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[The Luminaries [BOOK] Free Read online PDF author Eleanor Catton

  • Hardcover
  • 848
  • The Luminaries
  • Eleanor Catton
  • English
  • 21 April 2017
  • 9780316074315

Eleanor Catton É 1 READ

Eleanor Catton É 1 READ READ ´ M1O.RU É Eleanor Catton READ ☆ The Luminaries Ortunes that is as complex and exuisitely 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 turn Review 642 in which the reviewer tries to fathom why she chose to read this book about the gold rush given that she d avoided reading it for seven years and recounts how in the process of reading it she stumbled on an unlikely book connection that was lying in plain sight when she looked in the right place reminding her that if her fortune depended on finding book connections she d be richI finished reading several collections of Jorge Luis Borges s stories recently and also spent an intense period reading through Nathalie Sarraute s work and the accumulation of ideas and styles in those books made it difficult to choose a reading direction afterwards My reading compass is usually set to one book leads to another mode but this time the needle was spinning wildly and I was lost My hand picked a few random books from various piles but my mind refused to engage with any of them In desperation I searched for the stash of unread books in the spare bedroom left there on purpose for visitors to take away with them because I know I will never want to read them myself This book shouldn t even have been there because I meant to offload it during the last house move given that it s so large it takes up the space of three books If I kept it it was because I realised from the signature hot chocolate marks that my youngest daughter had read it and I was unwilling to discard a little bit of her reading history having lost so much of my own in the past Was it those rusty chocolate marks on the pages or the phases of the moon on the cover that caused me to pick The Luminaries from the shelf I don t know but I did prise it out and started reading it and I didn t stop until I d finished though it must have taken a complete lunar week The Luminaries is a story about a hoard of gold found stolen lost found stolen lost and finally found hidden in plain sight It s a long and slow story but several things kept me reading the detailed portraits of the secondary characters and the way the portraits of the two main ones by contrast are left in shadow for so long the nineteenth century style with no anachronisms that I could detect the vast knowledge about gold mining in New Zealand in the mid nineteenth century but which didn t weigh the story down the way the inevitable violence was off stage leaving hardly a trace of blood on the pages the way the chapters decreased in length corresponding to the phases of a waning moon the last chapter being a mere sliver the way the chapter summaries increased in length as the chapters themselves decreased so that the final one is much greater than the chapter it summarizes few of the items in the summary were visible in the chapter itself reminding me of the parts of the moon that become invisible to us as it wanesThere were alas a few things I didn t care for the astrological charts for example but I consigned them to the other side of the moon the side we never see from earth I figured the stars would know how to read themSpeaking of stars they are luminaries in that they are light giving bodies but I felt that the luminaries of the title were the waxing moon and the waning moon corresponding to the two main characters one bright but darkening the other dark but brightening Their unified story is also about a treasure lost and a treasure found a small and perfect love hidden within the larger story as small as a bright gold nugget another type of luminary hidden in a river bed Thinking about the full and new moons and about gold nuggets and about the amount of knowledge in the domains of geography history and astrology that underlie the larger story in this book I was reminded of the last book I read and I realised that there is a connection between The Luminaries and Borges s The Aleph unlikely as it might seem The Aleph according to Borges is an iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brightness A luminary in other words And Borges s luminary contains knowledge of all the history and geography of the world and even of the universe I love finding connections

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The Luminaries

Eleanor Catton É 1 READ READ ´ M1O.RU É Eleanor Catton READ ☆ The Luminaries Et 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 f 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 concernsThis 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 much controlled and possesses the modern day perspective in which to peer backI 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 s between Dunedin and Hokitika to titillate the adventurous readerPrimarily 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 townspeopleThe 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 progressesBut onward also rolls the outer sphere the boundless present which contains the bounded pastTake note of the cast list at the beginning which is uite 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 storyCatton 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 antiuated there is a fresh whiff of nuanced canniness a knowing Catton who uncorks the delectable Victorian past by looking at it from the postmodern futureYou will either be intoxicated by this big brawl of a book or weighed down in its heft If you are looking for something than 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 feathersThe 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 dustBut 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

