Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Luminaries

What a neat ‘little’ novel I just finished. And to think it was just a last minute grab before I went to check them out in the local library. I love it when I’m thus pleasantly surprised.

The Luminaries
is about gold diggers. The actual gold digging folks or prospectors that go and searched the New Zealand hills for their ‘guaranteed ticket home’, which meant finding a fortune. The first person we meet is Moody, Walter (not Hank, although he might have been a good substitute) and he has come to Hokitika in the year 1866 to find gold.

The first thing he finds though is an assembly of twelve angry men who were meant to have a secret meeting to which he inadvertently stumbled upon. After an awkward social melee, he is quickly drawn into the circle of trust and they enfold the story before him that has been on their mind since January 14th, the night when Emery Staines, a young fortune gold digger, disappeared, Crosbie Wells, a hermit, died and Anna Wetherell, a whore, tried to commit suicide.
The Story continues for a few months, while other story lines enfolds which ultimately lead to the solving of a mysterious crime.

Catton chose to link each of the 12 main characters with a zodiac sign, beside which she also gave the other important characters (like Walter Moody) planetary meaning. Each chapters started with a hint in which direction it would go. Beneath each chapter title the author would explain a little about what you were to read about, as to guide your mind in the right direction. This begins very sparse, but as you come near the end, the introduction to a chapter can be longer than the actual chapter itself.

I’m not an avid crime reader and I’ll never will be, but this novel impressed me. It was thoroughly written, no loose ends, paired with entertaining characters and a setting that spoke to my imagination. Maybe I’m too forth coming to compare it with The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins but it’s mainly because that’s another mystery novel that I tremendously liked.

Only downside to the novel, is that I now long even more to visit New Zealand and take in that breathtaking landscape for myself.