Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Goodreads Review of The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I LOVED the first 2/3rds of this book. It was riveting. I was totally taken in by the story, the writing style, and the words. I was fascinated because I couldn't figure out what the different time periods were supposed to be- still can't. There are cars and phones and sneakers but no internet or world wars or other markers of modern life. These were socially isolated people I was reading about, but I could relate to them. I loved the classic British 19th century themes that kept coming up- neglected children, incest, crazy relatives who are hidden away. Good stuff.

Anyway, that was the first couple of parts of the book. The last part felt like such a cop-out to me. Instead of making the story come together and make sense, there was a completely new character (well, sort of completely new) introduced to the story to neatly tie up all the loose ends, and after all the mystery I expected more. I was sitting there going through all of the characters in my head trying to puzzle out what happened, and it turned out to be none of them. The story comes to a close in such a way that even the cat is happy. And I didn't care about the cat! I think the only reason she wrapped up the book so tediously was to bring in an element of those old British Classics that have the summing up of the different characters at the end of the book. But I just found it so annoying that I threw down the book in disgust.

Bottom line: great for the first two hundred and fifty pages or so. Then I felt cheated.

View all my reviews.

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