I could see his face better now, and the cruel strength of it made me shrink back – the great dark eyes under knitted brows, the long straight nose, the broad bonelike cheeks. His mouth, I saw now, was closed in a hard smile, ruby and curving under his wiry, dark mustache. At one corner of his lips I saw a stain of drying blood. (chapter 73)
Alina, it’s finally here! Hello, my lovelies! Today I will finally (FINALLY!) write the review for one of my favourite books. I’ve mentioned it in a couple of tags, I’ve written a couple of articles about it and now it’s time to offer it a proper place on eLitere. I’m talking about Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian.
I can’t remember loving a vampire story more than this one. I mean, each one has its own appeal, but this one is special. We meet Dracula again, but in a rather different environment. He’s older, more focused and potentially more dangerous. It wouldn’t seem like it, since this book is apparently less violent than the nineteenth century Dracula. I will not focus on the plot, just know that it is in essence a journey on different levels. We’ll come to meet various narrators throughout the novel, each with different stories bound together by a common passion (their love for books and research) and a certain vampire who took interest in what they could offer.
One of the questions found at the core of the novel is: what if Dracula were real? Let’s go further… what if he knows what is written about him? Ah, but the answer isn’t just given to the readers. We are put face to face with something akin to a puzzle, where each character brings new pieces of information until we have a clear image of this universe they inhabit… one which could very well be our own. Four people drew my attention: the unnamed narrator, Paul (her father), Helen, Bartholomew Rossi. Trust me, there will be many others, but these four follow a path where safety is almost nonexistent.
As for Dracula, there is so much to say about him. When you have the time, go to JRLS and read the article I published in that Journal (be careful, you’ll find spoilers). I truly hope you will find it both useful and interesting, if you want to learn more about Kostova’s vampire. As a side note, I also wrote about Only Lovers Left Alive, so I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy what you are going to find there. Coming back… he is the Historian, an undead Vlad the Impaler who loves books, the horrors of the past, and actually being a part of history. That short quote above holds just a bit of his physical description. We do get more information on how he looks, but pay close attention to what he says and what is said about him.
He’s not some lovable, weak being. This Dracula knows what he is doing and he’s not afraid of anything. I can’t even say that there is a true weakness when it comes to the Historian. Really, how do you destroy something you cannot see? How do you chase away shadows permanently? The characters in general, but especially the undead, are fascinating and they are waiting for the readers to join them in this journey across time… and space. I can’t wait to receive my new copy so that I can reread this book and pay more attention to the places described there.
If you’re a fan of Dracula, you’ll definitely like this novel, perhaps even more than Stoker’s story. I intend to write more about The Historian, perhaps not on eLitere, but I’ll put the links here once the articles are online. I hope you’ll find the time to read the book (it is quite long, but it’s not part of a series). Or maybe you’ve read it already it? Share your thoughts with us and tell us what other vampire stories you love. Until next time!
by Elena Atudosiei