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The Luminaries af Eleanor Catton
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The Luminaries (original 2013; udgave 2013)

af Eleanor Catton

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler / Omtaler
3,9102212,265 (3.78)1 / 653
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the West Coast goldfields. On the 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 whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous sum of money 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.… (mere)
Medlem:Romonko
Titel:The Luminaries
Forfattere:Eleanor Catton
Info:McClelland & Stewart (2013), Hardcover, 848 pages
Samlinger:e-Book, Recommended
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Fiction, Historical, Booker Prize, New Zealand, Gold Rush, Mystery

Detaljer om værket

The Luminaries af Eleanor Catton (2013)

Nyligt tilføjet afprivat bibliotek, MichalJordan, Sepulchre, Paul.McKenzie, dzwilling, Arina40, revatait, amio1016
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Indlæser...

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Engelsk (213)  Hollandsk (6)  Tysk (1)  Fransk (1)  Alle sprog (221)
Viser 1-5 af 221 (næste | vis alle)
This book, for me, starts out better than it ends. The first sections are engrossing, detailed and mysterious. I didn’t know what was happening, but it unfolded small piece by small piece, slowly creating a picture of some unexplained events experienced by 12 men in an isolated setting on the west coast of New Zealand. Like a long 19th century novel by Wilkie Colllins, it builds a mystery from the fragments that each participant sees, while a listener tries to puzzle it out and understand how it relates to the mystery in his own life.
In the sections that follow, the characters find more pieces of information, and intriguingly end up in a big courtroom scene in which they conspire to present a false story to the judge. But in more and more brief snippets of the story, the villain dies mysteriously, the conspirators continue to live frustrated lives and the hero and heroine seem drawn together by unknown forces. The last sections are so brief that it felt as if the author got so tired of writing out the first part that she was no longer interested in finishing the novel. Or perhaps she is telling us that her novel is not an entertainment, but it is a highly wrought literary creation and ought to be appreciated as such.
In part, this reflects one theme of the novel, that everyone has their own piece of the story, and it can never come together in a complete and satisfactory way. But here, it seems as if Catton’s objective is to deliberately alienate her readers and tell them that the interesting story she began with isn’t worth her time, or theirs, and they should just deal with it. Or instead, appreciate the artful way she has structured the story, like the phases of the moon or the spiral of a fern. There is a great deal of artistry that I admire in the novel, but the structure feels more like clever trickery than artfulness.
What I do admire particularly, in addition to the intricate plotting, is the detailed picture Catton creates of a small 19th century frontier town. Reading her description of Hokitika gives me a parallel to the goldrush towns of British Columbia, which I’ve grown up with but not seen portrayed so well. Catton has researched the language and lifestyles so thoroughly that I can visualize the settings and how the characters fit into them. Even the details of claims registration, banking and shipping insurance fit plausibly into the narrative in a way that seems accurate and precise. Many writers describing details of contemporary society are not as successful. The characters are also plausible and varied. I assume they fit the astrological structure that Catton imposes on the book, although whether they do or not seems to have no bearing on the story and I was not interested enough in that aspect to try to work it out.
Perhaps because of the frontier setting, the range of characters is limited. The women characters are largely overshadowed by the men, with only two women showing any kind of agency even though the story revolves around them. Two Chinese laborers play small roles but both have the depth of a backstory. The Maori character has the least development of the central characters. He comes and goes at his will and is portrayed with sympathy, but we know nothing of his background and little of his motivation. If Catton is trying to avoid appropriation of an indigenous character, she ends up coming close to stereotyping him as the silent unknowable native. Perhaps this is how her 19th century characters saw him, but her readers see all the other characters through 21st century eyes, and it seems inconsistent to let him remain a shadow.
In spite of my criticism, I enjoyed reading the book. It filled up my Christmas hours pleasureably even if I didn’t fully appreciate the literary construction that it seems to be.
  rab1953 | Jan 16, 2021 |
Cleverly crafted story with lots of twists and turns, took a bit of concentration to keep all the characters in order. The ending chapters shed light on the early events and personally, I'd have preferred to know these details earlier on, but I guess that was part of the author's creative process. ( )
  joweirqt | Jan 15, 2021 |
This is an extraordinary book, a tour de force. So many superlatives:
• It definitely wins my Booker Prize for most intricately plotted.
• Eleanor Catton was the youngest author to win the Man Booker, at 28.
• At 800 pages, it is the longest book to win the prize.

The Luminaries begins in a New Zealand goldrush town in 1865, where a secret council of twelve men is interrupted by a thirteenth accidental arrival. This is a tried but true narrative device: the council of twelve must explain their business to the newcomer, and what a mysterious business it is!

The council is assembled to unravel a tangled web of murder, love and betrayal; gold and opium, lost and found; infidelity and bastards. Parallels and doubling abound. The story is explicitly arranged like a zodiac, but implicitly in a spiral, that archetypal shape of New Zealand symbology: the first section is the longest, and each successive section is shorter and shorter, until we are rushing headlong down a vortex to the dizzying center. Catton highlights the technique with humor: the italicized summaries at the beginning of each chapter, relics of a previous literary era, grow and grow until they are longer and more informative than the chapters themselves. So much subtle cleverness.

