Reading Frenzy

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Before you start reading The Thirteenth Tale, carve out a long afternoon, or a weekend to devote to it. Savor the prose, lose yourself in the gothic overtones. Enjoy it. This was my mistake--life and my lack of ability to focus kept interrupting my reading, and this is a book to be read leisurely, to be savored like a fine meal and good wine.

Getting past the fact that I undermined my opportunity to fully indulge myself, let me say that there's a lot to appreciate about this book. The cover, and even the inside cover is beautiful. The atmosphere created is pretty close to flawless. The writing is lush and gorgeous:

"There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic."

It's got all those points that make it classic gothic. But I did have a few issues. I thought some of the characters--particularly the twin sisters--could have been more fully developed. The ending felt a little rushed, and the plot a bit formulaic, the ending a bit unrealistic.

I'd probably give it 8 out of 10 stars. Definitely I'd like to reread it, but next time on a dark and stormy night, in a soft cushy chair, in front of a crackling fire, with a cat at my feet.

And if you read it, let me know what you thought. And don't miss the author's website:


At 8:55 PM, Anonymous sassymonkey said...

I still haven't started this one yet because I haven't had a fully free afternoon (where I haven't been sick at least...).

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Kate said...

It seems like nonstop cold and flu and general yuckiness this fall. I've been fighting it for about a month. And it's damn hard to read when you can't stop coughing--just turning pages seems like too much work.

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Denise said...

Thank you. I went ahead and reserved it earlier this week but now you've made me really glad that I did.


At 6:40 PM, Blogger Kate said...

I can't help wondering how I would have felt about it if I'd been able to read it in a sitting or two. I'll be anxious to know what both of you think of it.

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that I read this book and didn't find that it lived up to all the hype I've seen about it. It was well written but the story just didn't grab me.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Sam said...

I read it and really enjoyed it. It seems like just when you've had anough of the twins and the creepiness of the past the focus goes back to Margaret and I liked that. In fact, that book completely turned my prior plans for late fall reading upside down. I can't remember what I was going to read, but now I want to read Jane Eyre (again), The Turn of the Screw and books like that.


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