Monday, January 11, 2010

Cannonball Read Entry #12: Dracula - Bram Stoker

I regard classic literature the same way I regard women: Sure, I can appreciate their beauty and understand why people like them, but ultimately, I just don't really swing that way. It's not that I don't like the classics; Really, I do, they're just peachy keen. They're the bee's knees, the cat's pajamas, the gerbil's sensible high-heel shoes...But they just don't really DO anything for me.

Despite this, I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy Dracula. The original vampire. Edward Cullen and Bill Compton couldn't even suck his dick. Even Buffy Summers herself, the motherfucking chosen one, would have to give her respects to the guy.

The plot takes place a long fucking time ago (because of fucking course it does) in Europe where Jonathan Harker is called to Dracula's castle for some estate business. He quickly realizes that something is severely fucked in that bitch, what with Dracula's propensity for climbing along the castle walls upside down, his three necromantic concubines and the fact that he's been taken prisoner.

Dontcha hate when that happens?

The story progresses from there as we trace the rise and fall of Dracula through interconnected diary entries, newspaper articles, letters, hasty scriblings, stickfigure drawings (Okay, maybe not stickfigure drawings), et cetera. A true test of an authour's writing ability is how accessible their prose remains over time, and considering the story is well over 100 years old, I'm honestly surprised at how well it translated into modern times.

That being said, the problem with most classics is that they've become so engrained in the public's psyche that you can pretty much see every plot twist from space. Think about it: How much better would The Sixth Sense have been if you didn't know Bruce Willis was a ghost? Exactly. The result is that nothing really seems all that surprising, and you realize just how thick Stoker laid on the foreshadowing; Listening to Harker talking about going to Dracula's castle and dinner is akin to listening to someone talk about going over to Hitler's for a delightful brunch.

While I may not be in love with Dracula, I still loved it. It's an incredibly well-written book, it has a surprising bit of dry wit added in here and there, and if you can move past its all-too-familiar plot, it's still a pretty gripping novel for one that was written before your grandparents were even born.


James said...

OK, I'm going to be a big assed nerd and come defend classic lit. Sure they can be tough going, but few things match the howl of Frankenstein (forget the movie unless you mean the one with Gene Wilder), or the crazy search for comfort and booty by Madame Bovary.

I'm done with my geek speech. For now. LOL

Anonymous said...

The opening sentence to this post is quite possibly one of the best i've read in a long while.