Tag Archives: Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale – Review

I’m about 20 pages away from finishing this book but I feel confident enough to review it. I don’t think the ending will be disappointing.

This may be blasphemous for any avid bookworm to say, but this is one story that I would LOVE to see on the big screen. The story, the characters are too large to be contained in written form. I want to see Emmaline and Adeline causing chaos at Angelfield Manor. I want to see Margaret’s father’s bookstore.

The quick plot summary: Vida Winter is a famous and best-selling author that has never given a true account of her life in any interview and always makes up an answer when asked a personal question. In her old age, she commissions Margaret Lea (amature biographer of the deceased) to write the long awaited biography.

The book itself reminds me more of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James more than any other novel despite the author’s persistent thumping of Jane Eyre into my consciousness every 5-10 pages. That gets really annoying after the 10th mention of Jane Eyre. The beginning is really slow and really boring. It isn’t until Margaret meets Vida Winter that the story actually begins. Earlier, I mentioned this is like a more sophisticated VC Andrews story. Well, I was wrong on that count. The Thirteenth Tale is much more fun to read. The book is pretty balanced with slow parts and more entertaining storylines. I like that the author manages to weave the stories of the twins in their childhood to modern day people that Margaret interacts with.

You can tell the author spent a lot of time and effort working on this story and creating these characters. A lot of love went into this book. I’m glad I found the time to read it.

And now, I’m off to actually go finish it!

Find this book at your local library

The Thirteenth Tale

I finally started The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I’m a little less than half way into it, and all I want to do is go lay out under the sun outside and disappear into this book.

The beginning chapters are a little slow and filled with descriptive writing. I’m usually wary of books that over-emphasis any kind of emotion, and since the first 5 pages are nothing but a long-drawn out love letter to literature, I kept putting the book aside.

I had to take the train to work today, so I was able to push into the core of the book, where the story takes place and the characters come to life. The story is beautifully written and its easy to get lost in the narration and forget your own surroundings. The book seems like a more mature rendition of most VC Andrews books I’ve read (my guilty pleasure reading). You can immediately tell the author’s influences for the writing style. There are traces of the Bronte sisters weaved throughout the book. Wuthering Heights sticks out in my mind particularly.

Just like Water for Elephants, this is another book I kept putting on hold, and chose purely because of the cover, and then never got around to reading.

I also packed Reading Lolita in Tehran. I like to be prepared in case I finish a book and still have time left before I have to catch my flight.

All the world’s a stage

I like to sit front row, center to watch all the action. I’m going to see my friend’s performance in Bus Stop today, a play written by William Inge. It was also turned into a movie staring Marilyn Monroe in 1956.

IMDB gives the plot summary as:

Innocent rodeo cowboy Bo falls in love with cafe singer Cherie in Phoenix. She tries to run away to Los Angeles but he finds her and forces her to board the bus to his home in Montana. When the bus stops at Grace’s Diner the passengers learn that the road ahead is blocked. By now everyone knows of the kidnaping, but Bo is determined to have Cherie.

My friend plays a waitress in the diner.

In other news, two books I put on hold at the library are ready to be picked up. I’m about 90% done with my graduation project, so I feel no guilt whatsoever in devoting my free time to reading.

I’m currently reading The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad, and Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.

Next up are The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood.

Its interesting with reading the Bookseller of Kabul, in the midst of the fall of the Taliban and the Middle East drama. The book is disturbingly objective, even though its told through stories of one atypical family. The book discusses many things, primarily the history of Afghanistan, the oppression of women, and the life before and after the Taliban. The family being traced is not the typical family because this family is literate and wealthy, unlike the majority of people in that country. Its a good read, well written and very insightful into the Afghani culture.

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte falls somewhere inbetween the writing styles of her two sisters. She seems to be a good compromise for anyone who thought Emily’s Wuthering Heights was too dramatic and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre was too dull. Agnes Grey comes from a middling to poor family, seeking out governess positions to help support her family. The children she encounters are incredibly spoiled and rude. I’m about halfway through the book, and there has been no mention of any kind of love-story for Agnes. I hope something comes up soon.