The Luminaries
August 3, 2016 4:58 PM - by Eleanor Catton - Subscribe

The bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning novel hailed as "a true achievement. Catton has built a lively parody of a 19th-century novel, and in so doing created a novel for the 21st, something utterly new. The pages fly."--New York Times Book Review. It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to stake his claim in New Zealand's booming gold rush. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men...

Astrology, murder, opium, and more!
posted by flibbertigibbet (3 comments total)
So I admit to being very confused by the end until I ran across the cosmic twin theory -- that (especially) starting with the night they spent together, Ms. Wetherell and Mr. Staines share a fate. He, high on opium, falls into an open shipping crate and concusses himself, which causes her to fall in the street and concuss herself (leading to her arrest). The bullet that magically missed her hit him, while he was in a shipping crate on a ship miles away. Her mysterious wasting health was because her food was being used to keep him alive in the shipping crate. Etc., etc.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 5:00 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I thought this was SOOOOO tedious for the first few chapters ... it picks up considerably after that.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:32 PM on August 3, 2016

It's been a year and I've already mostly forgotten what happened in the book, but flibbertigibbet's explanation is what I thought was going on as well.

I was enthralled by this while reading and zoomed through it in a few days but somehow by the end I felt it added up to slightly less than the sum of its parts (maybe not surprising considering how many parts there are to sum!). I think with so much going on it is hard to stick the landing. It reminds me of Pynchon in the way that it sets you up to expect a big payoff and instead the narrative kind of dissolves.
posted by dfan at 5:54 AM on August 4, 2016

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