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Booker Prize

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

    So right up front I have to tell you this book, published in 2013 (and the 2013 Booker Prize winner) is a difficult read. It’s long and has a complicated plot, with multiple inscrutable characters. But Catton has a gift for story development and I am glad I stuck with it…despite a few moments where I wasn’t sure what was happening. Here is my book review The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

    New Zealand 1866

    It’s a gold rush in New Zealand’s south island when we meet the novels protagonist Walter Moody. A prospector who has arrived in Hokitika to make his fortune. But Moody finds himself entangled immediately into a local murder mystery of one Crosbie Wells and a missing person of one Emery Stains. Moody discovers the 12 local men, all suspect – each with a claim to a fortune and a girl.

    Wikipedia describes “The novel’s complex structure is based on the system of Western astrology, with each of the twelve local men representing one of the twelve signs of the zodiac, and with another set of characters representing planets in the solar system.” I found this part of the novel difficult to follow and frankly unnecessary.

    The Ladies

    Anna Wetherelle, innocently arrived and thrust into the prostitution profession and Lydia Wells “in the entertainment business” and one of the most despicable characters of the book, each play heavily into the mystery. Anna and Lydia are deeply associated with both the dead Wells and the missing Stains and linked to many of the other unsavory and upstanding local 12 men.

    The Storyline

    Written in a narrative that is not a straight line…the plot is unveiled through fantastically written story telling from the present moment and months throughout the past year. As the past and present merge so do the menagerie of characters, many out to kill each other all in the name of gold, revenge, opium, secrets, loyalty and love.

    It’s a whodunnit it right up to the very end. Stick with it and I think you will be pleased. Thank you for reading my book review The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

    ****Four stars for The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

    My current read Tom Lake by Anne Patchett

    See last week’s book review The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Murray

    Did you see our Travel Wardrobe post? See it here My Travel Wardrobe – 8 months & 19 Countries

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Promise by Damon Galgut

    Booker Prize winner for 2021, here is my book review The Promise by Damon Galgut.

    How much weight do we put into a unmet promise? This is the premise of Galgut’s Booker Prize winning novel based in South Africa during apartheid.

    Three siblings struggle separately with their individual pasts as they lose touch with each other following the death of the matriarch of the family outside of Pretoria South Africa.

    Amor, the youngest, witnesses what she believes is a promise made by her father to her mother as her mother lays dying. Amor will spend the rest of her days feeling guilty about this unmet promise.

    Meanwhile, her elder siblings; sister Astrid, resentful to find being beautiful doesn’t always make you happy and Anton the eldest son, bitter about his lost potential. The three siblings drift apart only reuniting when funerals call them home.

    This powerful family saga will captivate you as both this family and South Africa navigate a tumultuous and changing ways. How will this family make their way in the new South Africa and can they find find hope in all their resentment for their family and all that has been lost?

    Thank you for reading my book review The Promise by Damon Galgut.

    ****Four stars for The Promise by Damon Galgut

    Read last week’s review The Lincoln Highway

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

    Reading Wednesday

    Winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart is a heart-wrenching tale of childhood in Scotland in the 1980’s amongst addiction, poverty and sexuality. This is my Book Review Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart.

    Reminiscent of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, but set in Glasgow of the 1980’s, we are introduced to Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a child in search of love in a family of misfits, violence and addiction. Shuggie lives in rundown public housing during the Thatcher era of the 1980’s. Unemployment, drug and alcohol addiction, hunger and poverty are what Shuggie’s childhood is made of.

    Shuggie’s loyalty to his alcoholic mother, Agnes, even after his siblings give up on her and walk away, leaves Shuggie to care for his mother who falls deeper into drink. Agnes spends all the weekly ration money on alcohol, often leaving Shuggie without food for days. Agnes’ search for love in every man who comes along always ends in heartache and rape, taking her deeper into the drink.

    Stuart tells a story of heartache and addiction, a story of his own childhood played out in the pages of Shuggie Bain. Despite the depressing tale Stuart develops an incredible collection of characters who pass through Shuggie’s life, all told with depth and compassion.

    Don’t let the sadness of this story keep you from it – it is an important book to read, and well deserved of the coveted Booker Prize. Brilliant.

    *****Five Stars for Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart.

    Read last week’s review of Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman.

    My current read The Burning by Megha Majumdar

    See this week’s top performing pin here Going to Hana Backwards.

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