Friday, March 09, 2007

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

This book is Setterfield's debut novel, and quite a magical one at that. The Thirteenth Tale explores the life of famous novelist Vida Winter. Winter has worked with many different biographers before and given each one of them a different tale about her history. Once she gets sick, however, she selects Margaret Lea to come write her real biography. Margaret wonders why she, an amateur who has only written about dead people, has been selected by one of the most famous novelists in the world.
The relationship between the two character is at time strained but it eventually blossoms into respect and friendship. Margaret herself has some life issues to work out. A secret she found out when she was young has changed everything for her. The relationship with her mother is strained. I didn't feel like I quite understood the relationship when I was reading the book. Infact I thought that Margaret was avoiding her mother until I was specifically told otherwise in the book. It would have been nice to get that a little clearer towards the beginning of the novel.
Looking back on the book, the plot line was fairly complicated. But Setterfield gives you just enough information for you to be able to figure things out on your own, if you're smart enough! I love the way she very slowly peels back the layers until the truth is exposed underneath.
Some of the desciptions given in the book are fantastic! I think my very favourite was when Margaret was at Miss Winter's house and looking out the window when it started to rain and her face started to melt with the rain. It was such a great description of something that you see all the time but never really pay attention to.
I would definately recommend this book and will be looking out for Setterfield's next book.



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