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Monday, February 2, 2009

My Literary and Pop Culture Connections in The Thirteenth Tale

While listening to/reading THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield I kept finding connections between her book and other books/movies/etc. I intended to include them in my review but the list got too long so I'm dedicating an entire post to it.

Here are a few things that came to mind (book titles link to my review if I've done one). Enjoy!
  • Vida Winter, one of the main characters, says that truth is not comforting and that people much prefer stories (aka lies). This reminded me of LIFE OF PI and how the reader is given a choice of which story to accept as truth.

  • She also says that "families are webs" and that it impossible to understand a person without understanding where he/she came from. This reminded me of MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN when the main character says "to understand me you must swallow the world" (or something like that). In both cases the characters are explaining that knowledge of one person alone isn't really knowledge of that person at all.

  • On a more superficial note this book is set partially in Cambridge, which was also the setting for THE MAN WHO LOVED CHINA which I listened to earlier this month.

  • The secret twin language and the twin relationship reminded me of the movie NELL starring Jodie Foster. Although thinking about it now, I think their language was different because their mother had a stroke and they imitated her pronunciation. Darn, I guess it doesn't apply after all.

  • When Margaret questions what happened to a minor character later in life, Vida Winter says "it does not do to get attached to these secondary characters." They come and go because this is not their story, she says. How different that is from the tv show Lost! All the minor characters in that show are important, although it may not seem that way at first. But Margaret clearly *is* attached to those minor characters and she tells us all about them in the final pages of the book.

  • "Isabelle, in the library, with the violin." The game of CLUE, anyone?

  • Of course there are also many direct references to literature (the books that Margaret reads, the stories Hannah tells to the twins, the books on Vida Winter's shelves). I didn't make special note of those because they were stated clearly.
I know there is nothing profound in this list, but I did enjoy the little "Eureka!" moments I had when I discovered these as I read.

I've heard that this book reminds people of works by Daphne du Maurier but since I've never read any of them I can't say. If you have read THE THIRTEENTH TALE please comment and tell me about some of the additional connections I might have missed.

The more I read, the more connections I find between different books ... have you found the same thing happening to you?


Nan said...

I loved reading this! And yes, I have been finding this particularly in my Jan. reading. Very interesting, isn't it. And I think it's a great idea to post about.

Anonymous said...

It has been so long since I've read it that I don't really remember. It was definitely gothic, though, so there's the DuMaurier connection.

Alyce said...

When I read what you had written about people wanting to believe lies vs. truth my first thought was also "Life of Pi." I just read Life of Pi a few weeks ago so it's fresh in my memory. I read The Thirteenth Tale last summer, so it's not as vivid. I loved both books.

Anonymous said...

This was fun to read! I read this too long ago to remember anything like this, too. I recommend you get some du Maurier read pronto!

Unknown said...

I loved this book when it first came out and loved it with the connection of books. Like the other readers I don't remember the whole book. It has a definite gothic twist. There was a lot of mystery/suspense. I loved how books and reading intwined in the book. The feel, smell of books. The author definately had to have the love and upbringing of books from her parents I would say.
I just loved the book, some people have not liked it either.

Dreamybee said...

I have this book on the way from Book Mooch. My first mooched book-yay! I can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

Yes! More and more connections (that old "it's a small world" again!).

Last month I wrote about book groups and book titles being mentioned in novels I was reading. I guess because book groups are a growing trend, it's a part of our contemporary culture that author's refer to ...

Serena said...

I love those eureka moments in books as well. They are great little finds.

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