Is there a book for every season? It was an idea we pondered when discussing our last choice ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton. Are there books more suited to nights by the fire while others fare better under a blue sky? Or were we simply getting creative with our excuses as to why very few of us could engage with this book...The verdict is out. It is a fine book by all accounts but it’s tough work; the level of detail we were presented with bested us on this occasion I’m afraid.
Catton looks like she is onto something great, kicking off her story with the classic scenario of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We watch as Walter Moody stumbles upon a dark and deadly secret in a mud spattered miners’ town of Victorian New Zealand during the gold rush. The scene is perfectly set for a stylish and enthralling ‘who dunnit?’ but then we have to wade through what felt like endless reams of banking, shipping and trading forecasts.
The characters are difficult to warm to. If I could have I would have chosen to simply follow Walter’s story but we jump back and forth between several characters. The complex layerings of plot details are quite demanding- astrological references being one of those! On the upside, Catton’s level of control over her expression is undeniable; her skill evident at every turn.
Who am I to judge a Booker prize winner you might say? Honestly though, if a book doesn’t grab you all the awards in the world won’t make a difference.
Our next choice is a clear departure from ‘The Luminaries’. Stephen
King’s ‘The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger’ is the first volume in King’s The Dark Tower series, originally published in 1982.
‘The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’
And so we enter the world of Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger in Mid-World, as he tracks his foe across a barren wasteland. This novel combines elements from science-fiction, dystopian fantasy and good old-fashioned Westerns. What’s not to like right there?
The film ‘The Gunslinger’ has just been released in cinemas this week, with Idris Elba playing the gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey taking on the role of his nemesis, the Man in Black. Worth a watch I imagine.
Both books are available in Books@One -if it's sold out, they'll order it for you.