Saturday, December 19, 2015

DRACULA






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. 
 
 
My Review:
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.)
 
 
   

12 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I've never read Dracula and never really had a desire to, but you almost make me want to add it to my reading queue!

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    1. Ha Ha. Almost. That's good Dorothy!

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  2. Well, now I must read it. I have read some contemporary books about the undead, but mostly because I was misled by the books blurbs. Dracula would be my first willing incursion into the genre.

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    1. I predict you will like it!

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  3. Who knew indeed. I don't think I've ever gotten around to Dracula, but glad to hear you liked it. I'm not sure if I'm partial to vampires (though I do follow zombies in The Walking Dead -- why I'm not exactly sure) but I still want to read Justin Cronin's 2010 novel The Passage which I gave to my husband and he liked. Have you read that one? It's a California book, eh?

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    1. I've had The Passage on my list ever since it came out. Maybe now that I've gotten over my vampire phobia, I will read it!

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  4. I've read Dracula a couple of times and it is definitely far superior to all the vampire books that come after it. As for The Passage, the final book in the trilogy is due out in 2016. The first two books are vastly different from one another, so I'm not sure what to expect from the third.

    Did you know that Stoker's grandson wrote a sequel, of sorts, to Dracula? He posits that Dracula was never supposed to be the villain and was really a misunderstood hero.

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    1. That is what I thought! All the vampire books after Stoker's are kind of knock offs. I think I have heard that idea before about Dracula being a misunderstood hero. In the origin story part of the book, he does come across as a hero who saved his country many times over. Maybe a hero gone wrong?

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  5. I am pleased to hear you enjoyed this classic novel; the original and one of the best vampire novels. I also thought Frankenstein by Mary Shelley would be a hard read but in fact I loved it even more!

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    1. Thanks Jessica. Frankenstein is now definitely on my list thanks to having read Dracula.

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  6. Love your review!! You've added a few details that I didn't know about like vampires have been for a much longer time than I knew.

    And yes, Bram Stoker would have done well on social media for sure.

    Have you read Mary Shelly's Frankenstein?? I read it twice for two different literature classes and enjoyed it a lot. Maybe a reread is in order!

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    1. Thank you. Frankenstein is on my list but I haven't gotten to it yet.

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