I am a slow traveller when it comes to moving from book to book. Most especially books that I feel are hyped in a moment. Instead, I prefer to circle back when the spot feels less touristed and I can enjoy by myself, surveying the landscape in isolation, and feeling more certain that any connection I feel is with the scene itself and not with the group of people also connecting with the scene at that moment.
But this way of travelling has its own downside: When you want to turn to somebody and say "look!" or just to meet their eyes and feel something is shared, you instead find yourself in your own deliberate solitude. I felt that solitude keenly reading The Luminaries, because it was a book that wowed me and that I wanted to revel in with another.
Of course, I was already prone to love it (the cover alone!) — horoscopes being among my favourite symbolic things. I loved double-reading this book, constantly referencing the table at the front, descriptions of different star signs, and planet profiles. I was tickled especially by the interactions of characters, my own inherent disposition to like certain characters (the thought that the reader too added another dimension to this), the unquestioned compatibility or disinterest between characters themselves -- one that so often seems to play out in my reality.
At the same time, while loving all this I felt a twinge of dread: I have an utter distaste for too finely wrought tales, stories that have an arc too perfect or are packaged too neatly. But in this too The Luminaries delighted. The set-up made me think Moody would a "Sherlock Holmes" moment at the end that would entertain, but also devastate me with its canned cleverness.
But (amazingly!) that didn't happen. And that loosened the grip of everything in a way that made it all the more sublime. Leaving forces playing on... but never out.