I've had this book on my to-read list for years, but I kept putting it off because it's described as a horror novel. Horror books and movies give me freaky dreams, so I usually stay away from them. But this book isn't scary at all. (At least it wasn't for me, and I'm a big sissy.)
This was Bram Stoker's second novel, published in 1897. For a second novel he really showed that he knew what he was doing. The characters all have unique and well developed personalities. His descriptions of the settings are perfect and not as flowery as some would have done during that time period. The epistolary format adds to the believability of an otherwise preposterous situation. And I enjoyed the inclusion of popular psychology and medical practices of the Victorian Era. You can really see how far we've come in 120+ years. The only thing about this novel that I disliked was his description of women. They were swooning, helpless messes that would be lost without men by their sides. But, at the same time, Mina is one of the strongest and smartest characters. Without her this book, and the men in it, would have been lost. It just irritated me when she would push aside her own feelings and desires because her husband, or some other man, told her it would be for the best, and of course men know better than women. Ugh. So, I kept reminding myself that it was the accepted ideas of the time, and then tried to let it go.
Also, the narrators were fantastic! They brought the characters to life. I agree with other reviewers , the whole cast should have been listed during the end credits.
Last year I began the Vampire Chronicles after reading Christopher Moore’s vampire series. In the Christopher Moore books, which are comedy, at one point the boyfriend of a novice vampire struggles to help her by collecting all the vampire fiction he could find. His comical references to the differences are funny and made me curious. Having completed 4 Anne Rice novels, I thought I’d go back to where it all began and read the classic.
The style is, of course, a bit funny since it is stiff, proper and full of words that are less used today. Never the less, the style of narrative via letters, diary entries and notes is clever and gives the reader the feeling of having stumbled across a secret archive. While there isn’t the blood and gore of some modern horror tales, Stoker creates real ambiance in his lavish descriptions and subtle details. This was a clever writing style and quite enjoyable. Now I know why this caught on and has become so iconic. Like so many classics, characters and phrases have entered the lexicon to the extent that I recognized much of this book. Well written, well read - I highly recommend.
Final Note: I had thought Carfax was a service that faxed reports of cars. In our modern age it seemed quaint that this business would make itself seem older by referencing 80s technology. However, Carfax is the name of Dracula’s estate in England! Could it be that the nice car history report people are actually blood sucker?
I enjoyed the way the story was constructed. I haven't read another novel that was written in the form of journal, diary, and memos, but I can say this added a really interesting element to the story telling.
I haven't read anything similar that I might compare it too, although I might try now.
Their voices and accents make this listen really fun. I liked each narrator's take on Van Helsing.
Van Helsing for sure. I'm sure he would pay.
Another must listen!
This is a must listen! I grew up reading this story, viewing Hollywood's interpretation, and now, taking a chance, purchased the audible copy. Wow! What an amazing production. Honestly, at 2:00 a.m., listening to the narrative, with all the lights out--I felt terror--the shear terror of this timeless story.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
I've listened to several different versions of Dracula and while I don't typically enjoy ensemble audiobooks, this Cummings/Curry version seems to be the way Dracula was meant to be enjoyed.
Listened to this w/ the kids on the way to school for a month. I could probably write a whole piece on how Stoker's treatment of women ticked off my 10-year-old daughter. Mina Harker and Lucy's wedding fixation and Victorian helplessness drove my own little Emmeline nuts. My daughter also couldn't stand the whole: Mina was as 'smart as a man' attitude.
Otherwise, Dracula is still a fascinating piece of gothic fiction that captures the anxieties and stresses of a proto-modernist age (sex, feminism, technology, scientific method, xenophobia, colonialism, etc).
The idea of having multiple narrators for this book is a good one: like the novels of Wilkie Collins, it seems made for that. And while most of the readers here are first-rate, I was disappointed in Alan Cumming's performance. To me (apparently in contrast to most of the other listeners), it seemed bland, hurried, almost phoned-in. This is particularly a problem because the journal of his character, John Seward, takes up much if not the majority of the novel. Cumming is an outstanding actor, but here (for me), he misses the mark. I much prefer the single-narrator versions of Simon Vance and John Lee, both of whom appear here as well.
