➾ The Luminaries Download ➹ Author Eleanor Catton – Pmgtest.info

The Luminaries The proper way to understand any social system was to view it from aboveEleanor Catton, The Luminaries There is certainly a lot to like about Eleanor s novel Its structure is fascinatingly clever and reminds me a lot of the way Nabokov divided Ada, or Ardor Part 1 360 pgs, Part 2 160 pgs, Part 3 104 pgs, Part 4 96 pgs, Part 5 40 pages, Part 6 26 pages, Part 7 13 pages, Part 8 10 pgs, Part 9 6 pgs, Part 10 6 pgs, Part 11 4 pages, Part 12 4 pages Or looked at slightly differenThe proper way to understand any social system was to view it from aboveEleanor Catton, The Luminaries There is certainly a lot to like about Eleanor s novel Its structure is fascinatingly clever and reminds me a lot of the way Nabokov divided Ada, or Ardor Part 1 360 pgs, Part 2 160 pgs, Part 3 104 pgs, Part 4 96 pgs, Part 5 40 pages, Part 6 26 pages, Part 7 13 pages, Part 8 10 pgs, Part 9 6 pgs, Part 10 6 pgs, Part 11 4 pages, Part 12 4 pages Or looked at slightly differently XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxx..Compare this to Nabokov s ADA Part 1 326 pgs, Part 2 120, Part 3 86, Part 4 32, Part 5 25Or looked at slightly differently 111111111111111111111111111111112222222222223333333334444555Catton is following in the brave tradition of Nabokov, Pynchon, et al in constructing an elaborately structured novel The plot is interesting, but at times ends up being a little redundant Do we really need to look at the same event from twelve different angles OK, I m not sure if that actually ever happens, but at points in the novel it felt like it did The problem with Catton is all the writers I want to compare her to Pynchon, Dickens, Carey, Nabokov demolish her prose Her language while precise didn t twinkle or thrill me Her plot while interesting didn t pull OR push me Her characters while curious didn t move or provoke me And her setting, while exotic didn t capture or entice me I want to give her credit for her MFA MCW boxed ambition, but great literature can t be solely rewarded for its ambition and potential The Luminaries lacked the heart, soul and transcendence that a book about the stars and lovers almost demands She belongs on the shelf next to Eggers, just not next to Nabokov Twelve men meet at the Crown Hotel in Hokitika, New Zealand, in January, 1866 A thirteenth, Walter Moody, an educated man from Edinburgh who has come here to find his fortune in gold, walks in As it unfolds, the interlocking stories and shifting narrative perspectives of the twelve now thirteen men bring forth a mystery that all are trying to solve, including Walter Moody, who has just gotten off the Godspeed ship with secrets of his own that intertwine with the other men s concerns.This is Twelve men meet at the Crown Hotel in Hokitika, New Zealand, in January, 1866 A thirteenth, Walter Moody, an educated man from Edinburgh who has come here to find his fortune in gold, walks in As it unfolds, the interlocking stories and shifting narrative perspectives of the twelve now thirteen men bring forth a mystery that all are trying to solve, including Walter Moody, who has just gotten off the Godspeed ship with secrets of his own that intertwine with the other men s concerns.This is not an important book There is no magnificent theme, no moral thicket, no people to emancipate, no countries to defend, no subtext to unravel, and no sizable payoff Its weightiness is physical, coming in at 832 pages And yet, it is one of the most marvelous and poised books that I have read Although I didn t care for the meandering rambling books of Wilkie Collins, I am reminded here of his style, but Catton is so muchcontrolled, and possesses the modern day perspective in which to peer back.I felt a warmth and a shiver at each passing chapter, set during the last days of the New Zealand gold rush Catton hooked me in in this Victorian tale of a piratical captain a Maori gemstone hunter Chinese diggers or hatters the search for colour gold a cache of hidden gold s ances opium fraud ruthless betrayal infidelity a politician a prostitute a Jewish newspaperman a gaoler shipping news shady finance a ghostly presence a missing man a dead man and a spirited romance And there sbetween Dunedin and Hokitika to titillate the adventurous reader.Primarily, THE LUMINARIES is an action adventure, sprawling detective story, superbly plotted, where the Crown Hotel men try to solve it, while sharing secrets and shame of their own There s even a keen courtroom segment later in the story And, there are crucial characters that are not gathered in the Crown that night who link everyone together The prostitute and opium addict, Anna Wetherell, is nigh the center of this story, as she is coveted or loved or desired by all the townspeople.The layout of the book is stellar the spheres of the skies