Chana's Reviews > The Historian

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
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's review
Mar 18, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, horror
Recommended to Chana by: People who like vampire lore
Read in March, 2009 , read count: 1

It is too long. More than 700 pages are taken up with touring Eastern Europe and reading historical documents and letters. It is inconsistent. Dracula has supernatural powers when it is convenient and seems inept when it suits the plot of the book. It is bloody and sad. The history of the Muslims and Christians in the 15th century is full of horrors and wars. Dracula himself in life was a figure of the greatest cruelty. The Wallachian peasants might well put garlic on their doors to keep out their feudal lord and his minions and their Turkish enemies; those were the real vampires in my opinion. Dracula as a vampiric figure struck me as silly and pathetic. Imagine having to live in darkness and drink only blood, to be "undead". Well maybe it is a fitting punishment for someone who was so evil in his life. But the legend seems like the pathetic result of the great fear inspired by this person in his life and I couldn't take the whole garlic and crucifix stuff seriously, it gave the book an almost comic aspect. Also, the author has a habit of writing shock, dismay and great surprise into most scenes. I felt like the characters were walking through the book with their hands covering their mouths and their eyes wide because everything was such a shocking surprise.
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Quotes Chana Liked

Elizabeth Kostova
“Never before had I known the sudden quiver of understanding that travels from word to brain to heart, the way a new language can move, coil, swim into life under the eyes, the almost savage leap of comprehension, the instantaneous, joyful release of meaning, the way the words shed their printed bodies in a flash of heat and light.”
Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian

Reading Progress

03/21/2009 page 194
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