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The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield - Paperback - October 2007 - from Books of the World (SKU: RWARE0000003290)

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

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The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

by Diane Setterfield

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About This Item

New York: Washington Square Press, October 2007. Trade Paperback. Good+. Edges of the first few dozen pages were wet, otherwise Near Fine with light edgewear. Not from a library. No remainder mark. 406 pages + reader's guide.

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness-featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.


The Thirteenth Tale is a gothic suspense novel published in 2006. It is Diane Setterfield's debut novel.


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On Aug 26 2014, a reader said:
Suspenseful and beautifully written, this is a tale that will hold your attention. Just when you think you know where the story is heading, a twist occurs that throws you off course. One of the most mesmerizing books I have read this summer!
On Jan 29 2009, killswan said:
This novel is a literary tribute by the author to gothic and romantic novels enjoyed in her own English girlhood -- especially JAYNE EYRE. Pick any five consecutive sentences of THE THIRTEENTH TALE and you may find at most one flat, ordinary formulation. This is "poetry" or poetic prose as Heidegger saw it: "thickening" (German Dichtung). That is, ordinary words and experiences carry weight beyond what most writers make language bear. No glossary needed for this tale of Yorkshire. Just bring your heart. ***

Can two depressingly dysfunctional generations of the Angelfield family finally spawn normal offspring? Must twin girls neglected by their parents remain weird for life? The novel asks why does it take Margaret Lea, an outsider biographer, whose twin had died at birth, to tell when Britain's greatest novelist, Vida Winter, is lying about her family. "Trust but verify" is Margaret's model and it helps her both unravel the Angelfields and their tragedy and come to terms with herself and her parents. ***

THE THIRTEENTH TALE makes a case that the classic way to tell a tale (especially when the yarn is deliberately gothic and romantic) is always the best way: with a beginning which assumes nothing, a middle which blends the elements into fiendishly complex puzzles, enigmas and terrors, and a brief end and coda in which all is explained. Does that also sound like the best kind of detective story? ***



Books of the World US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
Diane Setterfield
Trade Paperback
Book condition
Used - Fine
Quantity available
Washington Square Press
Place of Publication
New York
Date published
October 2007
fiction, contemporary, authors, female, friendship, women
Bookseller catalogs
History; Fiction; Domestic and Family Fiction;

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Books of the World

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Arlington, Virginia
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About Books of the World

Selling books from around the world. I am not a professional bookseller. Rather, I am finding new homes for the library I have collected over five decades.


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A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...[more]
A term used to denote a condition a slight grade better than Good.
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a...[more]
trade paperback
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remainder mark
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