Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Thirteeth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Genre: Fiction - Mystery
Publisher: Atria, 2006
Other Works: Debut novel
Rating: A+, or Must Read Now!
Premise: Margaret Lea is a self proclaimed bibliophile and a great writer as well. She gets on offer to write the biography of a lifetime--that of Vida Winter, a wildly imaginative and eccentric author whose past is shrouded in mystery.

I read this book for a book group and really didn't have any expections going in. I was pleasantly "wow-ed" by this author!

The book carries a feeling of mystery and ominousness, ghost-story-around-the-campfire style, that I found quite thrilling. Because of this, the dialogue could seem stilted, but instead the author has used the language to create a foreboading tone. This is something I enjoyed all the way through the book to the very last sentence.

A young, nose-in-the-books daughter of a bookshop owner, Margaret Lea, receives a request to become the biographer of a prominent author, Vida Winter, whose life story has been sought after by many. She's a stubborn and harsh woman, whose piercing green eyes Margaret cannot seem to escape. As much as Vida's life story is shrouded in mystery, even more so is one of her books, which was reprinted as having 12 tales, after being published a few times claiming to have 13. And so, the 13th tale was never uncovered. +/-

As Margaret struggles through the research for the biography, she not only discovers the truth about Vida Winter and her tales, but also more about her own history. She gains insight into her own painful and complicated life as she pieces together the twisted past of a pathological liar, otherwise known as a storyteller.

Thrilling until the last moment with no lack of twists, I would recommend this book to just about anyone.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog to comment on Wolf Hall. I loved The Thirteenth Tale also. And in general, books about books are just fun to read.

Cam said...

I agree... books about books are awesome. =)