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>> Monday, January 14, 2008

The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield. Ian recommended this to me last Friday and I immediately rushed to Powerbooks TriNoma to buy it. I felt like a lucky girl that day, because Powerbooks had the last copy. I did not let go of it anymore, and I waited for my parents to fetch me there. I was a hundred pesos short, so I still had to wait. Boo me, I didn't know that they were on sale. I could've bought them earlier. I grabbed another book to add to my bill. Ahhhhrrrgh, the books aren't part of my January budget! Why o why do books have to be so tempting? :P

I couldn't sit down and read the whole day last Saturday because of our English training. I used up all my free time to cram a powerpoint that I had to submit. I only got to start the book Saturday evening.

As of 7:18 AM today, I finally read the last word on the last page of the book. The thirteenth tale, as superstition would say, is a book about misfortunes. If you love suspense, mystery, horrors, writing and books, the Thirteenth Tale has all of these.

The story is fiction, but there's so much truth in it. The story is about Margaret Lee, a biographer who is tasked to know the truth about a best-selling author, Vida Winter. Vida Winter is known to weave stories, with over 40 books that has sold millions. As Ms. Winter tells the story of two twins, Margaret slowly learns about the truth and the real story behind Ms. Winter's life. Ms. Winter's story also wakes up Margaret's past. Now Margaret has to face the truth about her own past and Ms. Winter's.

The story keeps you thinking all the time. How this character is connected to another, or what is her relation to him, or where did he go? While reading on my favorite reading chair under the moonlight (and the help of my table lamp of course) I was feeling chills. My surroundings turned into the Angelfield household and I felt that the characters were just acting around me. My hunches were always wrong, because of the way the story was written. You think you already got it, but there's always something new popping out of the story. There's always a secret hidden in every secret revealed. The truth isn't given in one sitting, the writer reveals it one small piece at a time.

I have to read Jane Eyre, because the author included a lot of references from that book. It just takes me weeks to finish a classic novel, because of its style of writing. The old English makes me feel old and sleepy. Haha, no offense to the classic writers, I respect your language. It's not you, it's me. I need to watch my attitude, and start reading those classics. Thank God for contemporary books like this, they give me the drive to give the classics a second chance.

The book is written like a story. Separated into three parts, Beginning, Middle and End, the structure adds to how a story should go. However, an Ending doesn't really mean the literal end of the story. That what makes the book interesting.

Another interesting paragraph that caught my eye while I was reading it was Ms. Winter's opinion about truth.

"My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth herself. What succor, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? When the lightning strikes shadows on the bedroom wall and the rain taps at the window with its long fingernails? No. When fear and cold make a statue of you in your bed, don't expect hard-boned and fleshless truth to come running to your aid. What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie."

Some truths are better said in stories. Truths are better understood if made into a story. Stories make you want to research more, learn more. You find the truth yourself through stories.

*possible spoiler warning* For me, the thirteenth tale is Ms. Winter's life story, and not the unpublished and unfinished story. To stop the misfortunes from happening, Margaret decides to keep the family story a secret. It's also a way of respecting the writer and what she has gone through. A Cinderella story waiting to happen, and Ms. Winter somewhat got it by telling the truth... through a story.


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