27 January 2008
It has been a very long time since I have started and finished a book in one day. I picked up Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale after lunch and finished it after midnight. To say I was lost in the book would be an understatement. I was spellbound.
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.
The Thirteenth Tale is story about a famously elusive author who is dying and wants to record the most important and anticipated story of her career-- the truth about who she is. The story unfolds like a labyrinth that weaves around a truth that somehow eludes the reader. You grasp at fragments of understanding, congratulating yourself on piecing her life together. When in fact you have only another story. You have been lead on elaborate jaunt through memory and myth, only to find that the plot that has engrossed you so much is only a subplot. What is the real the story? What is the truth?
Tell me the truth, you echo the character's desire to know the truth, but from cover to cover you are also captivated by the story that gets you there.