Thursday, October 11, 2007

'Dracula'

by Bram Stoker

Fiction/Classic/Horror, 1897
Penguin paperback, 426 p.
(#43 for 2007, R.I.P. II Challenge- #2)
When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries in his client’s castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing into questions of identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.
I was glad to finally finish this last weekend as it seemed like I’d been reading it forever! I had set it aside to finish off my non-fiction reads last month but still… I had it out from the library for 4 weeks! As I mentioned when I read Twilight, for years I’ve been avoiding vampire and horror novels in general, but the R.I.P. Challenge and the season put me in the mood to finally try it. When I started reading it, a little to my surprise, I found myself quite enjoying it. It was very atmospheric, especially at the beginning in Transylvania. However, as the story progressed, the rendering of Van Helsing’s accent and his excessive wordiness started to really annoy me and the story itself got bogged down in the niceties and purple prose. Thankfully they finally put two and two together and started to actively pursue the Count but then the ending was rather anti-climatic. I am glad I finally read this classic vampire story if for nothing else than now being familiar with the vampire lore that has come from it. But I’m equally glad that I borrowed it from the library as even though it’s a memorable story, it’s not one I think I’d bother to read again.

My Rating: 3/5

Dracula at The Literary Gothic

14 comments:

  1. I meant to read this and "Frankenstein" last year at Halloween and only got through "Frank". I'm going to try to try this, because I really have been wanting to see where the whole vampire thing started. Thanks for the review, and the reminder.

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  2. has one of the best love story of all times :D

    Actually when it comes to vampire story, I prefer Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and Book 3: Queen of the Damned is the Best in the series.

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  3. Kookie- I'm glad I read for exactly that reason- "to see where the whole vampire thing started". I've never read Frankenstein but am a bit curious now that my horror book avoidance has been worn down. :P

    ideru- Dracula has one of the best love stories? Really? I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. ;P

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  4. I guess this is one of those books you're glad to have read even if you don't enjoy all that much. I read it some time ago, and I actually did enjoy it - like you said, it is very atmospheric. It probably also helps that I've always been a big fan of vampire fiction.

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  5. I've tried both Dracula and Frankenstein and neither kept my attention, but that's not surprising, I guess - they do fall into the horror category, right? I can't even remember what exactly turned me off. Hmm.

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  6. Nymeth- I am glad I read it for the background on vampire lore, and the beginning especially was great but overall it won't be a favourite.

    Nancy- I'm not much of a horror reader either except for this recent foray into vampire books. Maybe I'll try Frankenstein next year??

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  7. I was disappointed with my recent RIP II Challenge selection, too. Sorry this one didn't work for you.

    How long is your flight to Canada? I hope there aren't any screaming babies, too! Can you say Bose headphones? ;) BTW, I posted a comment in response to your question on my blog about restaurants in Sidney.

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  8. Les- Since it's a classic and has had such a strong cultural influence, I'm still glad I read it. Too bad about your recent RIP read.
    I fly direct from Tokyo to Vancouver then transfer to a little puddle-jumper to get to Victoria. The Tokyo-Vancouver flight is 9 hours on the way there and 10.5 on the way back. I don't have fancy Bose headphones but I will be bringing my ipod. I always have a hard time sleeping on planes so it always seems so long. I'll come over now to see your Sidney recs, thanks.

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  9. This was my first fot the R I P Challenge this year. I liked it better than you, but agree with your comment about Van Helsing. I skipped a few of his wordier discourses. But I enjoyed the Gothic atmosphere and campiness of the book. Although it probably wasn't considered campy when it was first published.

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  10. Framed- I agree that it was very atmospheric, especially in the beginning. But as the story went on it just got bogged down for me by all that wordiness.

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  11. It's great that you are enjoying the darker tales and those with vampires, yay for opening your mind. Do give Anne Rice a go, her vampire stories and sensual and my favourites out there.

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  12. Rhinoa- This foray into vampire fiction has certainly shown that I shouldn't discount a genre before I try it. So where does one start with the Anne Rice vampire books? Is there a certain order to read them in?

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  13. See, I love vampire fiction but haven't read Dracula. Now that's just wrong isn't it? :)
    I really want to read it this month but don't think it's going to happen.

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  14. Iliana- yes, that's very wrong! :P
    I hope you get a chance to read it sometime soon.

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