The Haunting

I’m not one for reviews because I tend to ramble on, and I have no start, no middle and no end. I just know the kaleidoscope of emotions that swell up when reading a great book and I especially loved this book. The Thirteenth Tale.

Some stories haunt you, long after they’re written. They are stories with words that echo round and round in your head, never ceasing until you’ve opened them again, and reread them once more.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is one of them. I haven’t been so entranced by the words of a book for a long time. Even when I sleep, scenes from the book reenact themselves in my head, and it is so wonderfully and cleverly crafted that I can even imagine how each and every one of this characters play themselves out. The way the author writes it is never too revealing, leaving space for the imagination, but not too bare that you can’t see her characters at all. Its an ability not many authors have, they’re either too telling, or too silent about it all.

That brings me to the characters that spark with such life they fly off the pages. They scream, they bite, and the words they speak can sometimes be as little as none, and yet, they make everything seem so vivid. Their desires and their wants can sometimes be transparent, or unknown. Especially that of the little girls. But that’s the whole idea I think To keep you guessing to the very end, the thoughts of the child. And when you find out how it plays out. Wham. Its an understanding that can change you.

The characters are broken things, made whole by interactions, by scenes that are full of mystery. Yes, mystery, the one fine thrum of excitement that winds itself in every page, making you turn the next more fervently than before. And when you finally find out the end, you’ll want to go back to read all that you’ve missed, and you’ll see how the author cleverly inserts those little nuggets of joy in words. They’re hidden in plain sight, and that makes it all the more exciting.

Of course, I thought the book was only full of purple prose in the beginning, due to the long words. But once I got past that I realize that it speaks all the more of the narrator herself. A fine woman brought up by books. I actually envied her past, and wanted more than anything to have had that chance to be where she had been. But I didn’t quite understand the connection between twins as the author writes it. Still, it was a beautiful read, and the end, despite it being too fantastical for me, was still a great end.

Every line caught my heart, but the best was the start.

All children mythologize their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth: it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story.

Tales of Desperation and Change: Vida Winter.

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