The Thirteenth Tale
This week’s flik is the wonderful The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
It is about a young girl, Margaret, who is invited home to the mysterious author Vida Winters, to write her biography. Margaret is reluctant to go, but once there finds herself ensnared by Miss Winters family history. The novel alternates between stories from the past and Margaret’s experiences during the time she writes the biography.
The language is absolutely beautiful; there are no doubts that Setterfield can tell stories.
The novel draws heavily on Jane Eyre and other classic novels, which of course doesn’t make it any less enjoyable for us book-geeks. One of the reasons why I love it is the main character: Margaret. I have always had trouble finding characters I could relate to, but Margaret is both intelligent and introvert, preferring to stay in her father’s bookstore reading dusty old tales rather than to interact with other people. She is awkward and independent, and I like her. I totally agree with the notion that books can offer better friendships than people.
I highly recommend this novel to everyone who loves a good story, with twists and turns and dark corners. This novel does have it all: passion, murder, love, insanity, happiness and suffering, both seen through the eyes of the dramatic Vida Winters and the more cynical Margaret.
You should read it.