Return to Fiction

Some time ago, I mentioned that The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield, looked interesting.

It is.

Glimpsing a reflection of yourself in the mirror of a book is always a bit eerie, like someone has access to the recesses of your soul without your knowledge or consent. (There, see? Less than halfway into a Romantic novel, and I'm already mimicking its tone. Be glad I don't read Gothic fiction more often.) At any rate, here are the quotes that captivated me.
"There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts."

"I read old novels. The reason is simple: I prefer proper endings. Marriages and deaths, noble sacrifices and miraculous restorations, tragic separations and unhoped-for reunions, great falls and dreams fulfilled; these, in my view, constitute an ending worth the wait. They should come after adventures, perils, dangers and dilemmas, and wind everything up nice and neatly. Endings like this are to be found more commonly in old novels than new ones, so I read old novels."

"I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life, and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. And yet I cannot pretend that the reading I have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child. I still believe in stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Yet it is not the same. Books are, for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child, books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one ever expects to be fulfilled."

In case you're worried, Carolyn has been changed, fed, and otherwise cared for in spite of my having a new novel to read. If you weren't worried, you might not know me as well as you think. Read that first quote again.

No comments: