15 December 2006

Just started reading...

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

The chapters have names rather than numbers, but I'm just starting the fourth one, Arrivals. I'm on page 36.

What a marvelously written book. I'm torn between rushing through it and reading slowly so that I can savour Setterfield's marvelous use of language.

The story (so far, anyway) is about Margaret Lea, who works in her father's antiquarian bookstore. She's grown up in the store, and has become skilled in the analysis of manuscripts.

Margaret receives a letter from one Vida Winter, a very popular author, "our century's Dickens" requesting that Margaret visit her with the purpose of being her biographer.

Although Margaret has written a few biographies, she says about herself, "..I am hardly a biographer at all. For my own pleasure, mainly, I have written a number of short biographical studies of insignificant personages from literary history."

However, it is on the strength of these (or at least one of them) that Winter contacts her.

That's about as far as I've gone in the book, and it's a very poor summary of what I've read. I'm going back to it now....

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