The Thirteenth Tale

the thirteenth tale

“My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth herself.  What succor, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story?  What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney?  When the lightning strikes shadows on the bedroom wall and the rain taps at the window with its long fingernails?  No.  When fear and cold make a statue of you in your bed, don’t expect hard-boned and fleshless truth to come running to your aid.  What you need are the plump comforts of a story.  The soothing, rocking safety of a lie.”

“People disappear when they die.  Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath.  Their flesh.  Eventually their bones.  All living memory of them ceases.  This is both dreadful and natural.  Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation.  For in the books they write they continue to exist.  We can rediscover them.  Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods.  Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy.  They can comfort you.  They can perplex you.  They can alter you.  All this, even though they are dead.  Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in the ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved.  It is a kind of magic.”

My favourite book – The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  Ah – where do I find the words?  I love reading dark, emotional books and I love a good mystery.  I feel that this book is that, rolled into one.  The Thirteenth Tale is an easy read, the chapters are short, and you will surely be turning pages.  But this book is not lacking in literary ability and skill.  Dianne Setterfield truly has a way with words.

Margaret Lea, a young woman who works in a bookshop with her father and amateur biographer, is the main character in this book.  One day she arrives home with a letter on her stairs.  In this letter, she is asked to write the biography of the famous author Vida Winter.  Ms. Winter, who has never given a true account of her past to anyone before, decides it is finally time tell her true story.  This book takes you on a journey of both women’s pasts…and it is true what they say, that the past can haunt you.

Thanks for reading (and please do read this book!!!)


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