Nominated by:

Muntpunt, Brussels, Belgium

Calgary Public Library, Canada

Saint John Free Public Library, New Brunswick, Canada

Gradska knjižnice Rijeka, Croatia

Library of Birmingham, UK

Auckland Libraries, New Zealand

Christchurch City Library, New Zealand

Dunedin Public Libraries, New Zealand

Timaru District Libraries, New Zealand

Wellington City Libraries, New Zealand

Publisher of nominated edition:

Granta, UK

McClelland & Stewat, Canada

Victoria University Press, New Zealand

The Luminaries

Eleanor Catton      

2015 Longlist

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Eleanor Catton was born in 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand. Her debut novel The Rehearsal garnered prizes and acclaim around the world, including the 2009 Betty Trask Award. The Luminaries won the 2013 Man Booker Prize. It also won the Governer General’s Literary Award in Canada. Eleanor Catton lives in Auckland.

Librarians’ Comments

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2013. A bold neo-Victorian murder mystery set in a remote gold-mining frontier town in nineteenth-century New Zealand, in which three unsolved crimes link the fates and fortunes of twelve men. Dickens meets Deadwood in this irresistible, masterful and compelling tour de force.

Readers undaunted by the epic length of The Luminaries are rewarded with a host of memorable characters whose interconnections are gradually revealed, and an intriguing mystery gradually untangled as the narrative pace increases. Described by Robert McFarlane, the Man Booker Prize Chair of Judges as “awesome in its structured complexity, and addictive in its story telling”, The Luminaries also won Canada’s Governor General’s Award for English Fiction.

The Luminaries is the longest book and the youngest author ever to win the Man Booker Prize. The novel evokes the mid-19th century world of shipping, banking and the gold rush boom. A brilliantly constructed ghost story, intense and full of surprises.

The Luminaries is a door stopper of a book full of twists and surprises. Set in New Zealand in the gold rush years, Eleanor Catton transports the reader into 1866 and the narrative keeps the reader turning the page for more. It is a hefty read but it is written so well, you don’t realise its length.

This book was really nominated by our readers and borrowers. We have over 500 copies and they are all on loan, with a waiting list of over 200 people. It’s an enthralling novel which is reintroducing the pleasure of a long, thoughtful read, despite the times!

Engrossing, complex and very clever.

A complex and vividly drawn portrayal of life in 1860s New Zealand.

The Luminaries is a complex, multifaceted and compelling tale. Beautiful language breathes life into a raw, memorable cast of characters and events, skilfully evoking a strong sense of time and place.

This original historic novel set on the West Coast of New Zealand, is a brilliantly constructed, witty, thriller by a highly accomplished writer.

Related Entries