Study Guide

The Luminaries What's Up With the Ending?

By Eleanor Catton

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What's Up With the Ending?

After waiting around for 800 pages to get to the truth of what happened the night Crosbie Wells died, including a few chapters of flashbacks that seem to be moving right toward those big reveals, the final chapter (which is a page long) basically glides over those details. Blergh.

The gloss at the beginning, while lengthy, paints the night of January 14th, 1866 in extremely broad brush strokes—and while we get some clues to how Emery Staines might have ended up on Frank Carver's ship, a lot of other mysteries remain unsolved. There are no precise details about how exactly Emery's gold (which is really Crosbie's) got into Crosbie's cabin, or what exactly Frank Carver did to Crosbie Wells. Then, the chapter itself is focused solely on a sweet dialogue between Anna and Emery on that evening, during what was ostensibly their first romantic encounter.

Hey, we told you that Anna and Emery were the two most important characters in the novel, right? Well, the ending really drives that home, suggesting that the fact that those two characters found their way to each other is actually a lot more important than the mysteries that have been delighting us for the entire novel. Okay, fine, we guess we can get on board with the young love angle…but seriously, how did Carver kill Crosbie??

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