Eleanor Catton is a Canadian-born New Zealand author of mystery and thriller novels. Her novel The Luminaries won the 2013 Man Booker Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. She also adapted The Luminaries for television and wrote the screenplay for “Emma.” (based on the Jane Austen novel).

Eleanor Catton made her debut as a novelist in 2008 with The Rehearsal. Below is a list of Eleanor Catton’s books in order of when they were originally published:

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

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Eleanor Catton Reviews: I found The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton to be absolutely fantastic. While the topic of a student-teacher relationship can often feel clichéd, Catton managed to approach it from a fresh perspective. One notable difference is that the main character isn’t the student involved in the illicit relationship, which adds a unique dimension to the narrative. This approach makes the story more relatable to real-life situations that most people encounter.

Furthermore, the incorporation of the drama school as a kind of mirror or challenge to the central relationship was unexpected and added depth to the storyline. It’s clear that Catton’s storytelling took an innovative and thought-provoking approach, making for a captivating read. -K.

The Rehearsal stands out as a uniquely structured book compared to the many I’ve read. Its distinctive style presents a bit of a challenge, but that very challenge is what makes it so intriguing. We initially picked up this book based on the great reputation of The Luminaries, and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. -T.

Reading The Rehearsal prompts you to recognize that the world truly is a stage, and the roles we assume can vary greatly depending on circumstances and perspectives. It’s a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of human behavior and the multifaceted nature of reality. Bravo to the author for crafting such an engaging and innovative narrative!

I would have awarded The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton a five-star rating if the ending had taken a different turn. However, I won’t delve into spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. What truly astonished me was the remarkable level of detail encompassing every aspect that the author explored. She dedicated approximately a third of the book to meticulously crafting the characters, to the extent that they practically leaped off the pages. This was a clever strategy, especially considering the abundance of characters in the story, which required some effort to keep them all distinct and memorable.

Overall, it’s a fabulous portrayal of life in a New Zealand mining town during the late 1800s. The narrative provides a rich and immersive study of the era and its inhabitants, making for a captivating read despite the ending’s impact on the overall rating. -Anonymous

The Luminaries left me equally fascinated and frustrated. On one hand, I was completely immersed in it, almost addicted; on the other hand, I couldn’t shake a feeling of disappointment.

I wholeheartedly invested myself in the characters and the story, to the point where I went back and re-read a significant portion of the first half to untangle the numerous threads. Did this effort pay off? I’m not entirely certain. I admired how the writing delved into the psyche and souls of the characters, but in the end, I felt somewhat abandoned by them. It’s possible that this sense of abandonment is part of the author’s genius, something I haven’t quite grasped yet. Another reviewer drew parallels to Joseph Conrad’s work, a comparison I find apt. To truly appreciate this book, one might need to immerse themselves in it and revisit it multiple times, with the potential for enlightenment as the reward. The challenge, however, is whether one has the stamina to do so. I’m not in that place right now.

If I were to give it another go, I’d opt for a physical copy over an e-book. Having the ability to flip through the pages might prove more helpful. It’s possible that some of the nuances were lost in the translation to the Kindle format.

So, if you’re up for a literary challenge and willing to put in the effort for a potentially rich reward, this book is an excellent choice. However, if you’re seeking a more accessible literary escape for winding down at the end of the day, it might not be the best fit. The rewards are likely abundant, but they require some diligent work to uncover. -Anonymous

The conclusion of Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton was undeniably stunning in classic thriller style, yet it left me with a profound sense of emptiness as a reader. Prior to that, I thought Catton had truly found her footing as a writer who could deliver what I desired. The character arcs were skillfully executed, providing ample opportunities to both love and loathe the multifaceted characters Catton had crafted. I raced eagerly towards what I anticipated would be the conclusion, only to be blindsided by a surprising twist. On the surface, this should have been exactly what every reader desires, right? But it wasn’t. It left me questioning, “What’s the key takeaway here?” I felt as though I wanted to pick up the phone and ask, “Eleanor, who convinced you to take this unconventional approach?” The narrative had me in its grip, but the conclusion left me with a lingering sense of disquiet. -Ted

Eleanor Catton is undeniably a talented writer, at least in my perspective. She possesses a remarkable ability to craft complex characters, even if they come across as unlikeable on the surface. Similar to authors like Lionel Shriver, Catton has a knack for drawing readers into the lives of morally ambiguous individuals.

However, in Birnam Wood, it felt as though she abandoned her characters after a pivotal moment. From that point onward, the narrative lost its coherence and things stopped making much sense. It’s as if the story needed an extra hundred pages or so to make the ensuing events believable. While it was evident that the story was heading towards some kind of catastrophic climax, the execution was simultaneously dramatic and flat.

The perplexing ending left me puzzled. It felt disconnected from the rest of the story, leaving me with a sense of wasted time spent reading the book. I can’t help but wonder if Catton ran out of inspiration or ideas, or perhaps if external pressures, like publisher deadlines, influenced the conclusion. While not every reader can be pleased with an ending, this one felt exceptionally disconnected and left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction after investing hours into the tale. -Sam

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