a summer book


The weather has been bad for camping but good for reading in #gigatownporirua. And so along with the rest of New Zealand I read The Luminaries.

It’s a great book and worth all its 800 or so pages. The structure is based on the lunar cycle and each chapter refers to the phases of the moon at the time of the events described in the story. Each character is representative of a sign of the zodiac so for the first part I wondered which aspects of the sign they personified, but then I got into the story and stopped worrying about that.

It’s a crafty tale of intrigue, murder and duplicity set in the gold town of Hokitika in the South Island of New Zealand in the 1860s. Like Dickens the author presents a pre-chapter summary and amusingly as the chapters get shorter to match the waning moon the summaries get more involved. It’s a clever ploy, especially if, like me, you only start reading the summaries half way through the book. There are indeed quite a few ‘aha’ or more correctly ‘ooohhh’ moments.

It’s a good yarn for a wet summer. Read it. It won the Man Booker, you know.


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