Reviews tagging Misogyny

The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton

1 review

cursedepub's review against another edition

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challenging emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


The Luminaries gave me a very satisfying mystery - lots of twists and turns in a very intricately woven web of secrets, lies, alliances, associations, coincidences, and crime. Not everything is solved neatly by the end either, which I liked, and the last chapters were impossible for me to put down (stayed up until 6am to finish it, from around page 500 onward). There is very good balance of appeals to a reader's intellect, sense of ethics and justice, and romance and emotionality. The narrative tone is very pointed in flaying characters open for us to pick at their weaknesses and gasp at their tragedies, yet allows us to understand why each person might do what they did, and chose whom to sympathize with.  It's a very well-rounded story, with a cast of characters who are flawed and self-centered in ways that are really fun to read about. 

The prose itself does kind of... "put on airs," as the novel is meant to remind a reader of the writing conventions of 19th century literature, to match the setting. In this vein the novel is very clever and very witty, and  is very aware of how witty and clever it is. You get the sense that this nothing in this novel is there by accident, and that it's proud of itself for that. To me this was part of the charm, but others may be put off. 

One thing to note is that there is a lot of anti-Asian racist violence in the novel, a lot of casual racism in general, and anti-Asian and anti-sex work slurs tossed around liberally. I guess this would be typical of the period and setting. The novel does not excuse the racism and misogyny, but it's very there. 

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