and its astrological charts You don t need to understand the principles and mathematics of astrology I don t , but it is evident that knowledge of this pseudoscience would add texture to the reading experience, as it provides the structure and frame of the book The characters traits can be found in their individual sun signs such as the duality of a Germini The drawings of charts add to the mood, and the chapters get successively shorter after the long Crown chapter The cover of the book illustrates the phases of the moon, from full moon to sliver, alluding to the waning narrative lengths as the story progresses But onward also rolls the outer sphere the boundless present, which contains the bounded past Take note of the cast list at the beginning, which is quite helpful for the initial 200 or 300 pages With so many vivid characters coming at you at once, it is difficult at first to absorb However, as the pages sail and they will, if this appeals to you , you won t even need the names and professions The story and its striking, almost theatrical players become gradually and permanently installed, thoroughly and unforgettably From the scar on Captain Francis Carver s cheek, to the widow s garment on Anna Wetherell s gaunt frame, the lively images and descriptions animate this boisterous, vibrant story.Catton is a master storyteller she combines this exacting 19th century style and narrator and the we that embraces the reader inside the tale with the faintest sly wink of contemporary perspective Instead of the authorial voice sounding campy, stilted, and antiquated, there is a fresh whiff of nuanced canniness, a knowing Catton who uncorks the delectable Victorian past by looking at it from the postmodern future.You will either be intoxicated by this big brawl of a book, or weighed down in its heft If you are looking for somethingthan it is, then look no further than the art of reading There s no mystery to the men Catton lays out their morals, scruples, weaknesses, and strengths at the outset The women had a little poetic mystery to them, but in all, these were familiar players she drew up stock 19th century characters, but livened them up, so that they leaped madly from the pages There isn t much to interrogate except your own anticipation If you ve read COLOUR, by Rose Tremain, don t expect any similarities except the time, place, setting, and the sweat and grime of the diggers Otherwise, the two books are alike as fish and feathers.The stars shine bright as torches, or are veiled behind a mist, like the townspeople and story that behave under the various constellations Catton s impeccably plotted yarn invites us to dwell in this time and place At times, I felt I mined the grand nuggets of the story, and at other times, it blew away like dust But there is no truth except truth in relation, and heavenly relation is composed of wheels in motion, tilting axes, turning dials it is a clockwork orchestration that alters every minute, never repeating never stillWe now look outwardwe see the world as we wish to perfect it, and we imagine dwelling there I m abandoning this book, with regret for having read it against my better judgement, withoutthorough research And yes, I m two starring and reviewing an unfinished book If that offends you to your very core, then stop reading now You ve been warned 1 There s a trend among reviews of three stars or less on this book to say things like I ll simply attempt to explain why I gave such an accomplished book only 3 stars It s just the sort of book I should have given 5 stars I am ashame I m abandoning this book, with regret for having read it against my better judgement, withoutthorough research And yes, I m two starring and reviewing an unfinished book If that offends you to your very core, then stop reading now You ve been warned 1 There s a trend among reviews of three stars or less on this book to say things like I ll simply attempt to explain why I gave such an accomplished book only 3 stars It s just the sort of book I should have given 5 stars I am ashamed I am a foolish reader who, like many, take on a booker short list, or a booker winner, and expect it to wow me And it did, and it didn t I have an unsophisticated mind Everyone here is raving about this book including people who write great novels themselves I m feeling pretty miserable about the fact that I couldn t get into it, forced myself to read halfway, started again and then gave up in despair The Luminaries is a very long mystery novel which did not enlighten or move me I am probably not a good judge.I find these kinds of comments sad, but telling Buck up, goodreaders who don t much like The Luminaries There s enough conspiring against us to make us feel stupid we don t need books to do that.2 I m way over feeling like it s some flaw in me when I don t like a book that almost everyone