The Thirteenth Tale

Posted at Nov 21, 2007 4:45 pm

I have just finished Diane Setterfield’s novel and  I am so so sad. It is heartbreaking to come to the last page of a book and know that there is no more- that it is all over and that it may be months and months before I find another as captivating and perfect as that one.  Her first novel, too. 
It is interesting that despite the fact that I could not really identify with any character in the book besides Margaret (the narrator) I could not stop reading.  The back story to each character was psychiatric ward-style  weird. Everyone was so bizarre that after a while mental illness almost felt normal.  And I really wanted to know what happened to Charlie and Isabelle, the incestuous siblings and their autistic and disturbed twin offspring. 
          The author had a real appreciation for great literature but her own book  (in my opinion) was more moving and better written than some of the Victorian novels to which she frequently alluded. There were overtones of Woman in White and Jane Eyre in her plot, but it was a modern story with gothic parents.
    I especially enjoyed the author interview with Ms Setterfield. She said, “I know there are people who don’t read fiction at all and I find it hard to understand how they can bear to be inside the same head all the time.”
    I’ve always wondered that myself.

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