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denisebetteridge

denisebetteridge

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The Thirteenth Tale
Diane Setterfield
Progress: 25 %
The Sea, the Sea
Iris Murdoch, Mary Kinzie
The House of the Seven Gables - Robert S. Levine, Nathaniel Hawthorne Nothing at all like what I was expecting. Why was I led to believe this was Gothic horror? It's not. Perhaps pinning down what it is, is the problem. Gothic? You do get that feeling of morbid attractiveness, cheerless gloom. The characters are dusty and melancholy, apart from the fresh faced Phoebe. I saw the story as a mystery, as there is an element of suspense running through it, but apparently the author did not. I waited to find out what had gone on but I'm not sure you are let off the hook in the end.

Putting aside the difficulty of categorizing, it is easy to say the one thing it is, is entertaining. I thought Hawthorne did a very good job of ascribing a complete sense of the characters' personalities. I wasn't just reading, I was feeling. As I was reading, I kept thinking that Hawthorne's writing was sexy, just as it had been in The Scarlet Letter. I got a strange sense of titillation, just as I do when I read Poe, or listen to Vincent Price speak. Maybe this is exactly the sense one is supposed to feel when the word "Gothic" is nuanced. Or maybe it is all in my head. Read it for yourself and find out.