May 21, 2013
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
I have to say, this classic horror story surprised me. I was not at all expecting such an unusual format from a book written in 1897; Stoker tells the story of Dracula through various diary entries, telegrams, letters, and newspaper clippings. It reminded me somewhat of Robinson's "2312," which also took an unconventional path to storytelling. It was intriguing to read of the same events in different voices, and the format also made for more fun in guessing what would happen next. I also wasn't expecting to be frightened by "Dracula," with all that we are subjected to in modern cinema and literature, but I could very easily imagine a reader at the turn of the century, reading with the help of flame instead of light bulbs, being utterly terrified at the lurid descriptions. Stoker tells a great story, so that even a jaded 21st Century reader like myself, dealing with the relatively cumbersome prose of the 19th Century, became wrapped up in the novel. My only complaint is the rambling, repetitive musings of Dr. van Helsing, who does seem to go on and on and on. And since he is Dutch, and his English is not perfect, it takes a bit more effort to make it through his long speeches. Otherwise, what a wonderfully surprising read!