Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker

ISBN # 0140433813

Publisher: Penguin

First Published: 1897

520 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 7/10

When Jonathan Harker visits
Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes a series of horrific discoveries about his client. Soon afterwards, various bizarre incidents unfold in England: an apparently unmanned ship is wrecked off the coast of Whitby; a young woman discovers strange puncture marks on her neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the 'Master' and his imminent arrival. In Dracula, Bram Stoker created one of the great masterpieces of the horror genre, brilliantly evoking a nightmare world of vampires and vampire hunters and also illuminating the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.

Told from several points of view, Dracula is one of those rare gems that really does give the reader the feeling that they are being told a tale by several people, each with their own, distinct voice. Although very formal in places, the style is indicative of the time in which it was written and the social status of the players in this Gothic horror, bringing to the fore the repression felt by various characters due to their social standing or their sex, heightening the tension and adding to the gripping narrative.

Stoker’s style is incredibly atmospheric, evocative and sensual, drawing the reader into a dark world filled with tumultuous emotions, madness and sexual awakening, even making the protagonist, the brooding Count himself, a figure to be pitied and admired, as well as feared.

The real heart and strength of the story is Mina Harker who is really literatures first spokeswoman for “Girl Power”, playing an essential role in the proceedings – without her, the others would fall long before the finale. In many ways, she is the perfect woman – loyal, intelligent, willing to learn and stand on her own two feet, but also feminine, nurturing, steadfast and as strong, when it comes to the fight, as any man – she has true nerves of steel!

Whether or not you have seen any of the hundreds of film adaptations of this classic, really you should treat yourself to reading it first-hand, and experiencing the chilling mix of desire and horror as you turn the pages…


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