Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield

Vida Winter, a dying famous reclusive writer hires Margaret Lee, a young girl who works in her father’s bookshop, to write her biography. Margaret goes to stay with the ill Vida Winter at her estate and gradually Vida Winter tells her tale. I was excited to read it especially since it got such rave reviews during RIP III, in blog land and in traditional reviews. As is typical in sprawling family sagas the tale is about family, love, lies, deceits and betrayals. Although this is not the type of story that I usually read, I was caught up in the tale that Vida slowly reveals and the characters were interesting. This is a very atmospheric tale in the style of Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre and I especially liked Angelfield, Vida’s childhood home.

***Spoiler Alert*** The only negative I have to say about this book is that Amazon and other sources refer to it as a ghost story so I kept looking for an actual ghost. Yes, Vida and others were haunted by their pasts, obsessed with departed loved ones and Margaret talks to and sees her deceased twin in mirrors but I didn’t take any of those instances to be more than usual human grief and longing and did not involve an actual supernatural ghost. I also saw the “twist” coming early on but I still enjoyed the story.

Over all it didn’t live up to the hype and I am not going to rush out and buy her next book but I have recommended this book to a couple of people who I think will enjoy it. For me I am much more excited about House of Leaves that I just finished and tackling Bolano’s 2666 which just arrived from Barnes & Nobles.

1 comment:

Mari said...

This was one of my favorite reads from last year. A very haunting tale. I didn't see the twist coming. :)
I didn't realize it was being advertised as a ghost story. It most definitely is not. Very misleading.