The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield was passed on to me from my mother, who thought I’d like it. And I did, sort of. After all it’s hard not to like a story where books are so much the be all and end all.

It’s a hard book to put down, and the tale was gripping enough, but once I had read the last page I was left feeling somewhat unsatisfied. Though the plot is clever and the booklore abundant I missed some sort of deeper connection with the story. None of the characters really stayed with me past the last page, and they shoukd have.

Anyway, here’s one of the passages on reading to which I cried «Oh, sister!» (well, not really, but I certainly felt recognition):

I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life, and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. And yet I cannot pretend that the reading I have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child. I still believe in stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Yet it is not the same. Books are, for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child, books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one ever expects to be fulfilled.

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