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Eleanor Catton É 1 READ READ ´ M1O.RU É Eleanor Catton READ ☆ The Luminaries Librarian's note An alternate cover edition can be found hereIt is 1866 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 m 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 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 my MA is in Victorian Lit Charles Dickens is a favorite author and I adore historical fiction particularly Victorian pastiche Possession The Crimson Petal and the White and English PassengersAnd yet The Luminaries didn t grab me It has all the elements of a pitch perfect Dickensian mystery novel long lost siblings forgeries opium dens misplaced riches a hidden cache of letters illegitimate offspring assumed identities a s ance a witty and philosophical omniscient narrator s voice and so on If this was a Victorian paint by numbers competition Catton would have top marks But something is lacking here I can t help feeling that despite its technical perfection The Luminaries is a book without a beating heartLest I seem unfair here are some of the novel s strengths Catton proves a dab hand at revealing characters through both minute physical description and acute psychological insight She s especially good at examining interiority vs exteriority one of my favorite lines was he built his persona as a shield around his person and the ways stories are altered in subseuent retellings Her use of contemporary slang circumlocutions d ned chapter introductions In which and a host of overarching fairy tales and ideologies including the angel whore dichotomy of nineteenth century womanhood and the witch vs the babes in the wood brothel keeping fortuneteller Lydia Wells against Anna Wetherell and Emery Staines is all spot on Staines in particular is a brilliant creation a thoroughly amiable guileless na f to rival any of Dickens s fresh faced heroes And indeed the echoes of Dracula Moby Dick and the very best of Dickens Our Mutual Friend especially but also Bleak House and Great Expectations are well earnedIf I had to list a few minor uibbles I d mention that some of the fascinating characters fade into the background as the novel progresses rendering the original council of 13 largely irrelevant brooding Walter Moody would have made for a great everyman protagonist and Tom Balfour promised to be a delightfully tenacious detective like Dickens s Inspector Bucket Moreover especially in the first half Catton is over reliant on the t te t te as a means of advancing the plot it is easy to grow weary of the tedious string of one to one meetingsMy main problem however is with the opacity of the astrology angle The novel s supposed uniueness lies in this astrological framing device but I remain unconvinced 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 Readers don t need overt references to the Age of Pisces to spot themes of twinship and hiddenness the clues are there already Further Catton s commitment to portraying a full year s astrological changes reuires looping back to revisit the events of 1865 6 for almost the full last uarter of the novel thus also the unsubtle metaphor of the ouroboros the ancient symbol of a snake biting its own tail and the translation of the town name Hokitika as something like full circle I do now understand how sly that cyclical techniue is it also ties in with the cover image of the waning moon thank you to Elizabeth Knox Catton s fellow New Zealander novelist for explaining that each successive Part is half the length of its predecessor such that before long the chapter introductions are longer than the text they preface commentary exceeds action 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 goodIt s a somewhat dispiriting experience for the reader to feel the plot winding down around page 600 only to realize that another 230 pages remain I will make a defiant claim here I hold that the novel should have ended on page 628 for those with page numbers different to my ARC that s after the first chapter of Part FourApart from a first rate courtroom scene you won t miss much after that point 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 627 pages If not there page 622 would do the end of Part Three or perhaps page 717 the end of Part Four But alas it s as if Catton just doesn t know when to put the book to restIn scope and seriousness The Luminaries rivals almost any Victorian triple decker an impressive feat from a 28 year old author there s no denying that Am I jealous at the scale of her accomplishment given that she s two years my junior Perhaps a touch Still I feel I ve been fair here I love door stopper novels when every page is necessary But when as is the case here nearly a uarter of the page count feels superfluous there s something ever so slightly offI wish I could have deemed The Luminaries a five star book It s a rollicking meticulously plotted mystery as well as an enjoyable read Plus it s always nice to see something a bit different on the Booker longlist It deserves its accolades thus far and I do hope it makes the shortlist but did I love it No I admired it but it didn t earn my affection Ergo three stars Fabriuer sa lessive son dentifrice son shampoing ses produits d'entretien zodiac signs and lunar cycles that bring the narrative back around to meet its starting point adds little if anything to the plot Readers don t need overt references to the Age of Pisces to spot themes of twinship and hiddenness the clues are there already Further Catton s commitment to portraying a full year s astrological changes reuires looping back to revisit the events of 1865 6 for almost the full last uarter of the novel thus also the unsubtle metaphor of the ouroboros the ancient symbol of a snake biting its own tail and the translation of the town name Hokitika as something like full circle I do now understand how sly that cyclical techniue is it also ties in with the cover image of the waning moon thank you to Elizabeth Knox Catton s fellow New Zealander novelist for explaining that each successive Part is half the length of its predecessor such that before long the chapter introductions are longer than the text they preface commentary exceeds action 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 goodIt s a somewhat dispiriting experience for the reader to feel the plot winding down around page 600 only to realize that another 230 pages remain I will make a defiant claim here I hold that the novel should have ended on page 628 for those with page numbers different to my ARC that s after the first chapter of Part FourApart from a first rate courtroom scene you won t miss much after that point 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 627 pages If not there page 622 would do the end of Part Three or perhaps page 717 the end of Part Four But alas it s as if Catton just doesn t know when to put the book to restIn scope and seriousness The Luminaries rivals almost any Victorian triple decker an impressive feat from a 28 year old author there s no denying that Am I jealous at the scale of her accomplishment given that she s two years my junior Perhaps a touch Still I feel I ve been fair here I love door stopper novels when every page is necessary But when as is the case here nearly a uarter of the page count feels superfluous there s something ever so slightly offI wish I could have deemed The Luminaries a five star book It s a rollicking meticulously plotted mystery as well as an enjoyable read Plus it s always nice to see something a bit different on the Booker longlist It deserves its accolades thus far and I do hope it makes the shortlist but did I love it No I admired it but it didn t earn my affection Ergo three stars