Elissa James reviews The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is an unusual but thoroughly rewarding novel. Set in New Zealand during the Gold Rush, it is a humorous and detailed mystery that will keep readers guessing until the end. A well-deserving winner of the Booker Prize in 2013, it’s an impeccably crafted tale that doesn’t feel like a ‘women’s book’ for even a moment.
This book didn’t grab me at first but I persevered because it had won so many awards and such critical acclaim. Boy was I glad I continued! This novel is remarkable. It’s funny, quirky, intriguing and masterfully crafted. I think it has particular appeal for Australians and New Zealanders due to the setting. My tip for anyone tackling this tome is not to worry if the plot threads are confusing – treat it like Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. All will be revealed in the end, let the beautiful prose wash over you and the stories will weave together in time. It’s a real masterpiece.