Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale :: Diane Setterfield


"Do you know the feeling when you start a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the prvious book with ideas about themes - characters even - caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you?" (pg 289)

This was the most pointed line from this entire book for me. This quote touched me, as if the author was speaking directly to me for not leaving my last book behind long enough to allow myself to fully appreciate hers.

You see, I had just read The Book Thief - I was carried away by the story, fell in love with the characters - I don't think I mourned the closing of that book an adequate amount of time before jumping into The Thirteenth Tale. So that said, I don't think I appreciated the book entirely. First, I do not typically read mysteries, I don't often like them - so I was a little distracted by the new genre - subsequently, I was very on the fence through the whole book.

I did not like many of the characters - time and again I am a broken record. If I love the characters I devour their story - if I don't love them, I don't. This is not unlike how I behave in real life...I think I am a loyal friend but if someone is unpleasant I simply steer away or hurry through our required contact. For example, in my job - unfortunately, I do not like some of my clients' personalities - as result I may not spend as much time with them as I do with those who seem serious about wanting to make changes. I should actually try to challenge myself in this regard - because more than once I have judged a book by it's cover only to realize I was too rash. And like many of my clients, some of characters in this book were the way they were at no fault of their own. The book is riddled with mental illness (as far as I can tell) and neglect. So had I taken my time with this book, I may have enjoyed it more. To the book's credit, I feel I need to be entirely diplomatic - I will neither encourage or discourage that you should read it - but if you do, please let me know what you think - it might be worth another peek, at another time when I am not still mulling over a previous tale. I do thank the author for helping me to realize that I might be doing that, more often than not. It might be time to slow down and appreciate...


  1. I liked your review, in part because your experience was so different from mine. I read the book after a bunch of lackluster ones and I really liked it.

  2. I'm in the midst of reading this right now, after seeing it recommended by so many ravelers in the 52 books in 52 weeks group. I'm enjoying it - appalled at the behavior of some of the characters, but finding it pretty engrossing at the same time. I'll have to put the Book Thief on my "to read" list, too.