Alex's Reviews > The Historian

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
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M 50x66
's review
Jun 12, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, horror
Read in January, 2007

This book will bore you to undeath.

In the hands of Bram Stoker, telling the story of Dracula through multiple narrators added to the mystery, tension, and suspense. In the hands of Kostova, you can't tell a 16-year-old girl in 1972 from her Romanian mother, her American father, or his English mentor writing twenty to forty years prior. They all sound the same, and they all sound like travel writers who have no ear for dialogue, and no sense of pacing or suspenseful storytelling. That this book takes almost 700 pages to tell an utterly unconvincing, uncompelling story is scarier than anything between the covers.

In the more interesting vampire stories, the vampire is usually driven by something more compelling than the need for a good librarian(!)(?). I won't spoil the dramatic climax to the book since there is none. If you're able to read that scene without staring at the pages in disbelief (and not in a good way, I might add), then all I can say is, Wow, really?

Don't ask me why I read the whole thing. I think I was just curious to know why the publisher would pony up a multimillion-dollar advance to a first-time author. While I'm no closer to understanding why, at least I didn't suffer any permanent damage (at least not physical). The psychological scars and wasted time (hours of my life gone) will take longer to heal. But you don't have to end up like me. If you find a copy of this book lying in a study carrel, just leave it there.

You've been warned.

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