The Luminaries” is a Booker-Prize winning book by Eleanor Catton. This intriguing book is described as a “fiendishly clever ghost story and gripping page turner and a thrilling novelistic achievement.” The New York Times praised it saying the author had created a “parody of a 19th-century novel, and in so doing created a novel for the 21st, something utterly new.” This week, I wanted to select a book that would offer an engaging modern story with escapism, adventure and an entertaining look at human complexity. The Luminaries fits this description perfectly.

The story is about Walter Moody, a man who comes to make his fortune in the New Zealand goldfields in the late 1800’s. When he arrives, he encounters twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events and unresolved crimes. Moody is soon drawn into their mysteries. The story is really about the characters and their hopes and secrets. The power of human desire, greed, and passion unfolds in surprising ways.

I chose this book for the Sixty and Me Community to celebrate the work of an author from New Zealand. I also wanted to introduce a new author and a modern award winning book that has received outstanding reviews. Also, the women in our community have met and known many men in their lives and I felt that this book would tell a story that would intrigue and entertain.

If you are new to audio books I have read several reviews that say “The Luminaries” is one of those books that cries out to be heard. I read that the range of characters, accents and the evocative language make it a wonderful audio experience. Perhaps listening might be more enjoyable than reading a book this time.

If you don’t already have a copy of “The Luminaries,” you can get it on Amazon.

To kick things off, here are a few questions. Please add your thoughts in the comments:

How did you experience the book? How did you feel reading it – intrigued, disturbed, confused, bored…?

Describe your favourite characters in the book. What were their personality traits, motivations, inner qualities? Do any of them remind you of people you know?

Is the plot engaging – is it a good story?

Was there a particular conversation that really struck you as important and well written?

Is the ending what you expected? If so, why? If not, why not… and how would you change it?

Was this a book you liked to read slowly, or did you find yourself turning the pages quickly?

If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?

Has this novel changed you? Have you learned something new or were you exposed to different ideas about people?

I hope that you enjoy this book! Please share your thoughts below.

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