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Fiction Historical

The Luminaries

by (author) Eleanor Catton

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Jul 2014
Historical, Sagas, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2014
    List Price

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Winner of the Booker Prize, Governor General’s Award for Fiction, and now an exclusive series on Prime Video, The Luminaries is a magnificent novel of love, lust, murder, and greed, in which three unsolved crimes link the fates and fortunes of twelve men.
It is 1866 and young Walter Moody has come to stake his claim in New Zealand’s booming gold rush, make his fortune, and forever leave behind a family scandal. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to investigate what links three crimes that occurred on a single day: the town’s wealthiest man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and enormous cache of gold has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.
Part mystery, part fantastical love story, The Luminaries weaves together the changing fates and fortunes of an entire community, one where everyone has something to hide. Rich with character and event, it is a gripping page-turner and a fiendishly clever ghost story in which readers will gladly lose themselves. It confirms Eleanor Catton’s reputation as one of the most exciting and innovative novelists writing today.

About the author

Contributor Notes

ELEANOR CATTON is the author of the international bestseller The Luminaries, winner of the Booker Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her debut novel, The Rehearsal, won the First Novel Award, the Betty Trask Award, and the NZ Society of Authors’ Best First Book Award, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Writers Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. As a screenwriter, she adapted The Luminaries for television, and Jane Austen’s Emma for feature film. Born in 1985 in London, Ontario, and raised in New Zealand, she now lives in Cambridge, England.

Editorial Reviews

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is an entire narrative universe with its own mysterious cosmology. This exhilarating feat of literary design dazzles with masterful storytelling. Each character is a planet—complex and brilliantly revealed. Precise sensual prose illuminates greed, fear, jealousy, longing—all that it means to be human.” —Jury citation, Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction
“A magnificent novel: awesome in its structural complexity; addictive in its story-telling; and magical in its conjuring of a world of greed and gold.” —Robert Macfarlane, the Man Booker Prize Chair of Judges
“The type of novel that you will devour only to discover that you can’t find anything of equal scope and excitement to read once you have finished. . . . Do yourself a favour and read The Luminaries. . . .” —The Independent
“Irresistible, masterful, compelling. . . . The Luminaires has a gripping plot that is cleverly unravelled to its satisfying conclusion, a narrative that from the first page asserts that it is firmly in control of where it is taking us. . . . [Catton is] a mistress of plot and pacing. . . .” —The Telegraph (5-star review)
“Every sentence of this intriguing tale set on the wild west coast of southern New Zealand during the time of its goldrush is expertly written, every cliffhanger chapter-ending making us beg for the next to begin. . . . The consummate literary page-turner. . . .” —The Guardian
“Note-perfect. . . . [Catton’s] authority and verve are so impressive that she can seemingly take us anywhere; each time, we trust her to lead us back. . . . A remarkable accomplishment.” —Globe and Mail

The Luminaries is an impressive novel, captivating, intense and full of surprises.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Beautifully rendered. . . . Momentous. . . . An exquisite world unto itself.” —Maclean’s
“A finely wrought fun house of a novel. Enjoy the ride.” —Chris Bohjalian, Washington Post
“A remarkable achievement. . . . Intricate, painstakingly detailed and deliciously readable. . . . A novel that can be enjoyed for its engrossing entirety, as well as for the literary gems bestowed on virtually every page.” —Quill & Quire (starred review)
“A dazzling knot of interwoven lives. . . . Heart-pounding . . . .” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A tour de force of narrative control. . . . Catton does an incredible job of bringing to life the time and place and the utter ruthlessness that greed engenders in human beings. . . .” —Vancouver Sun
“Hugely addictive.” —Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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