Even with audiobook during travels and a major cleaning expedition, this *STILL* took an entire summer to read. Whew. I didn’t realize that when I casually decided to read Dracula, that it was quite an undertaking. This book was a lot different than I expected it to be, but that didn’t turn out to be a bad thing. Until the second half disappointed me quite a bit.
If you have ever heard anything about vampires, vampire lore, or the unfortunate Twilight saga, you’ll know that Dracula is a key text in vampire lore and one of the most prominent 19th-century novels (though not the earliest–I believe Polidori’s Vampyre is perhaps the earliest vampire novel). The novel is told through a series of letters, memos, journals, and written accounts, to lend a sort of scientific or sociological aspect to the tone. Jonathan Harker, a solicitor, is sent to visit a client, the Count Dracula, at his castle in Transylvania. When Harker discovers the horrifying truth that Dracula is a vampire, things go understandably awry. His fearless fiancee Mina tirelessly endeavors to find out the truth and discover him. Meanwhile, Mina’s best friend Lucy Westenra is courted by three men: Dr. John Seward, Quincey Morris (an American), and Arthur Holmwood (who is ultimately successful). But when Lucy’s health takes a swift and sudden decline, the mystery really thickens. Seward writes his former professor, the Dutchman Abraham van Helsing, who determines that evil is at hand. And without sharing his knowledge with the group, van Helsing determines to eradicate this evil, but this of course does not go as planned.
And that’s the first half of the book, which moves fast. The second half and denouement are honestly a pretty big letdown. van Helsing bogarts a LOT of information that could have saved a lot of headaches and about 100 pages’ worth of conflict, but maybe that’s just me. I lost the flow and feel of the story about halfway through, and I pretty much forced myself to listen while undertaking an ENORMOUS cleaning project last week (on that note: Marie Kondo would be so proud of the way my house is now organized). In my Goodreads review, I admitted a wish to see Twilight’s Edward Cullen and the Volturi duke it out, because even THAT would have been more entertaining than the book’s last fourth. Alas.
I do still want to see a film version, however. I hear that Christopher Lee is a tour de force:
RIP, Sir. You are unforgettable.
But I also have an insane curiosity to see Gary Oldman as Dracula. A Google Image search yielded this:
All the LOLs. All of them. I mean, this is what Johnny Depp whispers into his pillow at night, wishing and praying to become. You just know that no one can out-crazy Gary Oldman. [said with deep reverence and love and affection]
And on one last note, I would highly recommend the audiobook. I specifically chose it, because Greg Wise was the narrator for the men’s voices (and Saskia Reeves did a fantastic job for the women’s). If you do not know who Greg Wise is, you probably actually do. He’s Mr. Emma Thompson, also, WILLOUGHBY.
THAT Willoughby. Apart from the length of his sideburns, I would seriously question my virtue for him, as well.