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The Luminaries (2013)

de Eleanor Catton

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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5,0702502,177 (3.78)1 / 728
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.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 247 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Eleanor Catton's Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries is many things. It's a depiction of life in a gold-rush-era town in New Zealand. It's a story about families. It's a mystery. It's several mysteries, each unspooling at its own pace. And true to its title, it takes inspiration from the moon (each chapter is shorter than the one proceeding it, meant as a reference to the waning of the moon) and the planets/stars (some characters are based on astrological signs, others to the typical traits associated with the planets). It begins when a Scottish lawyer named Walter Moody arrives in the small town of Hokitika to make his fortune as a prospector. The ship on which he arrived, the Godspeed, was wrecked and he has to make his way ashore without his trunk. He decides to spend his time in the Crown Hotel while he waits for the wreck to be plunged and his belongings to be recovered, and shortly after he arrives, he manages to find himself in the bar of the hotel with twelve men who are clearly all gathered for a purpose. He manages to draw out from them a strange tale of several tragedies and mysteries that all seem to have happened at about the same time.

Shortly before Moody's arrival, a local politician, Alistair Lauderback, arrives in town to stump for votes. On the outskirts of town, he arrives at the cabin of a recluse, Crosbie Wells, and finds the man very recently deceased. And then, on the same night, a lucky young prospector, Emery Staines, goes missing, and a prostitute, Anna Wetherell, publicly overdoses on the opium to which she is addicted and is imprisoned. Each of the men in the bar of the Crown Hotel has a little piece of the story, and even more develops as time goes on. Bit by bit, the full story in all its beauty and tragedy is revealed, connecting the threads of each seemingly-separate piece together.

This is a big, ambitious novel that requires a lot of attention to keep the characters and their relationships with each other in mental order. In lesser hands, it would be confusing, but Catton keeps it engaging, requiring enough consideration to feel compelled to really focus on the book without making it feel like studying. The characters are complex and interesting, and the tangled web of their interactions with each other keep the tension from slacking. Indeed, for such a long book, it keeps itself going remarkably well, a testament to Catton's skill with prose and plotting. The way the layers of the mysteries the book presents are gradually peeled back and revealed is gratifying, feeling like tiny rewards doled out along the way until the end. The themes of loneliness, the role of chance, truth and lies, and revenge all come in and out of focus throughout, each feeling like it's given time and space to develop without being unduly flogged. For me, it was a wonderful book. It's hard to strike the balance between "passively entertaining" and "too much information management required to properly enjoy", but The Luminaries was right in the sweet spot. I got lost in it.

Now that I've just gushed about it, it does have some issues. It's a slow starter, taking advantage of its prodigious length to stretch the story out perhaps more than really necessary. Some characters feel like they get the short shrift and if Catton was less wedded to her astrology conceit, should have been cut. The way Catton reveals a bunch of pertinent information right at the end of the book in flashback, almost like a coda after the "real" ending of the story, does feel a little too cute by half. But honestly, those are mostly nitpicks. I'm not the sort to wish that a book would never end (I'm always excited about something on the horizon), but I did close it with a satisfied sigh and think "what a great book". It's not something to read when you're looking for something breezy and light, but otherwise, I highly highly recommend it. ( )
  ghneumann | Jun 14, 2024 |
A twisted tale of treachery, desire, betrayal and abuse all round, however it was written for 1865 New Zealand Gold rush whereby women and Chinese were deemed property. Hard to read in the initial stages so I found that as a reader I had to keep retracing pages and referring to my character map that I had drawn up after restarting the book once too often. It is a great story (if you can endure) of many plots that are intertwined and at the very end it seems the evil characters Francis Carver & and his devious cohort Lydia Wells still come out smelling of roses. I had no idea what the lunar / horoscopes/ zodiac had to do with the story, maybe it is just that everyone’s lives are intertwined due to the universe and whether we like it or not this determines our path, our fate. This line from the story, felt and spoken in mind by Anna (the whore) resonated with me as her character was indeed a sad story and yet she started out as a young, adventurous (but sadly naïve to the predation of humankind). As she lay in a gaol cell, beaten, bloodied uttering murmurings from her recent opiate use she felt and spoke in mind ‘A woman fallen has no future, a man risen has no past’ . Today, I feel that, this perception is still aligned with how people perceive and act towards each other. ( )
  rata | Jun 6, 2024 |
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. ( )
1 vote therebelprince | Apr 21, 2024 |
What a complex book! Hokitika in south New Zealand is a hotbed of a gold rush in 1866, drawing all the characters you can imagine, including, notably a Māori native, Chinese immigrants, a prostitute (& her pimp), hoteliers, bankers, a prison keeper, etc. along with the folks looking for gold and those looking to defraud them. A myriad of coincidences occur and every person knows just a little bit that all together tells the story. This book slowly puts the pieces together to reveal the origins of missing gold, a missing man, and all the underlying mysteries. Opioid addiction plays an important part of the story as well. Quite an excellent book. Almost 30 hours of an audiobook and I just raced through it. The narrator is spectacular. ( )
  KarenMonsen | Feb 9, 2024 |
3.5 ( )
  sweetimpact | Jan 18, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 247 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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.”
adicionado por ozzer | editarNew 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.
adicionado por monnibo | editarQuill & 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.
adicionado por Polaris- | editarThe 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.
 

» Adicionar outros autores (37 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Eleanor Cattonautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Walz, MelanieÜbersetzerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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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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