September 1, 2007

The Thirteenth Tale: Review

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Two days.
Suppers were late, a child was neglected for the two days that I lived this book. The first couple of chapters were so-so but once the story within the story started I was hooked and couldn't put it down. This description of Margaret and her father reading about covers it:
"In the background is the hiss of the gas heater; we hear the sound without hearing it for, side by side, together and miles apart, we are deep in our books.

'Shall I make tea?' I ask, surfacing.
No answer.

I make tea all the same, and put the cup next to him on the desk.

An hour later the untouched tea is cold. I make a fresh pot and put another steaming cup beside him on the desk. He is oblivious to my every movement."

There isn't much I can say about this book without giving away all the juicy little bits that make it so worth reading. What I can tell you is that the narrator, Margaret, is invited to write the biography of a popular but reclusive novelist. Her story is an unbelievable tale of a bizarre family in England. It reminded me a lot of Wuthering Heights because of the insanity and the passions of the people involved.
About half way through, I had a nagging little voice whispering, "There is a huge hole in the plot here. I swear I can see the living room wall through it." But the story had me and it wasn't letting go. Then, toward the end, TA-DAH! it all came together and made perfect sense. It was one of those moments as a reader that I live for. Brilliant. All I can tell you is Jane Eyre is the key, but I can't say how. It comes up everywhere and I love when my favorite books turn up in my reading.
Read this book. It's atmospheric and mysterious and a darn good story. I hope I haven't over hyped this book to any of you but I haven't made a 5/5 rating this year, I always find something to nit-pick about, but I'm about to do it...now...

26 comments :

  1. I read this one for the RIP Challenge, last year, and I sort of hated it. But, every time I see a quote, it's wonderful! I have to wonder if it was just the timing. The writing is really lovely and you're right - definitely atmospheric. The feel of it (much as I disliked the story) has really stuck with me.

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  2. I really loved it when I read it!

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  3. See, I felt the opposite. The beginning started out with a bang for me, and the end was so-so. I did like the writing, as Bookfool says, and the feeling sticks with me more than the plot. I suspect it had too much hype when I read it last Fall.

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  4. I have read several reviews of this book and, I guess, you either love it or you hate it. I hope I love it because it's on my R I P Challenge.

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  5. This was one of my fives from last year! I read it for the RIP challenge and I just love it!

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  6. I love, Love, LOVE this book. I read it and pimped it throughout last year's R.I.P. Challenge and it is near the top of my re-read pile. I had the same experience as you did, I was simply lost in this book. You can read my review here if you are interested:

    http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/?p=506

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  7. Bookfool & Bellezza- Funny how books can affect people so differently. I've always liked the gothic novel like Wuthering Heights. I know that they're not everyone's cup of tea.

    Framed- I hope you like it. :)

    TTT Fans- I had know no one to discuss the book with except my dh, who's not a reader anyway, so I had to tell him all the secrets. If it comes out as a movie, hopefully he'll forget by then!

    Carl- Thanks for the push ;)

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  8. Well you've got me intrigued. I'm writing the title on this one down for sure. I've got to finish first the one I just started, A Year in Provence.

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  9. I wouldn't give it a 5, but I liked it. I read it when it first came out and I think I expected more.

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  10. Glad you enjoyed this one! I really loved it, and like Carl, it is near the top of my re-read list. In fact, I am very tempted to re-read it soon...

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  11. What a great review!! I bought this book when it first came out...and sadly haven't picked it up since. Maybe this is the push that I needed!!

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  12. Isn't this the most wonderful book? I was completely enchanted. I read it as a library book, but I just know I'll end up buying or bookmooching it to keep around for rereading.

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  13. Scribbit- I read that one. It made me very hungry ;)

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  14. I almost picked up this book! Looks like I've to do this during my next visit to the bookstore. ;) Thanks for the great review.

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  15. Thanks for visiting my blog! I too really enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale when I read it last October. It was the perfect creepy read!
    Stephanie
    thewrittenword.wordpress.com

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  16. This was the second book I ever reviewed, when I read it in early January. I loved it, but I really wanted it to be longer. Here're my thoughts:
    http://astripedarmchair.blogspot.com/2007/01/thirteenth-tale-review.html

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  17. I've been hearing about this book for MONTHS (years?) and haven't tried it. NOW I must! Great review!

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  18. I'm really glad you enjoyed the book. I just loved it...I think I've checked it out from my library 4 times! I need to buy my own copy.

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  19. The hype that surrounded this b ook put me off, but I suspect that I will have to read it now: it sounds like a perfect R.I.P. book...

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  20. I don't go for hype either but I loved this one!

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  21. This was my first read (I listened to it for my trip to Kansas) for this year's challenge, but I was too focused on staying awake to see the hole you were talking about.

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  22. Hmm, I didn't like Wuthering Heights, either. Good point. :)

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  23. I just finished it too. I certainly saw the Jane Eyre parallels - Setterfield must be a huge Bronte fan. I didn't looove it, but it was good, a great RIP II read.

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  24. It is on my read list. BTW, I loved Wuthering Heights!

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  25. Hello fellow Weekly Geeker! Great review. I probably would have gotten more if I had read Jane Eyre. Oh well. I've added it to my book review database here: http://blog.mawbooks.com and also reviewed it at the url provided with my name.

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  26. I absolutely loved it when I read it 6 months ago -- and had to read it again this month to refresh my memory for a book club discussion. The second read was even better than the first -- knowing the ending, I saw a lot of things I missed the first time.

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