The Luminaries

The Luminaries

by Eleanor Catton

Ricki Brodie (01/04/14) This is the last book to win the Man Booker Prize solely awarded to writers from the British Commonwealth and Ireland. The author is 28 years old and this is her second book.

The book reminds me of a game I played as a child – Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Not I stole the cookie from the cookie jar. Then who stole the cookie…. Instead of cookies it is GOLD. The book is set in the 1800’s during the gold rush. The New Zealand gold rush! Initially we find a seasick, spooked traveler interrupting a meeting of 12 furtive men trying to pretend they were just in a club room for an evening out.

The story has multiple mysteries and interconnectivities - gold disappearing and reappearing, a rich man disappearing, a prostitute found lying in the middle of the road, opium dens, a hermit and of course a blaggard. The tale is told from the perspective of the players with each picking up the tale when his part comes due. There are many twist and turns that make this book compelling.

The author starts each chapter with an astrological chart and a synopsis of what is to come. I was a little frustrated because I did not understand the chart and at times felt foolish that I didn’t. I decided to not think about them and relish in the book. 4+
Rating:****+

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