Monday, August 5, 2013

"The stars align" - great interview with Eleanor Catton

Further to my post last week about Kiwi writer Eleanor Catton's upcoming "historical, astrological murder mystery", THE LUMINARIES, which has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, over the weekend I read an excellent interview-based article on Catton by David Larsen in the New Zealand Listener online. The article goes into some depth about the writing of THE LUMINARIES, and I found it really interesting to read about Catton's original idea and inspiration for the book, and how it evolved, as well as her own evolution as a writer - from childhood passion to literary stardom.

I had the pleasure of meeting Catton at the New Zealand International Arts Festival last year, where our crime fiction crew (including Paul Cleave and Vanda Symon) tried to tempt her to the dark side. We all had a lot of fun and a great night out at Wellington's famous Matterhorn bar, discussing all things books and more (Vanda, Ellie, and Penguin's Katie pictured right). Since that time, I've been really looking forward to reading Catton's take on a murder mystery tale.

In his article, Larsen describes THE LUMINARIES, which has just been released this week, thusly:
"A murder mystery set in and around Hokitika in the gold rush year of 1866, the novel uses astrological star charts as an organising principle, rotating 12 characters born under 12 different star signs through a complex 12-month schema, while eight other characters move in and out of phase with them. It is over 800 pages long."

I am very much looking forward to reading it, 800 pages or not. In the meantime, it's well worth having a read of Larsen's excellent feature, which is available for anyone to read here (much of The Listener's content is now behind a subscriber paywall, but this article is free for anyone to read, which is terrific).

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