- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Washington Square Press (October 9, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780743298032
- ISBN-13: 978-0743298032
- ASIN: 0743298039
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,099 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel Paperback – October 9, 2007
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"Eerie and fascinating." (USA Today)
"Pitch-perfect." (Entertainment Weekly)
"A book that you wake in the middle of the night craving to get back to . . . . Timeless, charming, a pure pleasure to read . . . . The Thirteeth Tale is a book to savor a dozen times." (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
"A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled." (Booklist)
"The shared literary landscape that The Thirteenth Tale re-creates with lush precision takes us back to a time when reading could seem more compelling than life." (The Columbus Dispatch)
"A spellbinding story that grabs the reader from the opening pages." (Toronto Sun)
"Setterfield proves a mistress of the craft of storytelling, and her musings about the pleasures of reading are most beguiling." (The Guardian)
"Readers will feel the magnetic pull of this paean to words, books and the magical power of story." (People)
"This will without a doubt be one of the best books published this year." (Daily American)
"Readers will be mesmerized by this story-within-a-story tinged with the eeriness of Rebecca and the willfulness of Jane Eyre. The author . . . . leaves no strand untucked at the surprising and satisfying conclusion." (Booklist)
About the Author
Diane Setterfield is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale, and a former academic, specializing in twentieth-century French literature, particularly the works of Andre Gide. She lives in Oxford, England.
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If there's not incest, there's a crazy wife in the attic. If there's not a crazy wife in the attic, there's a murderous illegitimate son who's not right in the head. Or conjoined twins. Or a dying gypsy's curse. Or something equally unsettling.
So even if you guess the HEP Big Secret wrong, whatever it actually is isn't going to make a dent. B/c you've already imaged the worst. B/c gothic.
ALSO . . . I don't like it.
If I lived in the time of traveling freak shows, I would not attend. Not my bag.
You: So why did you read it?
Me: B/c didn't realize it was gothic until I'd already started it.
You: Why didn't you quit?
Me: SCHADENFREUDE . #thestruggleisreal
Plus, the concept is friggin amazing: England's most beloved author, who's written 56 novels in 56 years, has zealously guarded her privacy. She made her pen name her legal name, and has threatened any would-be biographers with lawsuits until they backed down.
Interviewing her has become a kind of rite of passage for journalists, b/c she gives a different version of her life story to every, single one of them. <------how cool is that?
But now she's dying, so she contacts our MC (Margaret), an amateur biographer who's grown up in her father's rare bookshop (a bibliophile's DREAM), and employs Margaret to write her life story before she leaves this mortal coil.
After that is when it gets weird. And gross. And creepy. And messed-the-eff-up.
Man alive, these people are CRAZY.
Including Margaret, who has an unhealthy fixation on her dead-shortly-after-birth twin sister.
Genre preferences aside, there's no denying that this is a beautifully written book:
There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.
It's also mindbendingly clever.
The line between mental illness and the supernatural is so thin, so frail, so indecipherable, that even now, days later, I can't stop thinking about it--were the ghosts real, or did they only exist in her mind?
I. DON'T. KNOW. *EDVARD MUNCH FACE*
THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield is not a book you read then forget. It stays with you, taking up brain space, whispering incessantly, like the five notes of a song you can't place, but can't escape. It's beautiful and terrible. And even if you avoid gothic novels like I do, this one . . . This one deserves to be made an exception. Highly recommended (with trepidation).
And what a book it is! I could go on about it forever. The scandal, the secrets, and the slow unfolding of the mystery is so delicious, I want to read it again and again. This is definitely going on my "To Read Again" list because one time around is simply not enough for me.
If you've never read The Thirteenth Tale, I highly recommend doing so. It's brilliant. I loved the twists and turns and the way everything unfolded. Plus, the writing is simply beautiful. It romanticizes reading, writing, and storytelling. It's fabulous.
Content: Some violence and implied sex, but overall, it was pretty clean.
This author, Diane Setterfield, has written in a style that will not only grab your attention, it will keep you reading until you cannot read any longer - as soon as I got up in the morning, I had to continue.
I smiled, held my breath, became puzzled, thought I'd figured out where the story was heading, and received a shock when the curveball came - over and over again.
Enjoy! I will definitely recommend to each person who asks me if I have read anything good lately!
It really isn't what I expected. Basically it starts out slow and is a bit eccentric, probably to let you know how twisted it is going to get. Then, it turns into this horrible train wreck and you watch cars pile up on top of cars and yet you just can't bring yourself to look away.
The whole time, you think you understand until the next truth is revealed, and then, you think, "Ok, now I know what is going on." but honestly you don't, because something else comes to light and wrecks all your previous suppositions. It is really twisted and you don't really know until the end.
However, it does end well and the story is finally told and the poor tortured souls of the story are able to finally rest in peace.