All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes – characters even – caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book they are still with you.
These were the lines that my friend sent to me on Facebook, while I was a few hundred thousand miles away on a holiday, to help me choose a book to buy.(Check out a post about it here) I have this tradition that I have almost always followed on trips to different places. The tradition is to buy a book from any bookstore that is available to me at that location. As I have grown, I have been narrowing the books to authors that I do not get in my city. Although this is a difficult task, it helps in keeping a check on what I end up buying! It also almost always seems restrictive!
Anyway, on my recent holiday to Thailand, I visited a bookstore in Bangkok. With the temptation of a million books, my friend helped me narrow it down to The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. He did this by messaging me the above paragraph and I was immediately convinced, curious and enthralled.
So what is this book about?
In short, it is the story of the March family. Biographer Margaret Lea gets a letter from the famous Vida Winter, one of Britain’s more famous novelists, which ropes her in to the Angelfield House and its secrets.
Why does Margaret get sucked in so violently? Why is there no account of Vida Winter before she became a famous novelist? Why does Miss Winter’s Thirteen tales of Change and Desperation have only twelve tales? What is the story that Vida Winter is yet to tell?
You may think you are onto the suspense of this book. But believe me, you have no idea what is in store! This is a tale that will suck you in so vehemently that you will lose track of time, place, yourself and everything around you till you are done with it. And when you are done with it, a sense of grief and melancholy will permeate through you, will stay with you, till you get sucked into the next story.