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Synopsis

Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, and set during the heady days of New Zealand's Gold Rush, The Luminaries is a magnificent and multilayered novel of love, lust, murder, and greed, in which three unsolved crimes link the fates and fortunes of twelve men. Dickens meets Deadwood in this internationally celebrated phenomenon.

In January 1866, young Walter Moody lands in a gold-mining frontier town on the west coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind a family scandal. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to investigate what links three crimes that occurred on a single day: the town's wealthiest man has vanished. An enormous fortune in pure gold has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. A prostitute has supposedly tried to end her life. But nothing is quite as it seems. As the men share their stories, what emerges is an intricate network of alliances and betrayals, secrets and lies, that is as exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

Part mystery, part fantastical love story, and full of diabolical twists and turns, The Luminaries is a richly imagined novel that brilliantly weaves together the changing fates and fortunes of an entire community, one where everyone has something to hide. Full of character and event, it is a gripping page-turner -- and a unique, atmospheric world - in which readers will gladly lose themselves.

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The Luminaries
Average rating
3.6 / 5
The Luminaries
December 26th, 2014
This goes to great length to tell the tale. The characters are many and keeping them all straight a chore as well as the confusion of huge amounts of details. Reading this book is an undertaking and the reader can congratulate themselves on preservance.
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1 review
Long, but worth it!
November 2nd, 2014
The Luminaries is long - but worth it! Catton's prose is beautiful, and the novel's structure is clever, mimicking the phases of the moon. I loved the hints of the supernatural and it kept me guessing about the truth until the end, where the pace really picked up. A great mystery about goldrushes and ghosts.
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1 review
The Luminaries
June 7th, 2014
I could not really get into it at first but once I did the characters had me completely hooked.
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1 review
The luminaries
June 4th, 2014
A very long book which dragged in the middle and took a long time to come to an end. I would give it a 7/10.
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1 review
Tedious and ponderous
May 21st, 2014
Although the characters prove interesting the story is filled with so many twists, turns and sidelines, that one is never sure of what is really going on. Challenging one to maintain interest even at the best of times, the novel gets lost in complexities of style that seem to be placed there more for the author's amusement than the reader's enjoyment.
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1 review
May 4th, 2014
I found it quite verbose and hard to stick with. The story would have been better if told more succinctly.
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1 review
No, I would not recommend this to a friend.
March 18th, 2014
I did not like this book. I persevered through it because t was recommended by Kobo but I did not enjoy it.
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1 review
Not an easy read!
March 14th, 2014
A very confusing and difficult book to read, not much of a pleasure.
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1 review
February 7th, 2014
A most incredible read , took a bit of getting into and really needs concentration but it is brilliantly written in a most unusual style -- I've just finished it and am looking forward to reading it a second time in a few months as I'm sure there will be small details I will pick up and visual descriptions that will be clearer the second time around .
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1 review
February 6th, 2014
Stunning book which is a heavy read but worth it. Catton's style and structure is sublime and the story transports you back to 19th Century Hokitika easily. Some Man Booker Prize winners aren't worth the effort, this one most definitely is.
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1 review
February 5th, 2014
This is a hard book to get into, but it's well worth the effort. Keeping track of all the characters takes some effort. Overall a great book and very well-written - easy to see why it won the Man Booker prize!
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1 review
February 2nd, 2014
To be honest I haven't finished it - not because of the length but because i keep forgetting that I'm reading it. It's fine to read it, but I'm just not engaged enough with the characters i suppose.
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1 review
January 30th, 2014
Beautiful prose. I was very impressed with the writing. A story that slowly unfolds and lures you in as you progress through the book. Not action-packed, but highly recommend.
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1 review
January 25th, 2014
A great novel. Very descriptive of New Zealand life in the gold-rush days. Very interesting characters.
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1 review
January 25th, 2014
An enjoyable read that keeps you interested until the end. Told through different perspectives the reader unpicks the tangled web - following threads and hints until the finale. An excellent insight into New Zealand goldrush
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1 review
January 25th, 2014
Ambitious, but falls pretty flat. Too many characters to keep up with who have nebulous connections to each other. The hint of supernatural connections between a couple of characters seems misplaced and clunky. I only finished reading it to see if it got any better when the ends were all drawn together. I was disappointed.
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1 review
January 24th, 2014
This was interesting to read, but very confusing to read on the KOBO. There were so many characters and the flashbacks seemed difficult to manage. Overall I enjoyed the book that was set in a time and location that I virtually knew nothing about.
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1 review
January 24th, 2014
I found this book hard to get started on but now that I'm into it I just can't put it down. A real who done it type book!
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1 review
January 24th, 2014
She writes well, but this book did not grab me - far too many characters none of whom I found myself caring much about. It wasn't until after about 400 pages that I started to get somewhat interested in the plot...
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1 review
1 person found this helpful
January 24th, 2014
Technically perfect, but a slog to get through. I am happy I kept at it as parts charmed me. Other chapters bored me. I am definitely glad I didn't try to figure out the astrological references.
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1 review

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