What if a 900 page novel incorporated Zeno’s dichotomy paradox, the golden ratio, set its action in 1865 and 1866 while aligning character temperament to astrological signs and planets, and incorporated massive strands of storytelling? Well, The Luminaries does just this. In this wide-ranging 71 minute conversation, we talk with Booker Award-winning novelist Eleanor Catton about the benefits of an overly planned structure, considering reader intentions, Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach, how old newspapers reveal history in unique ways, the Otago Gold Rush, mystery novels, Shakespeare, eccentric forms of tax evasion, and the real impact of politics and history on everyday lives.
[MP3, 71 minutes]
[Notes and partial transcript]