Pure brilliance. This is definitely a must read book.
I ordered this book on a whim from a book club. The blurb sounded intriguing, but when I got the...morePure brilliance. This is definitely a must read book.
I ordered this book on a whim from a book club. The blurb sounded intriguing, but when I got the book and realised the author was a Jewish scholar, I put it away on the bookshelf, reluctant to pick it up. As an atheist, I was not keen on reading a book that I figured, given what I assumed about the author, would be deeply religious and more of a bible-thumper than I would ever be in for. But, I decided to pick it up...
And thank goodness I did! That'll teach me to judge an author in such a superficial way.
This book is the story of a little known biblical character, Dinah, the daughter of the infamous Jacob. We are transported to the Middle East to follow Dinah on her life's journey from child into adulthood. We follow Dinah through family turmoil, her mothers' (remember Jacob had a lot of wives) struggles to keep their goddess worship alive while patriarchal religion had taken its hold on society.
We are with Dinah as she transitions from childhood into womanhood, as she fights to find her place in the world and with her family, and as she tries desperately to find her own way to happiness. It is a heartbreaking journey leading alternately to joy and sorrow. It left me with a deep admiration for the character of Dinah and left an emotional impression that will never fade.(less)
**spoiler alert** I am putting spoilers in my review because I do not think that anyone should bother to read this bloated and unsatisfying book.
My fi...more**spoiler alert** I am putting spoilers in my review because I do not think that anyone should bother to read this bloated and unsatisfying book.
My first issue, it is long. Way too long. Description after description after description with very little action makes this 909 page book a snoozer. Cut it down to 250 pages and I wouldn't have been quite so outraged when I found out Dracula's "evil" purpose in his un-life.
My next complaint are passages like "He was taller than I, with thick brown hair and the confident posture of a man who loves his own virility - he would have been magnificent on horseback, riding across the plains with herds of sheep, I thought." And what undersexed fan of romance novels gave this description. Paul, yes a man, upon meeting a professor at a cocktail party that was to kick of a conference of historians in Budapest. Where there was no previous mention of riding horses through fields of sheep. To say this comment came out of left field would be an understatement. It stood out, not because it revealed a crucial part of the story, but by revealing by its inclusion that the author must surely be on reality altering drugs. But the reality is, that if she had been on such drugs, the story probably would have been much more interesting.
And here it is, after page 800, the big reveal. We find out that the man we've been searching for throughout the whole novel, has been kidnapped by Dracula, to ... wait for it ... catalogue his library! Yes, that's right, this Price of Darkness turns out to be an avid book collector. He's been looking for just the right scholar to properly catalogue his library of rare and unique books and scrolls. In fact, after Dracula tells Rossi that he wants him to catalogue his library (I just can't get over it, is this an SNL skit?) he tells Rossi that there's a perk, Rossi can feel free to read anything in the library. Go ahead, enjoy! And then Dracula selects a volume, sits down in front of the fire and reads. Oooh, scary. And on page 818 Rossi says, "Dracula seemed deeply engrossed in his book." This one line should tell you that this author ain't no Stephen King. Or Clive Barker. Or even Anne Rice (at least her original Vampire Chronicles days, before she found Jesus).
But even still, I was holding out hope of having the rest of the mysteries revealed to me, like what is the significance of Helen's family being descended from Dracula?, why does one daughter in each generation get a dragon tattoo on her shoulder?, what does this mean for the "main" character, why do we never learn her name?, what is the significance of the dragon woodcut in all the books?, is it really a map?, how did Dracula get his head back? These are some very important questions, things that figured significantly in the story telling. And non of them were answered! So why did the author bother to mention these themes at all? Who knows. She clearly forgot about them when she got all excited about revealing Dracula to be the most evil of all librarians.
I would do a disservice not to mention that Dracula's library seems to be filled with books of evil and he seems to be looking to perfect evil somehow by hiding all these evil documents away from the world where they may create more evil. Ya, I don't get it either. And it's taken him 500 years to get to the point he's at which seems rather pathetic and I can only think it's a darn good thing he's immortal because at the rate he's going he'll need eternity to accomplish... um... I'm really not sure what it is he's trying to accomplish.
I guess she needed to make the book 910 pages. On second thought, 0 pages would have been better. And to think, she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress. I guess the novel was judged before the part about Dracula being a book lover was revealed and those that gave the award didn't realize that nothing else would be revealed.
I was going to make some comment about this being the Da Vinci Code (based solely on the movie) with Dracula instead of Jesus, but I'm not going to. At least the Da Vinci Code, as bad as I thought the movie was, fully explored the idea of a blood line and wrapped up the large mysteries that were introduced in the story.
The true evil of this book is that fact that trees were massacred to print it. No tree should ever have to die in such a senseless way.
I will be watching out for this author in the future, to make sure I never read another one of her books.(less)