My last weekend definitely focused on ‘down under’. I went to the Aussie Rules football match in Cavan and gave up reading The Luminaries.
The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton is set in New Zealand during the Gold Rush. The first third focuses on the sudden death of a man and a disappearance of another. I say the first third because I am struggling with the book, and the fact that there are another 500 pages is a definite deterrent.
I find the style of writing (which is of the period) restrictive. Maybe this would matter less if the plot moved a little quicker. The characters, of which there are many, are intricately drawn and I am impressed by the way she captures the different nuances and specifics of their natures.
“Whenever he behaved badly or questionably, he simply jettisoned the memory and turned his mind to something else.”
However, I began to feel that I am told everything rather than shown. While her characters are well drawn, I find myself not interested in them or lost because she moves too quickly on to another portrait. I don’t like not finishing books but, I don’t think I’ll finish this one.
The Aussie Rules match was good. Although we were late, we found front row seats (they were a bit damp so were empty) and I had a great time waving flags and cheering the lads on. I was sitting next to a woman from Tyrone who loved her GAA. We couldn’t understand why the whistle kept blowing when the lads caught the ball. It seems that when there is a clean catch, the opposing marker has to take three steps back and gave the player space. It made the game far less aggressive. In the first two quarters, it was almost placid. An odd word to use in conjunction with GAA. However, the Aussies put their arse into it in the third quarter and made an exciting come back. Thank God, we still won.
I don’t often go to matches. I loved being a part of that swarming wave of fans, a mass movement of arms, legs, and faces; to be a part of the thousands stamping away home in the night, streaming through the stadium gates, thronging along the Dublin Road to buses and cars. The Gards had stopped all the traffic in Cavan Town as far back as the N3 Roundabout and the wave flowed across the width of the night lit road outwards, across the white lines, the Give Ways, moving, moving, a rumble of power. It gave me a feeling of belonging and strength…