Women Writers Reading Challenge #25: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton


I don’t know what I expected this book to be when I picked it up. I read part of the New York Times book review, enough to be interested, and I added it to my to-read list. I never expected to be so enchanted with this book. Twenty pages in, and I still had no idea where this book was going, another twenty pages and I knew I wouldn’t be able to put the book down. It’s a long book, but that simply doesn’t matter. It defies conventions, as it’s sort of a mystery and it’s definitely historical fiction, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a wonderful example of what fiction can do, how a web can be untangled or a thread unraveled. It’s a book about greed, betrayal, luck, destiny, and fellowship. The best way I can explain this book is an untangling like when all your jewelry clumps together and you have to separate each piece. Catton juggles her many characters deftly and with grace–each is carefully drawn and looked at objectively and each has a significant role to play. I never thought that I would be so in love with a book about the 1860s gold rush in New Zealand, but I did, and I think you will too.

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