Friday, January 26, 2007

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Short review: This book was good!
Long review: Vida Winter, an aging author, has a mysterious history. She's given dozens of interviews, all revealing conflicting (though equally invented) life stories for herself. One of her works was called The Thirteen Tales, although as it contains only twelve tales, subsequent editions leave out the "thirteen" from the title. Naturally, everyone wonders about the missing story. Margaret Lea dabbles in biography. She and her father run a bookshop, and she's more at home with books than people, so she's unsure when Vida Winter summons her--Ms. Winter is ready to tell her real story, and she has chosen Margaret to do it. The atmosphere of the novel is reminiscent of Jane Eyre. I don't think this is an accident, and that novel is referenced periodically. Of course, Margaret has secrets of her own that play into the story as she unravels the tangled thread of Vida Winter's life. The writing is beautiful, the characters rich and intriguing, and the plot is elegant and complex. I highly recommend it.

No comments: