Controversy[ edit ] During an interview at the Jaipur Literary Festival in January , Catton said that the governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand were led by "neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my Government". I will of course discuss the frightening swiftness with which the powerful Right move to discredit and silence those who question them, and the culture of fear and hysteria that prevails.
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Start your review of The Luminaries Write a review Shelves: victorian-pastiche , historical-fiction , door-stoppers , reviewed-we-love-this-book , booker-winners The curious case of the 3-star review I reviewed The Luminaries for We Love This Book [a web magazine that is now defunct]; here Ill simply attempt to explain why I gave such an accomplished book only 3 stars.
If this was a Victorian paint-by-numbers competition, Catton would have top marks. But something is lacking here.
My main problem, however, is with the opacity of the astrology angle. The esoteric material including horoscope charts at the start of each Part, chapter titles that reference zodiac signs, and lunar cycles that bring the narrative back around to meet its starting point adds little, if anything, to the plot.
While I certainly recognize the skill that such a formal stricture displays, once again this is proof to me of academic accomplishment rather than novelistic vitality. In this respect, the novel appears too clever for its own good.
You will already have unravelled all the vagaries of the plot by then, and you can end on the sweet note of Anna and Staines arriving in New Zealand, ready to face the myriad adventures that await them in the previous pages. If not there, page would do the end of Part Three , or perhaps page the end of Part Four. Perhaps, a touch. I love door-stopper novels — when every page is necessary. I wish I could have deemed The Luminaries a five-star book.
It deserves its accolades thus far and I do hope it makes the shortlist, but did I love it? Ergo, three stars.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – review
The twelve men inform Walter Moody about the events that have happened leading up to the current night. Crosbie Wells, a hermit of no ordinary notice, was found dead in his cabin, from an apparently peaceful death. Cowell Devlin found a letter which states that Emery Staines, a rich and well-liked man in Hokitika who has recently gone missing himself, was to pay 2, pounds to Anna Wetherell, a prostitute well known for frequenting the Chinatown areas of Hokitika, with Crosbie Wells presiding. The man who appears to be at the center of all these occurrences is named Francis Carver, a violent person who coincidentally captained the ship that Moody rode in to Hokitika. There is also a politician named Alistair Lauderback visiting town, himself a shipping magnate, who seems to be wrapped up in the mystery as well.