"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I am so glad I have at last read Dracula. I liked it much more than I thought I would. I especially liked how Stoker tells the story through a fascinating mix of letters, diary entries, ship logs and occasional newspaper clippings. Of course I have seen several version of the Dracula story on old movies on TV. The book has a lot of Gothic Horror cliches but that is just because the book created the cliches in the first place.

Once I began to read the book it was as though I was meeting old friends. There is the good Professor Abraham Van Helsing learned in vampire lore who is at first reluctant to voice his thoughts for fear he will seem deranged. There is the beautiful young virginal Lucy with the mysterious bites who has fallen into a mysterious coma like state. We meet the disgusting insect eating Renfield who I for sure recall from the movies. We meet the required attorney who travels to Transylvania to visit Count Dracula at his sinister castle deep in the Carpathian mountains. At first the attorney is intimidated by the seemingly great wealth and culture of the Count, but he quickly realizes something is badly wrong. Why does the wealthy Count Dracula have no servants? Who are the three very evil looking women he encounters in the castle? Where does Dracula disappear to during the day time and in a great scene he wonders how he can seemingly climb the interior walls of the castle. I cannot see Dracula as any body but Bella Lugosi.

Even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen Stoker does such a great job with the narration that I was kept very interested throughout. Stoker does a wonderful job in creating the atmosphere. The sea voyages to and from England to continental Europe are really wonderful. You can feel the terror on the ships.

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