else likes It s not me, book, it s you I m just not that into you We haven t spent that much time together then again, I ve readpages of you than are in the average contemporary novel , but I know you well enough to know this isn t going to work out So farewell, best of luck, and I know you re going to find a whole heap o love out there, coz you re a real looker, you Man Booker.3 Man Booker FFS 4 This book has two fatal flaws for me 1 fussy structure over character 2 metaphor gone wild.5 Although it s not really metaphor gone wildlike metaphor that is so subtle as to be irrelevant to most readersunless they know astrology well enough that they can pick up what she s doing using astrological concepts to illuminate character behaviour plot I certainly do not, and did not.6 I think astrology is fun, but dumb here, in both senses.7 On structure, I know it s there because I ve been told so But all I felt while reading, certainly in the first 300 pages, was why is this language so expositional and why are these actions so overblown Why do all these irrelevant details matter 8 They don t And neither do the characters, although each one is really intriguing I would have liked them to be central to the plot, and for the plot to be ascendant over structure I guess it wasn t in the stars.9 Also, setting New Zealand, 1860, during a gold rush and early settlement I was so looking forward to being immersed in it alas, I got absolutely no feeling for it Biggest disappointment, by far.10 The final blow comes from a GR review citing The Guardian s reviewIt s not about story at all It s about what happens to us when we read novels what we think we want from them and from novels of this size, in particular Is it worthwhile to spend so much time with a story that in the end isn t invested in its characters 11 No.12 I m increasingly factoring opportunity costs into the arithmetic I do to determine when if to abandon a book In other words, I could ve been reading Shirley Or Anna Karenina So, 12 reflections on The Luminaries Heh See what I did there 5 superlative, intricate and fascinating stars 4th Favorite Read of 2015 Wow just wow This is a very long book and so I developed a quiz to see if you are a potential reader of this most amazing tome.1 Did you love The Alienist by Caleb Carr 2 Did you adore Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 3 Do you like your mysteries intelligent, complex and compelling 4 Do you like stories with elements of the supernatural, murder, blackmail and intrigue 5 Do you like your women wicked and your men wi 5 superlative, intricate and fascinating stars 4th Favorite Read of 2015 Wow just wow This is a very long book and so I developed a quiz to see if you are a potential reader of this most amazing tome.1 Did you love The Alienist by Caleb Carr 2 Did you adore Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 3 Do you like your mysteries intelligent, complex and compelling 4 Do you like stories with elements of the supernatural, murder, blackmail and intrigue 5 Do you like your women wicked and your men wickeder 6 Do you like writing that is formal, elegant and with a systematic style that ties in brilliantly to both plot and character 7 Are you fascinated by New Zealand or the chaotic wild west If you answered yes to two orof these questions then what are you waiting forgiddyup to your nearest bookstore or library and pick this up as it will take you many hours to finish.On aserious note this book is absolutely exquisite and perfect in every way Ms Catton at the age of 28 has written a novel that will stand the test of time.This book reminded me of a complex mandala.broad at the outside and like a whirlpool draws you in quicker and quicker so that you are immersed in a world that you never want to leave This novel is systematic, mystical and endlessly fascinating She uses astrological charts and also personality traits to predict the futures of her fifteen or so main characters One could easily do a PHD thesis on this work and believe me I m sure there are people at it right now.Ms Cattonthanks so darn muchI m mighty obliged ma am 4.5 A rip roaring yarn and awe inspiring use of experimental form it s not every day you see that in a book Like Catton s previous near masterpiece, The Rehearsal, this suffers from a rather misleading cover The illustration, and the very title The Luminaries seem to allude to a different world entirely a world of drawing rooms, and calling cards, and gowns p.31 not a mystery adventure involving gold prospectors, prostitutes, drug addiction and frontier town bigwigs One likely t 4.5 A rip roaring yarn and awe inspiring use of experimental form it s not every day you see that in a book Like Catton s previous near masterpiece, The Rehearsal, this suffers from a rather misleading cover The illustration, and the very title The Luminaries