01 January 2014

The Luminaries ~ Eleanor Catton

***** FAVOURITE *****

 Winner : 2013 Booker Prize
ToB X : 2014

Wherein the author weaves a tale of dastardly behaviours, lost fortunes and fallen women.  History and location colour the very fibers of the story and the reader is wrapped in complexities as the timeline unravels.

This is a masterful storyteller, an artisan of the woven word.  The language is rich, slightly archaic, highly descriptive. The writing is stylish and unusual.  The plot meanders as the intricate timeline unravels, giving us not just one storyline but many, and doubling back on itself between past and present.  It is a clever Dickensian detective story.

Set in Hokitika during the goldrush naturally brings an array of diverse characters in an unusual and exotic setting.  As each character is introduced, there is a vivid portrait painted in words, not just physical descriptions but also characteristics and backgrounds.  As a reader, I felt life being breathed into each one.  I could see them upon the stage Catton set.  I cared about their interactions and the ultimate outcome for each of them.

I wasn't fussed about the end (though maybe I just didn't want it to end!).  It became rather like the tassels on a fringe as it tied up loose threads, a little rushed, a little decorative rather then substantial.