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Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton: Sneaky Peeky Sunday

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I bought this book last year, after the much hyped winning history record by the author. But as I had just had my second baby, I found it difficult to concentrate. So gave it up for later.

Now, finally, have picked it up again, a full year later! So here's what I am reading right now in The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

.......dejected. 'Yes' he said. 'But what could I have done? He had me tied up.'

 Balfour felt a sudden rush of sympathy for the other man, and regretted his previous ill humour. 'Ay' he said, more gently. 'He had you tied.'

 'After that,' Lauderback went on, 'nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. I went back to Canterbury. I waited. I thought about that d-ned twinkle until my heart near gave out. I confess I rather hoped that Carver would be killed - that the thug would catch him, so I would know the fellow's name before he came for me. I read the Otago Witness every day hoping to see the blackguard's name among the dead, may God forgive me. But nothing happened.


 'Nearly a year later - this is almost a year ago, maybe February, March last year - I get a letter in the mail. It's an annual receipt from Danforth Shipping, and it's filled out in my name.'

 'Danforth? Jem Danforth?'

 'The same' said Lauderback. 'I've never shipped with Danforth - not for the personals - but I know him, of course: he rents part of Godspeed's hold for cargo.'

 'And Virtue too, on occasion.'

 'Yes - on occasion, Virtue too. All right: so I examine the receipt. I see that there's a recurring shipment on Godspeed's trans-Tasman route under the name of Lauderback. My name. Again and again, on the westbound voyage across the Tasman - each voyage, there it is, shipper Danforth, carrier of Godspeed, master James Raxworthy, one shipment of personals, standard size, paid in full by Alistair Lauderback. Me. I tell you, my blood went cold. My name, written so neatly; that column of figures, going down.'

 'The amount due was zero pounds. Nothing outstanding. Each month the account had been paid in case, as the record showed. Someone had engineered this whole business in my name, and paid good money for it, to boot. I had a quick look over my own finances: I wasn't missing any money, and certainly nothing to the tune of eighty, ninety pounds in shipping fees. I'd have noticed a slow leak of that kind, wherever it was coming from. No. Something was cooking.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta