Dracula, Bram Stoker, Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003, (first published in 1897), 444pp
Summary from Goodreads: A true masterwork of storytelling, Dracula has transcended generation, language, and culture to become one of the most popular novels ever written. It is a quintessential tale of suspense and horror, boasting one of the most terrifying characters ever born in literature: Count Dracula, a tragic, night-dwelling specter who feeds upon the blood of the living, and whose diabolical passions prey upon the innocent, the helpless, and the beautiful. But Dracula also stands as a bleak allegorical saga of an eternally cursed being whose nocturnal atrocities reflect the dark underside of the supremely moralistic age in which it was originally written -- and the corrupt desires that continue to plague the modern human condition.
I am not recommending this as a holiday season read but it is next in the reviewing queue, so here it goes.
Sometimes my reading groups surprise me. When The Bookie Babes, the first reading group I joined about 10 years ago, chose this one for our November read, I was dismayed. I've never understood or been drawn to the vampire genre. Guess what? I read Dracula and now I get it!
My first surprise was how easy it was to read. Apparently Stoker wrote many novels in his spare time, though this is the only one that has remained in publication. He was an Irish theater manager and critic and lived in the era of Britain's and Europe's emergence out of the old world and into modern times. He kept up on psychology, evolution, and women's rights. He would have killed it on Twitter.
I was also surprised to learn that vampires have featured in folk tales and literature from the earliest times, including Greek and Asian civilizations. A personification of evil and fears perhaps?
Bram Stoker's Dracula is both an origin story for the world's most well known vampire and a thriller. A group of men and one woman use Sherlock Holmes style investigative methods to run the undead menace to ground and annihilate him.
I enjoyed every page and so did everyone else in the group. Who knew?
(Dracula is available in paperback on the shelves at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)