I like to link to other blogs when I review a book, especially so when it’s a book I love. It wasn’t easy to do that with The Luminaries, because the novel was so recent at the time I reviewed it that blog posts weren’t so widespread (no doubt its length also played a part!). Now that has started to change, I want to highlight some other people’s thoughts:
Anna of A Case for Books was another early admirer of The Luminaries; we were both invited to Granta’s party celebrating Eleanor Catton’s Booker shortlisting (which in due course became a much greater celebration; Anna recorded the reaction as Catton’s win was announced, which was quite something to experience). She’s now posted her review of The Luminaries; I especially love her insights on the part gold plays in the novel, and the way that Catton turned the golden ratio into the book’s central relationship.
Claire of Word by Word talks about how the novel folds back in on itself rather than ‘beginning’ and ‘ending’ as such. That takes me straight back to the experience of reading The Luminaries.
Naomi of The Writes of Woman had a similar experience to me, of the novel speeding up in its second half. (I think of it as a catapult, which needs to be stretched out into the long opening section, before it is released with greater force.)
Dan Hartland would have put Colm Tóibín’s book ahead of Catton’s for the Booker (I was the other way around), but he liked The Luminaries nevertheless. He has some interesting things to say about agency and causality in the book.
What all these reviews now make me want to do is go back and re-read The Luminaries to see what else I can find in it. I’m sure I will do that at some point, but not quite yet; it’s something to save for a special occasion, because this is a book that needs – and deserves, and repays – time.