Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Luminaries is a door-stop of a novel at 832 pages but one, as I have already mentioned, that I feel might be the dark horse on the list if Crace doesn't run away with the Booker Prize.

It is superby well reviewed today in the Guardian Review by Kirsty Gunn.   The narrative is set in the 19th century on the wesst coast of southern New Zealand during the time of its goldrush and Gunn considers it the consummate literary page-turner.   But intriguingly she goes on to point out that the book 'is not about story at all.   It's about what happens to us when we read novels - what we think we want from them - and from novels of this size, in particular.   Is it worthwhile to spend so much time with a story that in the end isn't invested in its characters? Or is thinking about why we should care about them in the first place the really interesting thing?   Making us consider so carefully whether we want a story with emotion and heart or an intellectual idea about the novel in the disguise of historical fiction ... There lies the real triumph of Catton's remarkable book'.  

Maybe I shall eschew what is probably a bad habit and now read an historical fictional book!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful writing and a compelling story; a really engaging read, and long enough to get really immersed in. Deserving of the critical acclaim it's received.
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