Study Guide

Edgar Clinch—Cancer in The Luminaries

Edgar Clinch—Cancer

Edgar Clinch is the hotelier with whom Anna first lives when she comes to Hokitika. He also made (metaphorical) headlines in town for purchasing Crosbie Wells's land almost immediately after his death. He is 43 years old and associated with the sign of Cancer. He is part of the council of twelve men who meet at the Crown the night the book opens.

Can Anybody Find Me…Somebody to Love? 

Apparently, Edgar really wants some lovin'—in fact, it's gotten to the point where he's actually ashamed of how eager he is for it:

He provided for those whom he loved only to demand their fullest approbation for his care—a demand which, in turn, shamed him, for he was sensitive to the nuances of his own actions, and doubtful of their worth… (I.8.92)

So, basically, he goes overboard being solicitous and caring to others, but he fully expects lots of cuddles in return… and then feels ashamed for wanting it. Which only doubles his need for snuggles. Sounds like a pretty vicious cycle to us…

Edgar's also apparently pretty motherly—and, you'll (not) be surprised to learn, misses his own mama fiercely. At least, that's what the narrator tells us.

So, this all sounds benign enough, but his "motherly" tendencies actually result in some creeper behavior: When Anna comes home stoned one day, he strips her down and puts her in the bath while she's unconscious. Oh, and feels up her clothes (which is how he discovers there's gold in there). Yeah, that all sounds more sketchy than maternal to us, especially since we know he has a big crush on Anna and had been planning to propose.