Friday, October 27, 2006

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Author: Mary Shelley
ISBN # 0192834878
Publisher: Oxford University Press
First Published: 1818
239 pages
Rating: 7/10

The Blurb:
Obsessed by creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life by electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley's chilling gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron's villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.

The Review:
I once read an abridged version of this classic novel as a child (I think I was about eight years old) and I remember being absolutely absorbed by the story of a man so caught up in his own quest for knowledge that he crosses a line and descends into a life of pure horror. Picking up the full, unabridged version more than twenty years later for a reading circle was a little daunting – would I really enjoy it as much? Truth be told – no, I didn’t enjoy it even half as much as I remembered. I found the language flowery and the style stilted, but the story itself is still captivating and I can now appreciate all those nuances that were beyond me at that young age. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I was slightly disappointed, but I did still get some enjoyment from revisiting this gothic portrait of a man consumed by his own madness and the ultimate revenge of his own creation. If you’ve not read it, you really should, if only to be able to say you have, but also because there is something in it that is still relevant today in a world where the pros and cons of genetic research and cloning are debated on an almost-daily basis.


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