- Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 26 April 2012
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It's Gothic, intricate, romantic, tragic, fun and surprising. I haven't read Stoker's original "Dracula" in about 20 years and most of the details I'd either forgotten or had been smudged, smeared, and overwritten by a lifetime of modern vampire stories and myths."Dracula" is set in the late 19th century and is presented through a series of letters, memos and recordings between numerous characters who, through no fault of their own, become entangled in Dracula's plot to move away from his rapidly dwindling (and more "vampire-aware") food supply in Romania to the hip and crowded urban living in London.Stoker's mythology around Vampires had a few surprises (to me, at least...apologies in advance if any of these are common knowledge to Stephanie Meyers lovers...). Vampires only lose their powers during the day. They don't burn up or anything in the daylight...they just can't morph into animals, use superhuman strength, etc. Vampires can't turn into anything fancy when they're over water...which was a convenient plot point revolving around Dracula's travels to and from London via boat. Also, Stoker describes Dracula as having a long thin moustache...so I can't help imagining a fu manchu.Van Helsing comes across as a Victorian age vampire-fighting Yoda. Stoker may have been writing Van Helsing's backward-talking soliloquies to be delivered with a Danish accent, but perhaps the Stoker estate should have a chat with Lucasfilms...Harker's wife Mina is a central figure throughout the book - initially only as the target of Jonathan's letters from Transylvania, and eventually as a key figure in the hunt for the Count. Her passion and love for hubby Jonathan is both melodramatic and touching. One can't help but feel a very Victorian-England vibe in their relationship.I thoroughly enjoyed the Stoker original. He does a masterful job connecting the plot dots through diaries and correspondence. Even by today's standards, I find his approach very fresh. The first quarter of the story takes place in Romania and Dracula's castle, and Stoker is at his best in his exposition of place and in setting the weighty and Gothic tone of Dracula in his environs. The image of the Count crawling down the outer walls of his castle, while Jonathan Harker watches from above, is burned into my mind.
I had wanted to be a writer of horror novels at an earlier point in my life. All my horror exposure had been 20th century novels and movies. I decided to take a step back and expose myself to classic horror. Stoker's style is unique and there are some truly evil imagery in this book. I believe reading this novel in the time period it was published would have terrified me much more than reading any modern day horror novel in my own time period. I would eventually like to read more of Mr. Stoker's attempts at horror. "The Lair of the White Worm" sounds interesting....
I know this is going to sound funny but I know now why this is a classic. I always dreaded reading it because it was written so long ago thinking I wouldn't be able to get into it but boy was I wrong. I was drawn into the story at once, it is cryptic and scary with amazing foreboding detail. You feel like you are in there with the characters. Great scenery detail. I LOVED this book, by far one of my favorites already. I may even read it again! (and i usually never do that). You can't beat the original vampire novel!
The orignial horror story. Hard to surpass and hard to put down once begun.
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