20 May 2014

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

This could be described, in a way, as a book about books, or perhaps a story about stories. Another important theme in The Thirteenth Tale is the concept of twins. The protagonist is a young woman, unusually bookish and asocial, who lives with her parents, and helps her father run a rare book business.

Review at The Independent

Glancing at the above review, I was surprised to note that this was Setterfield's first novel. Perhaps I knew that already, but I hadn't remembered. It is masterfully written, and shows no signs of inexperience. It's a true gothic page-turner with plenty of Bad English Weather, mystery, cups of tea, ghosts, and scandalous intrigue. Jane Eyre is invoked and evoked throughout its pages, as are other similar books.

The review covers the plot very well, I won't bother to paraphrase that here. I wouldn't classify this book as great literature, but I would call it very good literature, and it provided many hours of terrific entertainment.

No comments: