Saturday, May 23, 2015

Though I'm not That Into Vampire Stories.....

"The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova.
Years ago I read Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel, a plot which achieved an astonishing level of creepiness in a small package. "The Historian" has flashes of the effect, but also reminded me of -for example- "Nancy Drew's Great Vampire Adventure" as a sheltered, apparently motherless teenage girl, raised by her doting father and a dry, bloodless housekeeper (who I was sure, at first, was part of the vampire plot), eventually dashes from home in Holland to chase her missing father across Europe in the early 1960's, accompanied by a young Cambridge student.  The dad is searching for his missing mentor and perhaps, his long lost love, his wife, mother of the young girl. All are in danger of kidnap by a book collecting monster, the undead Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula. The vampire and his minions are all around: here, a librarian, there, passenger on a train. Incidentally, the father's means of support is as a privately funded foundation that enables him to function, somehow, as a sort of freelance independent diplomat in the time period of "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold", so I thought: ok, he's an agent for one side or the other. There are lots of scenic train rides through Europe, east and west, and there are time shifts and scenes that are dream like and magic. The book was damn near 700-pages long, could have used a severe edit, like so many modern books.

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