Laura Morrigan's Reviews > Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories

Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories by Bram Stoker
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's review
May 09, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: gothic-and-horror, 2012, europe, england, paranormal-supernatural, myths-fairytales-retellings, short-stories
Read from May 09 to June 12, 2012

I would definitely recommend getting a lightly annotated or footnoted edition of this book, such as this one. Stoker makes reference to many interesting scientific and historical facts and studies such as mesmerism, the Hellgate explosion, the Philosopher's Stone, genus and species, Voodoo, etc. and it is good to have an explanation and reference for those you may not be familiar with.

The book consists of a series of (mostly) Gothic short stories and the novella, The Lair of the White Worm.

The short stories are sometimes amusing, sometimes dark. The Burial of the Rats struck me as especially scary, and I would not recommend The Squaw for animal lovers although I liked the premise very much. I loved Crooken Sands which mocks the foolishness of tourists. And of course, Stoker's American characters, like in Dracula and in this case, The Squaw, will never cease to amuse me with the rugged and good natured characteristics with which Stoker imbues them.

The Lair of The White Worm was apparently the last story Stoker wrote and written after a stroke. While it contains inconsistencies, it is an impressive work for a dying man. I was continually impressed by his knowledge and love of scientific fact, although all that fact was probably not needed for the story. The main issues were that there were a lot of in depth conversations, which really slowed down the plot, and that every time something horrible happened, everyone just seemed to forget about it immediately and act as if nothing had happened the next time they met the villains. (view spoiler) However, I think it would be nice, and amusing to put that down to a sense of humour on Stoker's part and a mockery of English reservation and manners. (view spoiler)

Also I should note that the descriptions of the black servant Oolanga get more and more horrible and racist. I know that it was the time in which it was written, etc. etc. and normally I am able to skim over descriptions like this but seriously, it just gets worse and worse. He seems to get stupider and more ugly as the story goes on.

I will admit The Lair of the White Worm is a little difficult to get through, I love classics, and I had trouble with it, but it is still a good story, and worth reading, although I would not recommend it as a starting story to someone unfamiliar with the language and writing style of that era. I do not mean to in any way detract from this novel, but I believe had Stoker had time to revise it, it would probably have been perfect in every way, like Dracula.

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Quotes Laura Liked

Bram Stoker
“She told me that she did not like the idea of your being in that house all by yourself, and that she thought you took too much strong tea. In fact she wants me to advise you if possible to give up the tea and the very late hours.”
Bram Stoker, Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories

Reading Progress

05/09/2012 page 64
19.0% "As a huge fan of Algernon Blackwood, I find it difficult not to compare these unfavourably, but they really are excellent examples of the classic Gothic short stories. Be warned, The Squaw is probably not suitable for lovers of animals."
05/09/2012 page 98
29.0% "I'm loving the settings of the stories, most of which were places Stoker visited. He describes them lovingly, and makes me want to go there."
05/11/2012 page 129
38.0% "I love Stoker's overblown Yankee characters, the bit about tea being too strong, the study of the ragpickers! He brings something interesting to each story!"
05/13/2012 page 155
46.0% "Stoker really knows how to mix humour with spookiness. I loved his gentle mockery of Englishmen who try to affect Scottish dress."
05/14/2012 page 168
50.0% "I can't wait to tell my brother his dark curly hair means that he is evil according to phrenology and Stoker."
05/18/2012 page 220
65.0% "The story can be a little confusing sometimes. Man with evil mesmeric powers and no one thinks to stop asking him to tea? and the cousin has powers too and drives him away and no one bats and eyelid or asks her how? I suppose it'll be explained."
06/03/2012 page 254
76.0% "Apparently this was Stoker's last book, written after a stroke, and I'm impressed. There are a few tiny problems, and a few things that could be tightened up, but you try to write a book when you're dying! amazing man! (I'm not a fan of the racism of course, but you can't judge attitudes by today's ones.)"
06/04/2012 page 290
86.0% ""the want of principle of a suffragette" harsh!"
06/04/2012 page 290
86.0% "and also "she has the reserved strength and impregnability of a diplodocus""
06/04/2012 page 290
86.0% ""but being of the feminine species, probably will over-reach herself.""
06/12/2012 page 326
97.0% "I'm impressed by how much scientific fact Stoker fits into his story, even if he has to shoehorn in it a little sometimes."
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