I hope Catton publishes again soon, she is at the top of my list of Booker winners to watch.

In 2018, I am reading all the books that have won the Man Booker Prize since 1968, for the 50th anniversary of the prize. Follow me at www.methodtohermadness.com ( )
  stephkaye | Dec 14, 2020 |
What starts as a several-stranded mystery--a reclusive alcoholic is found dead on his claim, a young man goes missing, a prostitute tries to take her own life--turns into a complex, thrilling, rewarding tale about love, betrayal, and the desire for power in 19th century New Zealand. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and was highly disappointed to be finished already. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
The Luminaries is... delectable! Fumbling for the right word, I find myself thinking of what Lydia Wells would say, one of the characters so memorably brought to life in this staggering novel.

You may not like this book. If you don't have a yen for 800 page doorstoppers, elaborate 19th century structures and language styles, and dense thickets of plot, look elsewhere. (I'm not usually a fan of the latter, but if it comes packaged in the former, that rather changes my opinion.) If, however, you enjoy the heady combination of heightened language, courtroom (and behind-the-courtroom) drama, and historical fiction with a wry 21st century undercoat, this is for you. The Luminaries is also the beneficiary of a (pardon the pun) stellar audiobook narrated by Mark Meadows, who handles each of Catton's twenty-plus characters with panache. I rarely recommend the audio over the literary experience, but I think in this case, with the heavy emphasis on dialogue and narrative tone-of-voice, Meadows' performance amplifies and augments everything great in Catton's writing.

Exquisite. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
Viser 1-5 af 221 (næste | vis alle)
It is complex in its design, yet accessible in its narrative and prose. Its plot is engrossing in own right, but an awareness of the structure working behind it deepens one’s pleasure and absorption. As a satisfying murder mystery, it wears its colours proudly, yet it is not afraid to subvert and critique the traditions and conventions of its genre. Best of all, while maintaining a wry self-awareness about its borrowings and constructions, it is never a cynical novel. At times, it can be unapologetically romantic, in both its narrative content and its attitude towards the literary tradition it emulates. It is a novel that can be appreciated on many different levels, but which builds into a consistent and harmonious whole.
 
Is Ms. Catton’s immense period piece, set in New Zealand, for readers who want to think about what they should be thinking? The book’s astrology-based structure does not exactly clarify anything. Its Piscean quality, she writes in an opening note, “affirms our faith in the vast and knowing influence of the infinite sky.”
tilføjet af ozzer | RedigerNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Oct 23, 2013)
 
It’s easy to toss around words like “potential” and “promising” when a young author forges the kind of impression made by Eleanor Catton with her 2009 debut, The Rehearsal, a formally tricky but assured novel that hinged on teacher-student sexual relations. It won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the Betty Trask Award, and was a finalist for a handful of other plaudits, including the prestigious Dylan Thomas Prize for the best work by a writer under the age of 30. Making good on those expectations is another matter. With her ambitious second novel, Catton has accomplished that – and a great deal more.
[...]
The Luminaries is a novel that can be enjoyed for its engrossing entirety, as well as for the literary gems bestowed on virtually every page.
tilføjet af monnibo | RedigerQuill & Quire, Vit Wagner (Oct 1, 2013)
 
The Luminaries has been perfectly constructed as the consummate literary page-turner.

But it is also a massive shaggy dog story; a great empty bag; an enormous, wicked, gleeful cheat. For nothing in this enormous book, with its exotic and varied cast of characters whose lives all affect each other and whose fates are intricately entwined, amounts to anything like the moral and emotional weight one would expect of it. That's the point, in the end, I think, of The Luminaries. It'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? Or is thinking about why we should care about them in the first place the really interesting thing? Making us consider so carefully whether we want a story with emotion and heart or an intellectual idea about the novel in the disguise of historical fiction … There lies the real triumph of Catton's remarkable book.
tilføjet af Polaris- | RedigerThe Guardian, Kirsty Gunn (Sep 11, 2013)
 
The narrative structure intrigues, moving Rashomon-like between viewpoints and the bounds of each character’s separate sphere of knowledge, without ever losing the reader, various characters playing detective then stepping aside. The novel has many attributes – excellent dialogue, humour, great observation, as when two acquaintances at a party share the same expression:......Catton matches her telling to her 19th-century setting, indulging us with straightforward character appraisals, moral estimations of each character along with old-fashioned rundowns of their physical attributes, a gripping plot that is cleverly unravelled to its satisfying conclusion, a narrative that from the first page asserts that it is firmly in control of where it is taking us. Like the 19th-century novels it emulates, The Luminaries plays on Fortune’s double meaning – men chasing riches, and the grand intertwining of destinies.
 

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It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the West Coast goldfields. On the 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 whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous sum of money 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.

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