Author: Eleanor Catton Genre: , , ,

It was announced yesterday: New Zealand author Eleanor Catton has won the famous Man Booker Prize with The Luminaries, a murder mystery set during the West Coast gold rush.

This is an outstanding achievement on par with the success of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

  • It will do wonders for New Zealand authors in general.
  • Local publishers: Victoria University Press are presumably rushed off their feet right now.
  • Literary tourists will be flocking to Hokitika where the novel is set.

There is controversy too, surrounding Catton’s win. At 28, she is the youngest to ever take the prize. Also, the novel is the longest to ever win the Booker – weighing in at a hefty 832 pages. And then there is Catton’s attack on New Zealand reviewers who slated the book before it received global attention. Tall poppy syndrome perhaps?

So what’s the book actually about? It goes like this:

“The Luminaries is, at the plot level, a page-turning, suspenseful story about a series of unsolved crimes, written in the manner of a Victorian sensation novel. In January 1866, in the New Zealand gold-rush town of Hokitika, a Scot called Moody walks into a hotel smoking room to find 12 men ruminating on a series of mysterious events: the disappearance of a rich prospector, the death of a wealthy recluse, the beating to a pulp of a prostitute. All the men are connected to these events and bound to each other.” The Guardian


Why you should read The Luminaries.

The Girvan Library has several copies of The Luminaries available to borrow in print and ebook format. Get in quick because at 832 pages, once this book goes out, it may be a while coming back.

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