Oct 14, 2008

Dracula

by Bram Stoker

Even though I'd been warned that Dracula would not be what I expected, it still surprised me. I thought it would be well, more frightening. But it wasn't. Maybe I just didn't get far enough. Or maybe it's that I don't read much horror and haven't learned to appreciate the genre. Dracula is certainly very creepy, moody and ominous. The characters themselves are frightened, but I couldn't manage to feel it myself. And the story moves so slowly, building up the suspense piece by piece of isolated mysterious incidents which by themselves aren't enough to alarm the characters into action, but seen as a whole by the reader, obviously point to what's going on... well, insofar as 112 pages told me. That's as far as I got before my eyes just began glazing over and I couldn't hold attention on the page. I was rather disappointed in myself for not being able to finish it, but I also don't try to force myself through books anymore... I found it interested that Dracula is told through letters and journal entries, rather similar to Frankenstein (which I did read in its entirety).

I have to credit Jena of Muse Books Reviews for advising me in the comments on my Sunshine post. She said: "re: Dracula--it's a very slow read. I took it on when I was 16 (had to start it twice, 'cause it was hard to get into). If you're not into vampire lore, I don't think I'd recommend Dracula. Maybe an abridged version..." When she left that comment I got my feathers all ruffled because I used to pride myself (in high school) on reading fat books like the unabridged Don Quixote. My apologies, Jena. I should have listened to you!

My husband even talked me into watching Interview with a Vampire last night, to see if I'd enjoy a vampire story more in film version. Nope. It was interesting, but still didn't really do it for me.

Abandoned ...0/5.. 430 pages, 1897

18 comments:

Lezlie said...

Despite our mutual affection for bats, maybe you're right, and you're just not a vampire person. :-) I *loved* the film version of Interview With The Vampire, but I think I might be in the minority on that one!

Lezlie

Jeane said...

I've never read any Anne Rice, either...

Lezlie said...

I go back and forth with her. As far as The Vampire Chronicles go, some I really liked a lot, and some I was very lukewarm about. I really enjoyed the New Tales of the Vampires books though, Pandora and Vittorio.

Lezlie

pussreboots said...

I don't like most modern vampire books that I've read but I adore Dracula. I love the old, slow, moody Gothic pieces.

Trish said...

Oh no! I've wondered how this one would be, especially after being really disappointed in Frankenstein. I've kind of been putting it off and think I'll continue to do so for a while. I've never seen the full Interview with the Vampires--I'll definitely have to do that one day (don't think I could read it, though--Anne Rice really intimidates me).

Laura said...

I read Dracula as a college freshman, and I don't really remember much about it except that I didn't read it at night because I got a little creeped out. I am planning to read The Historian soon, which I know has much to do with Dracule. Have you read it?

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Hmmm . . . I was kinda thinking of reading this one for Halloween. Interview With the Vampire is one of my husband's all time favorite movies, but I think I've just watched it once and thought it was gross.

Jeane said...

Laura- no, I haven't read the Historian. What's it about?

Natasha- I actually had that thought several times while watching the movie: this is just gross!

Fyrefly said...

I like most vampire books, (and the film version of Interview with the Vampire, so you're not totally alone, Lezlie!), but Dracula did just about nothing for me. Yes, we get it, Mina Harker's the paragon of womanhood. Can we get on with the biting now?

Bybee said...

I started Dracula but abandoned it -- that was about 20 years ago. The Historian is OK but needed some pruning from a wise editor.

Jeane said...

Update: last night we watched The Queen of the Dammed. I liked it much better than Interview with a Vampire. Because of how artistically the film was shot, and that the music of Interview was so dramatic it annoyed me, whereas we really liked the music in Queen of... So I think my appreciation is more about how the quality and atmosphere of a piece appeals to me, rather than just the subject matter (vampires).

Lezlie said...

Oh, that was a good one, too! Though I strangely preferred Tom Cruise in the role of Lestat. I am not a Cruise fan in general, but I thought he nailed the entire feel of that character. He, unfortunately, turned down repeating the role. Aaliyah as Akasha was wonderful!

Lezlie

Jeane said...

My husband preferred Tom Cruise as Lestat, too. I liked the moodier french actor better(can't recall his name now).

Lezlie said...

Stuart Townsend. I think he's Irish, but I could be wrong. Either way, he's sure not hard to look at. :-)

Lezlie

Petunia said...

I agree with your review. I did finish the book but I didn't see what all the hype was about. I found it more boring than creepy.

Heather said...

I think to appreciate the "horror" of Dracula you have to remember when it was originally written. We're a little more desensitized these days, but when you try and read it as the intended audience (1897). Also, remember that Stoker was using this book as an allegory for the power of men over women and unbridled sexual temptation, not really as an undead person, but that the idea of men stalking women like prey and killing their innocence is a scary idea--the same way we would think of a serial killer methodically stalking and killing teenage girls in our current times.

The book How to Read Literature Like a Professor absolutely changed the way I read every vampire novel, well really every novel. Once I read that book, I found that I appreciated absolutely every single piece of "classic fiction" because I knew how to read better and understand the story behind the story.

Jeane said...

That How to Read Literature book sounds like a great resource, Heather. Thanks so much for suggesting it. I haven't really enjoyed literature since high school and college years, when someone was on hand to help me "dissect" it a bit. This book might help me appreciate those kinds of books better once again.

Lezlie said...

He has another book now, too, called "How To Read Novels Like A Professor". It is also very good.

Lezlie