Review written by David Ploskonka
Looking for a book you can truly sink your teeth into? A book practically designed for the winter months when you’re trapped inside?
The Luminaries is exactly what you need.
Think HBO’s Deadwood set in New Zealand during the 1860s gold rush. It’s a jigsaw puzzle of a book with a dozen interlocking mysteries; a cast of characters so compelling you will change whom you’re rooting for every time you turn the page; and a plot chock-full of dead bodies, adultery, opium addiction, con artists, gold prospecting, prostitutes, and séances. Yes, séances.
We follow Walter Moody who has come to make his fortune during New Zealand’s gold rush, but finds much more than he was looking for. We are pulled into the town’s story as well, following the lives of over twenty key characters as they struggle for wealth, love, power and, sometimes, for life itself.
The Luminaries is not a beach read. But, worry not, for Catton manages to make every page compelling with her gorgeous writing, sumptuous world building, and unyielding eye into the mysteries of what makes us all human. (And, yes, it even won the Man Booker Prize.)
I defy you to examine even a single piece of this jigsaw, and not play until the entire puzzle has been revealed.