A startlingly well-received work of balmy tripe, The Luminaries is the sort of book that seems destined to exist so that people who want to claim there’s no difference between literary fiction and decently written YA will have an example of dumb literary fiction to point to. It’s long but rarely tedious, yet it’s pretentious, and dumber than a golden retriever, which it also resembles in the way it implores you for attention, constantly nuzzling your crotch every couple of pages, imploring you to acknowledge how hard it's worked for your attention. After spending 300 pages introducing all of the characters and their various interlocking mysteries in a literal drawing room as they explain themselves to a complete stranger who will later turn out to be an excellent crime solving lawyer prone to genius cross-examinations (luckily, at the exact moment when such a character is required), the book cruises its way towards a giant courtroom scene so that our hero—who, like all the white male characters in the book, is about as human as a drawing of meat, and can only be picked out of a line-up because he has a different name from the other drawings—can whip the town into a frenzy of forgiveness for the by-then-revealed-to-be-star-crossed-lovers, which is followed up by a tedious flashback that takes up the final third of the book. Said flashback unpacks every nook and cranny of the book’s “mystery”, no matter that the mystery had been completely unraveled during the courtroom scene, and mainly serves to institute new, even more juvenile coincidences, like revealing that the star-crossed-lovers share the same birthday, or that one time one of the two chinese guys walked into the sheriff’s office and asked him for a nickel and got a sock full of quarters instead. Did I mention that one of the star-crossed lovers is a whore with a heart of gold? Or that she actually wears clothes filled with secret treasure, like some kind of living fairy tale character? I had hoped I made myself successfully forget that. This is a book for children, but they won't like it as much as they would James Marshall.