Sunday, February 12, 2012
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.
Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love
Seeing as I love vampire stories, I figured I needed to get my hands on a copy of one of the original vampire stories—Bram Stoker's, Dracula. I didn’t know if (actually, I didn’t think) I would like the book but I was surprised. I realized I have some preconceived notions about what books considered “classics” are like. These notions are largely based on stereotypes about classic literature being boring, written in indecipherable prose and so on. Dracula is not a novel that fits such stereotypes.
Set in England, Dracula is written in epistolary form. Readers learn about the dreadful Count Dracula through diary entries, telegrams, letters, and newspaper articles. In doing this Stoker allows readers to understand this evil-doer through many lenses and points of view. Readers receive a well-rounded understanding of Count Dracula’s skills and motivations.
I didn’t expect to be frightened by this book, probably because of the previously mentioned preconceived notions, but I was. I was genuinely, hide-under-the-covers, creeped out by certain parts of the plot and descriptions of the characters. Some parts were downright chilling without having to be graphically violent or overtly sexual (as some vampire fiction tends to resort).
Another element that caught me off guard was the element of humor. Stoker does a beautiful job of weaving silliness into the grotesque and frightening storyline. I found myself laughing out loud at moments of awkwardness between Mina and all the men who seem to swoon after her, and at the overzealous Quincy who is quick to shoot first and question later.
I will mostly likely read this book again—I enjoyed it that much! It takes a fabulous book for me to want to read it a second time. I have a total of four books (of the hundreds I’ve read) that I like to re-read and will be adding this one to that list!
5 darts out of 5
Bookshelf Project Status: KEEP!