seem to allude to a different world entirely a world of drawing rooms, and calling cards, and gowns p.31 not a mystery adventure involving gold prospectors, prostitutes, drug addiction and frontier town bigwigs One likely to appeal to quite a number of readers who may be put off by the first impression of yet another Austen Dickens pastiche The Luminaries certainly is a pastiche of a kind, though it was never so overwhelmingly Victorian in its style as I expected after seeing a well known book blogger mention how he abandoned it Jeanette Winterson said, If you want to read 19th century novels, you may as well read the real thing, and not go out and buy a reproduction It strays further from faithful Victorian reproduction after the early chapters, still making wonderful use of the depth of characterisation that s too often missing from contemporary British novels And it s certainly faster reading than most nineteenth century originals The narrative voice has hints of George Eliot whom I was delighted to read Catton also prefers over the Brontes and Austen But perhaps because I ve never read Wilkie Collins, with whom this book s most often been compared so far the experience of reading The Luminaries made me think most of all of Arthur Conan Doyle, back before I d read the Holmes stories so often they d become a little boring Tales of skullduggery and crime often recounted through the medium of conversations between men sometimes in the telling itself, sometimes as a deep sea dive into a framed narrative like Heart of Darkness Still, those were comparisons to the actual Victorian Neo Victorian isn t a trend in which I ve had much interest other than the odd work by big names like A.S Byatt, Sarah Waters and Alan Moore The larger than life characters and the sheer pointless fun of this story do, for me, recall comics put into prose Michael Chabon was perhaps the most unlikely comparison I kept making as I read Catton seems like an intellect every bit as formidable as Byers but she so far has applied it to structure rather than essentially highbrow story topics Unlike Waters and many other historical novelists her application of modern values is subtle characters are people of their time, though perhaps a greater percentage of the well off white men are, without fanfare, decent and civil to ethnic minorities and to women of questionable backgrounds than may have been the case in the real mid nineteenth century Characters of all origins are treated with equal dignity by the narrative, again, without ever making a song and dance about it, which periodically gives a rather pleasant time warp effect The setting, at least for most non ANZ readers, has much novelty and interest, when so much Victoriana focuses on London plus it has similarities to the Wild West along with its own distinctive character It s often quite possible to imagine if only one could put the words together a bitnicely, had greater stamina for writing at length c, how it might have been possible to write various books The Luminaries though, is from a writing perspective a fairly mind boggling achievement that sounds almost as difficult,and almost as much a potential impediment to producing a good story, as do the letter missing out antics of Georges Perec 1 It is a highly complex mystery which would in itself be a considerable invention.2 Each of its 12 parts has a word count exactly half that of its predecessor.3 Astrology, a pre existing complex fictional system has been used as a starting point for the characters interactions A three stairs in one stride step up in intricacy from the use of playing cards in The Rehearsal Not only that but Catton has partially refashioned astrology to her own purpose by making each of the main characters a sign or a planet, and various buildings the houses on the chart such that, for example, Mercury in Aries means a meeting of those two characters I think it would also be perfectly possible to enjoy the book as a story whilst ignoring or knowing little of these aspects Towards the end of the book, it s possible to see the decreasing word count become slightly burdensome as the in which chapter descriptions start to near the length of the text they precede These same length constraints mean that there are several short chapters going into detail about earlier events to a level that isn t always necessary, but which I nearly always found interesting At least Catton doesn t use this tailing off to tie the present fates of the characters up too neatly I and probably a lot of readers of a book like this prefer some unknowns at the end although it s not terribly Victorian What is impressive, though, is that the content never seems forced or unnatural only the layout and chapter divisions indicate something unusual is going on.The astrological themed characters are an object lesson in how a seriously