your own backyard. There were moments where I thought the perspectives of the protagonist - Anita (The Woman in Red) - stemmed from our 21st century experiences as opposed to how the setting might have been perceived in the time period of the book, but this wasn't so distracting that it ruined the novel. On an entirely positive note, I would say that one place where most novels fail for me is the ending - too many novels are either entirely predictable or feel rushed and hurried as if trying to tie up all the loose ends. I was not expecting the outcome at the end of The Woman in Red!
Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars . It was a respectable first novel from Diana Giovinazzo, with an engaging story line that was enjoyably uncomplicated yet intriguing, a likeable protagonist, and a surprise ending.
- reviewed by Diane, customer