NOT Reading "The Luminaries"

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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby wildlx » 28 Nov 2013, 09:55

No. I'm not even particularly liking the way she writes. You don't even have one of those paragraphs a la Winterson that completely dazzles you.
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby Baker » 29 Nov 2013, 06:10

Ditto. I find, with the pacing of this book, I have ample time to weigh each word, phrase, and sentence. I've not come across any turn of phrase that has knocked me back on my heels in admiration and envy. I'm simply not seeing what is so fantastic about this book. The rate at which she is drip-feeding the story is glacial. Yet, she suddenly introduces a new character and the story switches to him. I'm thinking about Lautenberg. The way she bounces between heads, and then addresses the reader as the narrator, is not my cup of tea at all. It keeps dropping me from a story I'm finding is not that gripping to begin with. I am actually finding the pseudo-nineteenth century writing style pretty pretentious. I couldn't believe it the first time I read "d--ded".
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby wildlx » 29 Nov 2013, 06:35

I am also finding a bit irritating her addressing the reader.
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby Baker » 30 Nov 2013, 06:33

I am also finding myself thinking: why should I care? So far, none of the characters has engaged me at all. How about you?


BTW Fran noticed what I was reading on my tablet last night:
Fran: That doesn't look like The Luminaries.
Me: It's not.
Fran: Shouldn't you be reading it?
Me: I'm savoring it. I don't want to read it too quickly.
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby wildlx » 30 Nov 2013, 21:48

Baker wrote:I am also finding myself thinking: why should I care? So far, none of the characters has engaged me at all. How about you?


Nope. No engagement at all. Does the first question mean that you're ready to give up on reading the book ;-)?

Baker wrote:BTW Fran noticed what I was reading on my tablet last night:
Fran: That doesn't look like The Luminaries.
Me: It's not.
Fran: Shouldn't you be reading it?
Me: I'm savoring it. I don't want to read it too quickly.


lol. I didn't read it in the last two days. Yesterday I had a good excuse because I was not home at night until late, but the day before I just didn't feel like reading it.
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby Baker » 01 Dec 2013, 06:59

No, not ready to give up, yet. I read some more last night.

Part of her style that really doesn't help me get into the book is her perpetual explanations of character actions/reactions. No one can say or do anything without her feeling compelled to comment on it. I really hope aspiring lesfic authors don't read this book and decide to emulate it. Sure, the infodumps and infothinks aren't as clumsily written as a lot of lesfic, but boy is Catton more prolific. It's easy to see why this book is so long. Can you imagine 800+ page lesfic novels? :scared:

Seriously, I'm wondering if the Man Booker panel were so enamoured of this book because it attempts to hark back to a classic time for the novel: the nineteenth century, when there was no tv or smartphones or much of anything to do in the evenings for those with time and disposable income, and books ran to multiple volumes. The way she plays with POV, the constant authorial interjections, and explanations, and the extremely leisurely pace of absolutely everything, are reminiscent of an older writing style. But there's a reason writing and reading habits evolved away from that style...
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby FranW » 01 Dec 2013, 07:14

I got as far as page 112 (just checked my nook) but have no desire to pick it up again.
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby wildlx » 01 Dec 2013, 08:33

Baker wrote: Can you imagine 800+ page lesfic novels? :scared:

Probably the characters would die from exhaustion from too much sex ;-).

FranW wrote:I got as far as page 112 (just checked my nook) but have no desire to pick it up again.

Perfectly understandable so far.
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby Baker » 03 Dec 2013, 07:37

wildlx wrote:Probably the characters would die from exhaustion from too much sex ;-).

lol

wildlx wrote:
FranW wrote:I got as far as page 112 (just checked my nook) but have no desire to pick it up again.

Perfectly understandable so far.

Yup. I had another spot of insomnia, so I got up to read a bit of this book. Balfour has had an extended conversation with the vicar, which actually took the form of pages and pages of backstory from the vicar's POV where Balfour disappeared completely. And, yes, the author helpfully supplied copious amounts of infothink and narrative character explanation for us. Then we pinged back to Balfour and had his charming exchange with "the Maori man", which, yes included a lot of helpful character explanation from inside the head of "the Maori man" and from the author.

The more I read, the more tedious this book is becoming. The ability to put it down for a couple of days and come back and not feel you've lost anything--because there was bugger all to miss--is not really helping. It simply encourages me to take these leisurely gaps in the reading (and fill them in with something more entertaining and/or thought provoking).

Still not seeing why this book won the Man Booker.
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Re: Reading "The Luminaries"

Postby Baker » 05 Dec 2013, 06:04

Another spot of insomnia, so a few more pages.

This is the type of paragraph that is partly to blame for me finding this book a slog to read. Balfour goes into the bank to ask a couple of questions. Instead of just asking the effing questions, the author has to indulge herself in some painfully mannered description:
What a contrast this young man posed to the Maori in the street! They were rough contemporaries in age, but where Tauwhare had been muscled, tense, and proud, this fellow was languid, even catlike: he moved with a kind of casual luxury, as though he saw no need to spend his strength on swiftness, and nor did he see any reason to conserve it. He was lean in body. His hair was brown in hue, long, and curly at the tips: he wore it tied in a ribbon at the nape of his neck, in the fashion of the whaler. His face was broad and his eyes spaced widely; his lips were full, his teeth very crooked, and his nose rather large. These features conspired to form an expression that was both honest and nonchalant--and nonchalance is a form of elegance, when it demands much, and declines to reveal its source. Balfour considered him a very elegant young man.

I am growing to hate colons.

Why is it important that we know the bank teller's hair "was brown in hue" or that "he was lean in body"? :roll:
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