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Eleanor Catton

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

    Wow this book. I went into this without any knowledge of the plot or any previous reads of reviews. It is a mind-bender. My husband thought I would like it, and we both had enjoy The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton a couple months ago. So I started Birnam Wood and I was blown away. Here is my book review Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton.

    Like the Luminaries, Birnam Wood is set in New Zealand but this time in the modern times. Released in early 2023 Catton has developed a unique story for our time. We are introduced to Mira and the people behind the unregulated, philanthropic but sometimes criminal gardening collective that plants crops wherever no one will notice, in an effort to grow food for the world. When a giant landslide (not unheard of in New Zealand) cuts off the town of Thorndike, Mira and Birnam Wood decide to take over a farm and hope they can go unnoticed.

    But also taking advantage of the currently abandoned property is American billionaire Robert Lemoine who tells Mira he is building his bunker for the end of the world. Is that the truth? Far from it as Lemoine has no intention of the world coming to an end…rather he is money grabbing, untrustworthy and ruthless tech wizard and no one is safe around him.

    This is a psychological thriller with a horrific plot that gets worse as the story unfolds. How many will die for the sake of their beliefs or for the insatiable need for money and power? Thank you for reading my book review Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton.

    *****Five stars for Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton.

    Read last weeks book review Dare to Travel by Katherine Leamy

    My current read Chenneville by Paulette Jiles

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    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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