Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Luminaries

I wish I could sugarcoat this to make myself sound faster or smarter, but it's impossible: this book took me over two months to finish.  Granted, Eleanor Catton's novel is over 800 pages and there is a small child taking up a lot of my time, but that seems like a really long time to get through a novel.  
It should give you a taste of how much/little I enjoyed it. 
The short story is that The Luminaries is about Walter Moody, an Englishman who has sailed to New Zealand in the 1860s to partake in their gold rush.  On the night he arrives, he stumbles upon a gathering in the lobby of a hotel; twelve men are discussing their involvement in the disappearance of a young entrepreneur, the overdose of a prostitute, and the sudden discovery of a rather large fortune at the house of a dead alcoholic.  This sounds like an interesting read right off the bat. 
And I really wanted to enjoy this tome.  It's the most recent Man Booker Prize recipient, the author is a young woman (always exciting to see the award go to the unexpected!), and I truly think it is a well-written story.  It just wasn't interesting to me.  It took a few chapters to get into the language Catton uses, as it is (evidently) a parody of a 19th-century novel and the characters speak as such.  Even taking that into consideration, something about the convoluted story arc and main characters didn't do it for me.  
Does that happen to you?  I'm not sure if it was overrated or just not suited for me.  


  1. I could not get into this book so I commend you for staying with it. Right now I've got the latest effort of Emma Donoughue, author of "Room" (and I loved that one), but this one isn't doing it for me.

    1. I've got Frog Music on my list of books to read, too, and am a bit skeptical. We'll see how this experiment works out...