Luminaries links

I like to link to other blogs when I review a book, especially so when it’s a book I love. It wasn’t easy to do that with The Luminaries, because the novel was so recent at the time I reviewed it that blog posts weren’t so widespread (no doubt its length also played a part!). Now that has started to change, I want to highlight some other people’s thoughts:

Anna of A Case for Books was another early admirer of The Luminaries; we were both invited to Granta’s party celebrating Eleanor Catton’s Booker shortlisting (which in due course became a much greater celebration; Anna recorded the reaction as Catton’s win was announced, which was quite something to experience). She’s now posted her review of The Luminaries; I especially love her insights on the part gold plays in the novel, and the way that Catton turned the golden ratio into the book’s central relationship.

Claire of Word by Word talks about how the novel folds back in on itself rather than ‘beginning’ and ‘ending’ as such. That takes me straight back to the experience of reading The Luminaries.

Naomi of The Writes of Woman had a similar experience to me, of the novel speeding up in its second half. (I think of it as a catapult, which needs to be stretched out into the long opening section, before it is released with greater force.)

Dan Hartland would have put Colm Tóibín’s book ahead of Catton’s for the Booker (I was the other way around), but he liked The Luminaries nevertheless. He has some interesting things to say about agency and causality in the book.

What all these reviews now make me want to do is go back and re-read The Luminaries to see what else I can find in it. I’m sure I will do that at some point, but not quite yet; it’s something to save for a special occasion, because this is a book that needs – and deserves, and repays – time.

Marking the half-year

It’s July already, but let’s not dwell on that too much. Instead, here’s a look back at some of my posts from earlier in 2012 that you may have missed:

Selected features

Selected reviews

June wrap-up

Book of the Month

Top of the pile this month was the second novel by a writer who is clearly going places. Jonathan Lee’s Joy is a great feat of of characterisation and voice which explores what drove a successful lawyer to commit suicide in a very public way, through the contrasting perspectives of herself and her colleague. It’s a book that brings to mind Rupture by Simon Lelic – in terms of quality as well as structure and subject.

Reviews

Features

May wrap-up

Book of the Month

At the start of May, we found out which novel won this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award, and my favourite read of the month was a previous Clarke shortlistee – Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army. Already I have plans for the next book of Hall’s I’m going to read; there won’t be a review of it, but something else. More on that in a few weeks…

Reviews

Features

September wrap-up

This wrap-up post is a little later than usual, because I was away at FantasyCon over the weekend. But here’s what happened on the blog in September.

Book of the Month

My favourite read this month is a work of non-fiction (something I don’t read as often as I’d like). Joe Moran’s On Roads: a Hidden History is a look at the British road system in the post-war years, but there’s so much more to it than might appear from that description.

Reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

Features

August wrap-up

As August draws to a close, here’s the usual look back at activity on the blog.

Book of the Month

No contest this month — the best book I read in August was Robert Shearman’s superlative story collection Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical. Certainly the best book of short fiction I have read so far this year, I expect it’ll also feature on my best-reads-of-2011 list.

Reviews

Features

July wrap-up

Another month ends; here’s what was on the blog…

Book of the Month

In July, this blog was mostly concerned with short stories, and it’s a collection of those which takes the top spot this month: Stuart Evers’ Ten Stories About Smoking.

Reviews

Features

June wrap-up

June was an exceptionally lean month in the life of this blog (and things are likely to remain that way until I’m in a position to devote more time to reading and blogging), but here’s what there was.

Book of the Month

I’ve been reading quite a lot of short stories lately (in preparation for ShortStoryVille), and my pick of the month is a collection of those: Sarah Salway’s Leading the Dance.

Reviews

Features

May wrap-up

As spring comes to an end, it’s time to look back over the month of May…

Book of the Month

It’s tough to narrow it down to one title this month, so I’m going to declare it a tie between two. Naomi Wood’s The Godless Boys was a very fine debut, while Conrad Williams’ Loss of Separation was another great read from a favourite author. (And this was nearly a three-way tie, because Chris Beckett’s The Holy Machine is not far behind them at all.)

Reviews

Features

April wrap-up

Time for a round-up of what was happening on this blog in April.

Book of the Month

I meant to read it last year, but never got around to it; and I should have done, because it’s excellent. Mike Thomas’s debut novel Pocket Notebook is a brilliant study of a policeman’s life spinning out of control, and a superb piece of writing. I can’t wait to see what Thomas comes up with next; I’ll be following his writing career with great interest.

Reviews

Features