good writer can make archetypes into interesting personalities, few of whom end up seeming like stock characters there s something atypical or unexpected about nearly all of them which offsets their origins Sometimes it s easy to spot how it s done e.g a spendthrift dandy who s Scandinavian Most have a cartoonish yet complex quality which reminds me of good comics I didn t find out that twelve of the characters were based on star sign attributes though the planetary ones were clearer, somehow from the oblique dramatis personae until I d read over 200 pages Once I knew this it all fell into place and I occasionally had to banish mental pictures of the early 90 s Creme Egg ads when certain characters appeared but given that a I know farthan I d like about astrology and b I think I read quite closely I was all theimpressed with Catton s characterisation for not having been able to help making it ridiculously obvious as many authors would have.A drawback of the astrological scheme is that the planet in sign chaptering led to rather a lot of one on one conversations What they characters are saying is generally exciting, and sometimes the chats become a framing device, but the format led to a slight background monotony that was at odds with my otherwise great enjoyment of the book This is why it s a rounded down, not rounded up 4.5 The quieter among these conversations, in which we witness characters communication of information some of which we may already know and their reactions, and in which telling not showing is really part of the useful action, reminded me of 18th 19th century epistolary novels.Whilst sceptics surely can t argue with the idea of using one made up system to make up something else, I ve noticed a few press reviews which are puzzled by the astrological basis of the novel when only one character, Lydia Wells, has any enthusiasm for star signs To me it seemed another mental leap by the author to use this scheme for a story with a cast of hippies, psychics etc would have been obvious Instead the story in The Luminaries is seasoned with astrology but not, I would say, overwhelmed by it similar to the way Celine Julie Go Boating is seasoned with magic both stage and esoteric Though perhaps it s only if one s had much familiarity with astrology that it doesn t seem off key to see it applied to non adherents, to things and people which seem unrelated to the subject Everyone has a horoscope, whether they ve ever taken any notice of it or not Even Richard Dawkins My own knowledge comes from OCD like phases of struggle with superstitious systems plus a tendency to hoover up information I managed to break from astrology after discovering fixed star astrology which added a near exponential number of extra possibilities so that, crucially, from within the system itself and not only from outside, it all started to seem nonsensical and as if it could be made to say anything I was a little disappointed that, according to this interview Eleanor Catton seems for the moment to embrace astrology unquestioningly although she must be enormously intelligent But she has at least made a rather stupendous work of art out of it one started when she would have been only 26.This is, incidentally, the first novel of its size I ve finished in exactly six years The last one was Darkmans pure coincidence that the names almost mirror And like the Nicola Barker, it was so enjoyable that the book was rarely burdensome even if I did take a day off in the middle for a sub 300 pager, which helped.I would love to see The Luminaries win the Booker There are two or three contenders between which I can hardly choose Though its scale of ambition and experiment, and sheer bulk, lead inevitably to a few imperfections that wouldn t be found in aconventionally structured, polished novel of a quarter of its length Regardless, it was enormous fun, very readable and ever so clever Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend An impressive literary feat intricate, challenging, and singularly structured to mimic the waning moon that will likely appeal to fans of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins or anyone in the mood for a demanding mystery of coincidence and collusion laced with corpses, prostitutes, and buried treasure Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend An impressive literary feat intricate, challenging, and singularly structured to mimic the waning moon that will likely appeal to fans of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins or anyone in the mood for a demanding mystery of coincidence and collusion laced with corpses, prostitutes, and buried treasure I m a New Zealander like the author Everyone here is raving about this book including people who write great novels themselves I m feeling pretty miserable about the fact that I couldn t get into it, forced