Bram Stoker, Dracula, London, Harper, 2009 Edition, 464p.
Obviously this book is a classic; therefore I doubt my review means anything. For goodness sake, it’s DRACULA. It’s like me telling Imelda Marcos where she could buy a good pair of heels.
Yet in the times where we’re dripping in vampire fever, and vampires have gone from scary as hell to the boy next door, here’s a Millennial discussing a book of where it all came from. If you love vampire novels then probably as a whim of loyalty should you read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. You may not like it if you’re attached to the romantic, sexy teenage idea of vampires, but at least you have the opportunity to appreciate the creature from what he was, to his evolution into the 21st Century.
This is horror 1897 style so there’s appropriate gore for a proper Gothic novel, yet it’s the suspense that is gum-lickingly eerie. My mother told me the first time she watched The Excorcist in 1974, she was in a pitch dark drive-in. I can imagine the same terror would have smothered someone sitting in their candlelight creaky bedroom in 1897 reading about a wailing bundle being carried up a castle outer wall to be drained, while its mother screams below to only be violently silenced by wolves. The language is so descriptive that I had my arm hairs quivering.
A light warning that the language is understandably old-fashioned and filled with dialogue that incorporates the manners of the day and ‘good form’ in camaraderie. Therefore at times, I found myself skimming through a fair amount of pages that described the women’s bravery and finesse or ‘how good that fellow, my good friend John is’. But I just let the words roll past me until I got to the juicy bits.
Another warning; Dracula is the bad guy and that’s the end of it. Modern literature has made me question about what Dracula thought, yet we don’t really get that point of view here. This an old horror story about a terrifying one-track-mind monster that the heroes need to thwart. Be flexible.
I daresay it’s that question that made Dracula this big open ceremony to the genre. It was as though Stoker new this was going to be a big hit. I can imagine he published it, sat back and thought ‘go!’ Perhaps he was intending to tell the monster’s side to the tale given the notes that have been used in the Stoker estate approved sequel Dracula: The Undead by Dacre Stoker, which I am yet to read.
Stoker has given us a novel that through the ages has added to the ever-growing acceptance and adoration of escaping into the fictitious world of the occult and left readers and writers thinking ‘what about Dracula?’ This is evident given modern obsessions with the idea; from Lestat de Lioncourt to Damon Salvatore.
Give it a go and see the world where he came from.
Everyone loves the original bad boy.