by Eleanor Catton
Granta Books, 2013. 834 pgs. Historical Fiction
This is a quite interesting historical novel, set in New Zealand in the 1860's. The story begins with a recent arrival to the gold mining settlement entering a hotel lounge and stumbling into a mystery. Each of the twelve men are connected by a series of mysterious events that occurred simultaneously several weeks earlier. At first suspicious, they quickly decide to take this new person into their confidence, relating their various stories. A prosperous young man has disappeared, a prostitute collapsed in the road in what looks like a bizarre suicide attempt and a man is found dead in his cabin with an unaccounted for fortune in gold. What follows is a sweeping tale of these mysterious events. The author does an excellent job of capturing the language and tone of a classic Victorian novel without sounding contrived or overwrought. While the book does have a somewhat daunting length, it reads rather quickly. This is to be recommended to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or classic literature.