The Luminaries

The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton Disappointing. At first, a gold rush & a murder sounded intriguing. I liked that the chapter lengths resembled a waning moon. The initial atmosphere was well written, burning slowly to leave a sense of suffocating tension.
However, the rest of the book was unsatisfactory. Nothing wrong with a twisting plotline, but here it seemed as though Catton had tried to fit too much (yes even 800 pages couldn't support this). The characters seemed Victorian parodies- the maligned prostitute, the gruff, paternal agent, the inscrutable foreigners. A bigger let down was the writing. In trying to imitate a Victorian style, The Luminaries contained its worst characteristics: stretches of purple prose and too much description, but no sight of any Dickensian wit or Poe-like thrills. To maintain the elaborate zodiac-themed structure, it seemed as though clarity of narrative had been forgotten. Wading through all that verbosity was a chore
I realise that The Luminaries may intend to be a Victorian pastiche, but it came across as trying too hard. It also has none of the inventiveness of Catton's debut novel The Rehearsal. I'm surprised this won the Booker.