The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Gripping Gothic Novel

photo by Hayward Public Library

         Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale is a wonderful read. For the fans of Charlotte Bronte and Emily Bronte, this is a contemporary offering. The two main characters are Margaret Lea and Miss Vida Winter. Miss Winter has been a bestselling author for over 60 years. Every time an interviewer asked about her past, she lied. And every lie was wildly different.

      Vida is finally ready to tell the truth about her childhood. And Margaret Lea, a fledgling writer, is the one chosen to chronicle it.

        It's a twisted tale (aren't all gothic novels twisted?) and the reader is lured onto a particular path...you think you know what Vida Winter's "secret" is, but you don't--not until the very end is the veil lifted and the truth revealed.

        Miss Winter claims, "All children mythologize their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born.  What you get won't be the truth; it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story."

           So what is the story behind your birth? Was there anything comic or noteworthy about your arrival? (Of course you are worth taking note of, but other than you, that is.)

           You could even write two different versions and let us ponder their points as we try to ascertain which is the lie and which is the truth. 

13 comments:

  1. Take your pick:

    My mother went into labor after a rousing ping-pong competition (which she won) at the family farm of her sister-in-law. She refused to go to the hospital until the final point.

    I was delivered on the shoulder of a highway. A state patrolman escorted my parents to the hospital, where the placenta plopped onto a nurse's shoe as my mother was assisted out of the back seat.

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    1. Knowing you--or seeming to know you, via the blogosphere--I could imagine both being correct. However, I imagine the first one is the real one.

      Now, if you had said YOU plopped onto the nurse's shoe, I would have chosen #2. Just sayin'...

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    2. Okay, you're right. They are both correct, but only the first one is my personal story. The other happened to a former colleague, between Cuba and St. Louis, along I-44. The nurse was not happy.

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    3. Hey, if she had been wearing my favorite shoes--Crocs--all she would have had to do was hose those puppies off and she'd have been good to go.

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  2. Interesting thought. I have no story at all about my birth. But, just asking me about giving birth to my daughter!

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    1. Consider yourself asked. Maybe we'll see the tale poetically presented?

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  3. Sioux, love your new blog look!

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    1. Thanks. And what makes it really snazzy is that WWWP picture. Norm is a genius!

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  4. Your new look is so stylish. Love it!

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    1. Thanks, Donna. It was long overdue.

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  5. I too love the new look! Sounds like a great book. Love the quote! Here's my story: My 40-something mother tripped over the dog's dish and broke her leg the day after her due date. When they got her to the hospital, they couldn't decide which floor to put her on - the one for breaks or maternity, so they put her in the maternity ward in traction. They couldn't give her much for the pain, so when she finally went into labor, she was so grateful to get the spinal that she leaned back in relief and set her own leg. One of the congratulatory cards said, "At least it wasn't two broken legs and twins."

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    1. So you weren't a PITA, but you DID start out with a pain in the leg (of your mother).

      If this is made up, you did a marvelous job, Tammy.

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  6. My dad introduced me to this book several years ago. I agree... GREAT read!

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