myself to read halfway, started again and then gave up in despair I liked the beginning, started to identify with the first character, Moody, then lost the plot when the other 14 or so main characters took over the story The faux 19th century style felt slightly forced and the sentences w I m a New Zealander like the author Everyone here is raving about this book including people who write great novels themselves I m feeling pretty miserable about the fact that I couldn t get into it, forced myself to read halfway, started again and then gave up in despair I liked the beginning, started to identify with the first character, Moody, then lost the plot when the other 14 or so main characters took over the story The faux 19th century style felt slightly forced and the sentences were, for me, indigestible After reading the first quarter of the book I have a vivid picture in my mind of Hokitika in the 1860s I like that about it At the same time it doesn t ring true that the leading lights in a pioneer community would care so deeply about the death of a hermit and apparent attempted suicide of a prostitute There was a sameness to the dialogue that didn t ring true to me either Sure, I haven t read any 19th century novels for a long time and have forgotten the style Whatever the cause, this book didn t enable me to suspend my disbelief I usually find that challenging novels pay me back for the effort I put into reading them I gain insights, I identify with the characters, I experience a different part of the world The Luminaries is so plot based that it didn t give me that payback As for the astrological aspect of the novel, I just didn t get it and the book didn t inspire me to delve into it I don t feel good writing this about a fellow kiwi s great accomplishment I suspect a lot of my difficulties stem from the mystery detective elements in this novel just not my cup of tea I wassuited as a reader to Emily Perkins The Forrests, another long and challenging NZ novel butcharacter based Aries the Ram thrusts forward, discarding the past except as a symbol of what has been overcome Fearsome, single minded Aries This book does not fall under the sign of Aries it is invested in the past, it is enchanted by it The past is such an important part of the novel that the narrative continues after its climactic resolution with a series of escalating chapters that take the reader back to where it all began The Luminaries characters live under the shadow of their own pasts, they judg Aries the Ram thrusts forward, discarding the past except as a symbol of what has been overcome Fearsome, single minded Aries This book does not fall under the sign of Aries it is invested in the past, it is enchanted by it The past is such an important part of the novel that the narrative continues after its climactic resolution with a series of escalating chapters that take the reader back to where it all began The Luminaries characters live under the shadow of their own pasts, they judge others by their past actions as well Aries is well represented by Te Rau Tauwhare, a Maori greenstone hunter.Taurus the Bull is a sign of love, in all of its strength and awkwardness, its earthiness and purity Obstinate, strong willed Taurus This book has a strong Taurean influence it has at its heart a passionate and moving story of star crossed lovers, determined to persevere, blind to reason two parts of a whole that yearn to merge Taurus is represented poorly by the aloof banker Charlie Frost.Gemini the Twins, sharp and cutting, a sign of the mind, of the air Impulsive and restless Gemini This book has a marked Gemini influence in its clever narrative voice, one often sidelined by description and dialogue yet still distinct, full of wit and sly innuendo Gemini s influence is even stronger when considering the almost dizzying ingenuity of the book s look at me structure and its increasingly cheeky chapter introductions Gemini is represented by Benjamin Lowenthal, a Jewish newspaper editor and a character in need of richer development.Cancer the Crab moons about in its shell, moody and self absorbed, yet caring and loyal to the end Complicated, sensitive Cancer The Crab has little to do with The Luminaries, except when looking at the novel in general terms A strong and thick hardcover book, a complicated structure, a soft heart lurking within Cancer is well represented by the hotelier Edgar Clinch.Leo the Lion sits back, the very image of self satisfaction, a magnet to lesser men, a sun that would have the whole universe revolve around it Confident and surprisingly generous Leo The heavy lidded sensuality of the Lion holds court throughout The Luminaries, its beautiful imagery and its rich descriptive prowess openly displayed well hung Leo also clearly influenced this book s impressive length Leo is represented by Dick lol Mannering, a