Read from January 3rd to February 6th 2018
When she was 14, says Wikipedia, Eleanor Catton and her father went to Arthur’s Pass from Christchurch, their home city. She was immediately fascinated by the stories about the Gold Rush in the 1860s, and she will return later to the West Coast, this time going to Hokitika, the most famous center of the West coast Gold Rush, to study the documents and to look for names and personalities of those times. Thus was born The Luminaries.
Therefore, The Luminaries is a historical novel – let’s say in Victorian style, about 19th-century New Zealand, spiced with some elements of the gothic novel, that playfully show that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt in mankind’s philosophy. Or maybe the label was put in a hurry and history is only the background for a wonderful love story, literally (and literary J) proving that l’amor muove il sole e l’altre stele. Or maybe the love story, wonderful as it is, takes only secondary place to the powerful thriller that reveals once again that the sleep of reason produces monsters, with a touch of a mystery for whoever wants to challenge his “little grey cells”. Indeed it is. That is, it is all this and none of the above, a postmodern masterpiece that takes ingredients from many genres (nothing new here, it is what postmodernists have been doing for a long time now), to establish the compatibility chart between the narrative and the reader, daring the latter to choose among the many stories the one that speaks to him. For each one of the stories seems to have a hidden meaning.