Study Guide

The Luminaries Part 2, Chapter 11

By Eleanor Catton

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Part 2, Chapter 11

Venus in Aquarius (18 February 1866)

  • The seven ticket holders are led into the parlor and the others depart so the séance can begin.
  • Lydia explains that Anna will enter, but no one is to speak to her. She previews what is about to happen.
  • Anna enters, looking very pale and painfully thin. Frost forgets his task of looking at Lydia and stares at Anna for a moment. Unfortunately, during that time, Lydia had definitely "done something," according to Frost, 'cause she was adjusting her skirts when everyone looked back. Frost makes a mental note to ask Sook and Quee if they had seen what she had done, since they probably hadn't been able to stare at Anna because of their position in the room.
  • Lydia then goes into a fit and, when it's over, stares straight at Sook. Then her eyes roll back in her head and she starts saying something in Cantonese. Then she fell over onto the floor and, in the same moment, the lamp on the table fell as well, lighting the entire surface of the table on fire.
  • There's a commotion while those present put the fire out, and then the men want to know what Wells had been saying. Sook announces that Lydia speaks Cantonese and tells then what she had said. Turns out, they were the same words Sook had said to Carver when he saw him in court during his trial.
  • Through all this chaos, Sook finally hears that Carver is actually in town and staying at the Palace Hotel.
  • Wells eventually wakes up, and those assembled explain what happened. She claims not to know Chinese.
  • Sook leaves, resolving to go make some cash so he can buy a gun to kill Carver.

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