goldfields magnate.Virgo the Virgin is the sign of this reviewer It is the most wonderful sign imaginable critical yet fair, judgmental but only in the most loving of ways, altruistic, well read, self sacrificing, practically perfect in every way, the Mary Poppins of the Zodiac All must bow to the wonder of Virgo The Virgin is terribly represented by Quee Long, who is about the opposite of any decent Virgo For shame, Eleanor Catton, you have betrayed the Zodiac with your libelous portrait of a so called Virgo Okay here s the one thing that bothered me about The Luminaries the way it treated its Asian characters Perhaps because I m a hyper critical half breed who favors his Asian side, I m always on the look out for things to irritate me in the way that Asians are represented Now I don t think that Catton has an issue with Asians, but it does chafe on a personal level how little they are respected in this novel I understand the lack of respect coming from other characters, given the time and place But I resented their actual parts and paths in the narrative and that s all Eleanor Catton One Asian is presented as single minded in the most simple and greedy way possible another is an opium addict and merchant whose tragic life and grand quest for revenge end in a limp little fizzle, off of the page I raged a bit at the injustice of it all.Libra the Scales is a sign of beauty, and much like Beauty itself, displays both grace and superficiality, charisma and vanity Lovely, indecisive Libra Libra s scales are seldom in balance this sign seeks to make things equal and often fails And so it is with the author of The Luminaries, a Libra on the cusp of Virgo Her favorites among the novel s astrological characters are dynamic and richly developed those less favored are given mere cameo appearances But don t look for fairness from a Libra look for beauty And there is much beauty within the pages of The Luminaries Exquisite prose, gorgeous imagery, lovely moments within its lovely love story the beautiful mind of its author, yearning to be recognized for its brilliance and rewarded by the 2013 Man Booker Prize Libra is represented perfectly by Harald Nilssen, a commission merchant.Scorpio is the Scorpion, and the Eagle as well It soars above the earth and lives in its holes This strange sign is the Investigator of the Zodiac and is also its greatest conundrum secretive to its core, yet suspicious of secrets in others dark and unyielding often cold yet deeply sexual Mysterious, obsessive Scorpio The Luminaries is intimately connected to the Scorpion, in its basic nature as a Mystery Novel and in its refusal to solve certain mysteries, to keep them shrouded in ambiguity The Eagle dislikes having to explain itself Scorpio is represented by Joseph Pritchard, a chemist and a perfectly executed character who is left almost entirely off of the page Perhaps Catton feared the perverse potential lurking within him and so curtailed her exploration of his depths I also felt the Scorpio influence upon this novel s villain, the dark, manipulative, unknowable Francis Carver.Sagittarius the Archer shoots an arrow into the future, his true place Sagittarius the Centaur gallops quickly, heedless of those too simple and slow to keep his pace Strong willed, independent Sagittarius This sign s influence on The Luminaries is striking it has no patience for readers of the idiot class It makes scarce concessions to those longing for explanations or a simple plotline it will give you the opportunity to come into its world and be surrounded, enveloped and it will leave you behind if you are unable to keep up Sagittarius is well represented by Thomas Balfour, a shipping agent.Capricorn the Sea Goat still waters run deep was surely coined for this sign, one whose stable and inhibited surface appearance belies the complicated ambitions within Patient, resourceful Capricorn A courageous introvert, a fastidious intellectual, virile yet chilly, dignified and aloof and rich with hidden depths The novel The Luminaries was born under the sign of Capricorn The novel s birth sign is represented perfectly by Aubert Gascoigne, a justice s clerk.Aquarius the Water bearer abhors restrictions and eschews barriers, seeking the enlightenment beyond, traveling the stars without and within, ever in search of wisdom Inventive, rebellious Aquarius A shallow reviewer of the novel would find little influence from the Water bearer as the book is a carefully constructed puzzle rather than an ingenious invention, a mathematically mapped out pi ce de r sistance rather than a spontaneous improvisation But dig deeper and you shall find the sublime Aquarian ruling an eerie and haunting love story, one full of unexplainable visions and brazen leaps of faith Aquarius is well represented by Sook Yongsheng, a Chinese hatter and lover of opium.Pisces the Fish, Pisces