Warning: this review contains spoilers. If you haven't yet read the book and don't want anything given away, you may want to listen to this after you've had a read!
Book Talk is seeing out 2013 with a bang, tackling Eleanor Catton's 800+ page Man Booker Prize Winner, The Luminaries. Sasha de Buyl is joined by Lois Wolfe, head of development at the National Library of Scotland, and literary critic and Man Booker judge Stuart Kelly to discuss Catton's challenging tome.
Set in the New Zealand goldfields in the mid-1860s, the story follows Walter Moody, a prospector who hopes to make his fortune but instead stumbles into a complex series of unsolved crimes, including a disappearance, an attempted suicide and the unexpected appearance of an unlikely fortune. The story unfolds not just as a mystery, but as a rich historical portrait of the mid-19th century goldrush boom and bust and the towns and people that rose and fell with it.
Does Catton's novel live up to its wild praise? Find out how our panellists felt about it, its unusual structure and heavy use of the zodiac and why they refer to this as an 'HBO novel.'
BookTalk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions.