"And it’s not even a novel in the normal sense, but rather a mass confabulation that evaporates in front of us, an astrological divination waning like the moon, the first section 360 pages long (or are those degrees?), the last a mere sliver. But it’s a sliver that delivers.," writes Bill Roorbach. Oct. 16, 2013, The New York Times.
Kirkus Review writes,"She blends elements of Victorian adventure tale, ghost story, detective procedural à la The Moonstone and shaggy dog tale to produce a postmodern tale to do Thomas Pynchon or Julio Cortázar proud; there are even echoes of Calvino in the author’s interesting use of both astronomy and astrology."
"But it is also a massive shaggy dog story; a great empty bag; an enormous, wicked, gleeful cheat. For nothing in this enormous book, with its exotic and varied cast of characters whose lives all affect each other and whose fates are intricately entwined, amounts to anything like the moral and emotional weight one would expect of it," writes in Kirsty Gunn's review of The Luminaries, for "The Guardian."
Lucy Daniel of The Telegraph writes, "This world turned on its head is an eerie place. On Moody’s arrival he looks for constellations by which to guide himself: “The skies were inverted, the patterns unfamiliar, the Pole Star beneath his feet, quite swallowed... He found Orion – upended, his quiver beneath him, his sword hanging upward from his belt; Canis Major – hanging like a dead dog from a butcher’s hook.'"
"As for madness, "The Luminaries" offers instances of avarice, fear and all manner of desperation. Hokitika, for American readers, may bring to mind the iconography of the Wild West—the brothel, the saloon, the general store—and the varied fortunes of the mining camp, with its wild-eyed prospectors, the lucky few who hit it rich, the unlucky many who do not, each preying on the other for advantage," writes Martin Rubin for the Wall Street Journal.
In Simmy Richman's review for The Independent, she writes, "Add to all this intrigue a devious device based on the astrological signs – Catton has stated that she is interested in these only for what they might say about character, rather than any belief they can be used to predict the future – and it all amounts to the type of novel that you will devour only to discover that you can't find anything of equal scope and excitement to read once you have finished."
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.