Book BeginningsThe Luminaries by Eleanor Catton -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton — BOOK BEGINNINGS



Happy Independence Day weekend to my Friends in the USA! I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July celebration lined up.

It looks like things are going to be pretty low-key around our place. I went on my first work trip since before the pandemic last weekend and came home with covid. Just like that! I thought I might be one of the few people to escape getting it, but no luck. I’ve been home from work all week, although more to quarantine myself because my symptoms are mild. Now Hubby has it and he is quite cranky with me!

I hope you take the time from your holiday (or not) weekend to share the first sentence (or so) of the books you are reading with all of us here on Book Beginnings on Fridays. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy this week even if you are not reading it right now.


The twelve men congregated in the smoking room of the Crown Hotel gave the impression of a party accidentally met.

– from Part One, “A Sphere within a Sphere,” The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

Catton won the 2013 Booker Prize for this chunkster of a historical novel, set in the 1860s goldrush in New Zealand, packed with opium, fortune tellers, whores, tricksters, and lovers. I just finished it today and really liked it even if I did not completely love it. The style and tone are pitch perfect and the story is enthralling. But it gets caught in occasional swirling eddies where the story spins around but does not move forward. And a lot of very complicated questions get only obliquely answered in the final chapter, and only in the subtitle, which is pretty cheeky.


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The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


From The Luminaries:

Thrice already that morning the politician had protested the introduction of a new theme, returning always to his imperious patter about ships. Every time Balfour began to speak of local news, the politician declared himself sick to death of useless brooding about the hermit and the whore – when in fact, Balfour thought with annoyance, they hadn’t discussed either event in any real detail, and certainly not from all corners and all sides.



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