Friday Morning Bookclub

August 25, 2010

The Thirteenth Tale: A Review By Carol

Filed under: Book Discussions,Book Recomendations,The Thirteenth Tale — susanbright @ 10:44 am

The Thirteenth Tale is Diane Setterfield’s 2006 debut novel, a long, complex story told in the gothic tradition. Much like Jane Eyre and Turn of the Screw, it features grand but decaying homes, bleak landscapes and strange households. There are family secrets, ghosts and sexual aberrations. There is longing and loneliness, family dysfunction and madness. It is truly a book of suspense.

The stories, and there are multiple stories in this tale, take place in what seems like dark and stormy nights somewhere in England in a bygone era (probably in the 1930’s or so). Vida Winter, a famous but reclusive author of over 60 mystery novels, is getting old and feels the urgency to tell her true life story before she dies. Her most famous work, The Book of Thireen Tales, actually contains only twelve stories, much to the confusion of her fans. This biography proves to be the thirteenth tale her admiring public has long waited for. She finds a young biographer, Margaret Lea, who appeals to her sensibilities, and summons her to her sprawling, remote, and eerily quiet estate to begin the project. The two women cautiously begin the difficult job of uncovering the author’s past layer by layer.

Margaret, like Vida Winter, has secrets and melancholy. In the process of decoding the author’s dark past, Margaret decodes her own. At the end of this emotional journey, both women have the real truth revealed. Both have become unburdened.

I can’t wait for the movie.


1 Comment »

  1. As a huge fan of Jane Eyre and novels about authors, I’m intrigued. I will definitely add this to my booklist!! Thank you!

    Comment by Lauren — August 28, 2010 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

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