the dreamer, the last sign and the oldest Pisces yearns for escape, in dreams, in drugs, in art, in the dark damp spaces Elusive Pisces, the sign of self undoing I had a Piscean experience when reading this novel It was my go to book for a certain period of time, a little bit nearly every morning and every afternoon, for almost 3 months I escaped into its depths, it was my sweet sweet drug and I fear that I am suffering from withdrawal This lengthy review was an attempt to live in it again Alas, now even this review is over Pisces is represented rather poorly by Cowell Devlin, a chaplain I am ashamed.I am a foolish reader who, like many, take on a booker short list, or a booker winner, and expect it to wow me And it did, and it didn t I have an unsophisticated mind.To any reader who reads books as an art critic views a great master, they will read and hear the subtleties of the writer s mind as they structure their work, layer upon layer, until a masterpiece is drawn They will see and know the influences that formed the concept and guided the writer s pen in its construction I am ashamed.I am a foolish reader who, like many, take on a booker short list, or a booker winner, and expect it to wow me And it did, and it didn t I have an unsophisticated mind.To any reader who reads books as an art critic views a great master, they will read and hear the subtleties of the writer s mind as they structure their work, layer upon layer, until a masterpiece is drawn They will see and know the influences that formed the concept and guided the writer s pen in its construction And reading Eleanor Catton s masterful use of the English language, and her homage to the Victorian masters of literature, I was greatly humbled, and completly understood why she was shortlisted She is a sublime writer.For a proper review I would urge you to read Antinomasia s review on GR No review have I read sofar is so discerning and informed If I had read this before I bought and invested so much time reading a book too long for this reader to enjoy, I would never have bought it in the first place It is a book for the discerning reader, and not the pop reader, who likes his fiction to the point, entertaining, engrossing, informative, and exercising to a degree well I m an easy read I am a lazy reader, prolific, but utimately shallow Present me with too many concepts and inventions in a book then I grow impatient Join too many exercises in the writer s craft together, and I become frustated Strip away the artists concept, and if I do not have a picture that I can glimpse and enjoy for all its colour and story then all I see is a few squirls of paint, thoughtfully applied, but ultimately a poor picture to fill a mind with interest The Luminaries is an average story.It is like so many winners of the Tate Prize in art How many winners would you really want to grace your shelves, tabletops and alcoves And at 800 pages the Luminairies is an instalation and not a piece of work to sit upon a humble shelf, alongside my Cornwell, Austin and Dickens, Rupert Bear Albums, Tin Tin and Ant Dec Oh what a lovely pair My shelves no longer have room for such large tomes What can I remove to the charity shop Ant Dec perhaps So I found The Luminairies a master writer s crtitic s wet dream, but as a story well sentence by sentence it is beautifully crafted, but the shear number of them in relation to one scene, or description particulary at the the beginning wore me down Characters were so many, their voices seem to merge into the same sound They began to form a crowd in my mind, all speaking the same voice, their personalties indiscernible The astrology was lost on me.The Luminaries is indeed a worthy Booker winner It is art in writing But for a reader who takes Alister McClean to the beach, Jeffrey Archer to bed, and lies on the summer grass filling his head with Asimov I was never the reader for this book It Is , 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


About the Author: Eleanor Catton

Eleanor Catton born 1985 is a New Zealand author Catton was born in Canada while her father, a New Zealand graduate, was completing a doctorate at the University of Western Ontario She lived in Yorkshire until the age of 13, before her family settled in Canterbury, New Zealand She studied English at the University of Canterbury, and completed a Master s in Creative Writing at The Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington She wrote her first novel, The Rehearsal, as her master s thesis.Eleanor Catton holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop, where she also held an adjunct professorship, and an MA in fiction from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington Currently she teaches creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology.


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