Suzie's Reviews > Carmilla

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
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's review
Nov 22, 2008

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bookshelves: horror
Recommended for: lovers of vampire fiction and 19th century lit
Read in November, 2008 , read count: 1

I actually read this on Wikisource, since it has long been in the public domain, but for simplicity's sake I just selected the paperback edition.

From a modern perspective, with centuries of lore and creative endeavors on the subject behind us, the narrator of Carmilla seems a little... slow. But even knowing what to expect, Le Fanu's story manages to stay surprisingly suspenseful. (One always knows, when beginning a vampire story, that someone will die in the ensuing pages. The question is, who? And how many of them? And when?) The long, comma laden sentences don't detract very much from the action. While the progression of the plot is entirely predictable, thanks to the fiction traditions for which Le Fanu is partly responsible, it's an interesting look at the earlier stages of popular, written vampire fiction, complete with the homoerotic overtones so often found (and gleefully overanalyzed by critics) in subsequent tales. I admit, I'm slightly embarrassed it took me so long to get around to reading this one. But then, the internet wasn't around when I started reading vampire stories.

In short, it's dated but fun, and there's some power yet in the writing. Worth a look.
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Cary I had to read this story in Catholic Prep school. To me it is the finest Vampire story ever written. Twenty years before Dracula in the same town of Dublin,Ireland. There is a reason why books like this are still in print and public domain.

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