I've started a new book. It's a novel. I rarely start new novels these days. It feels like meeting new people, and like Bertie Wooster and education, I usually feel that "I was full up years ago." I am attached already. I am spoken for. New authors with new characters are asking me to take new people into my heart. It's a big decision.
But then, they say that the best way to find a date is to have a friend introduce you, and a friend has introduced me to the work of Diane Setterfield. The book is called The Thirteenth Tale. If we go on as we have begun, I shall be friends with Margaret Lea and Vida Winter for the rest of my life.
Click on the book cover or on Setterfield's name for more information if you want it, and the link behind the title leads to the book's website with some good audio. In the meantime, though ... c'mere a minute. Look at this. It's just part of just one of all the exquisite and elegantly formed paragraphs in this book. The main character, Margaret Lea, has been reading the odd letter that starts the whole of the plot. These two little masterstrokes - these two sentences - they are so perfectly crafted I want to read them over and over and carry them with me all day. Listen ...
I shivered on the stairs, yawned and stretched. Returning to myself, I found that my thoughts had been rearranged in my absence.And the woman herself? The author? She says that for many years she felt unable to write fiction at all. "I thought authors had to be orphans, or have a drug problem, or be out having lots of sex – and none of those things were me! Once I realized that the only difference between everyone else and writers is that they write, I felt I had cracked it."
addendum: Do NOT read this book late at night, or if you don't like really creepy things, or if references to deviant behavior will bother you over much. It's too well written to shake off very easily!