I listened to Dracula and liked it so much, I began listening to it a second time immediately. The performers were excellent, and I enjoyed the vocal inflections that added life to the story.
What I found to be one of the most poignant and pivotal moments in Dracula was when Van Helsing explains to Mina Harker that the hunt for the vampire must go on because, being immortal, if Dracula chose to go to ground, Mina would die outside the grace of God - that the destruction of Dracula was imperative for the salvation of Mina's soul. Van Helsing's character is so mentally and physically robust, that his tender consideration for her immortal soul showed an incredibly kind and gentle side that was not typical for him in the normal course of things.
The vocal inflections are varied and incredibly well done. Bram Stoker's Dracula is written in the style of its time, which is to say it's a bit dry. The narrators managed to bring the era with its social customs and somewhat awkward phrasing to life, and breathed life into what could be, to our modern eyes, a little tedious.
My reaction to Dracula was one of interest and thoughtfulness. Vampires have been glamorized and romanticized so much, in print and in movies, that it was actually refreshing for there to *not* be a romantic element in it. Bram Stoker's Dracula is an extremely intelligent, methodical, and ruthless monster - but "monster" is the operative word here.
I'd recommend this Audible version of Bram Stoker's Dracula to anyone - especially anyone wanting to understand where the Dracula story was brought into its literary existence. I'm sure I'll enjoy watching all the different renditions of the Dracula legend in movie form now that I know how the 'real' story ends.
Yes, I suppose I would recommend it, if only because it is a "classic" and, by and large, the performances are exemplary.
Two caveats, however:
1) I had forgotten just how tedious and repetitive much of the storyline is. Maybe it's simply an unavoidable fault/limitation of the epistolary format but Stoker has his characters making the same points over and over and over again throughout the story, reiterating plot and character points that have already been sufficiently made. There are only a certain number of times we need to be told about (and have demonstrated) Dracula's abilities before it starts to feel like padding. Likewise with much of the later plot, which is really drawn out well past the point of necessity or suspense and then ends with a truly startling abruptness. I was more enthralled by, and more forgiving of, all this when I originally read it as a child.
2) Tim Curry, though normally a fabulous performer, is really off in his portrayal of Van Helsing. He seems narcotized much of the time, with readings that are so languid and careful and sssllllooooooowwww, that I found it maddening to listen. There is no urgency to his portrayal, even during later passages of (supposedly) tense action and suspense. He reads much as you would expect if he were performing for a class of especially dense elementary school children. Thankfully, Van Helsing doesn't have many of his own passages in the book and the other actors portray him (second-hand) with far greater skill and interest.
Sure. DRACULA is still a good story even if a bit drawn-out by modern standards. I've always intended to read/listen to his other horror tales.
Alan Cumming's portrayal of Dr. Seward is fantastic. He was perfect for the part and really brought it to life. I will definitely be seeking out other audiobooks narrated by him.
Uh... note sure. Stoker never wrote a sequel but there have been hundreds of such pastiches over the last century or so. Most of the good ones (see Kim Newman's ANNO DRACULA series) seem already to be available on audiobook.
Overall this was quite enjoyable. With the exception of Tim Curry, all the other readers do splendid work. If the story and writing itself are not as good as my memory had misled me to believe, it was still an enjoyable listen.
Yes, and over and over. I love this story, and I don't know if I'll ever read it again if I have the option to listen to this reading.
World War Z. They are both epistolary, and have different voices for the different characters. Both are done very well, and talk about a war between the living and the dead.
They were astounding! Each reader really captured their character, and had a large degree of variation in how they read the parts (in a good way, I'm not sure if that conveys what I'm trying to say accurately). This is probably my favorite listening experience so far.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
How wonderful to discover a classic you think you know by heart and be surprised and enchanted by the telling of it. Dracula has become such a common character over the years, with countless movies made featuring famous actors such as Béla Lugosi (1931) and Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins and Keanu Reeves (1992), not to mention all the books based on the title character and vampires in general, and Dracula's ubiquitous little avatars running around, fangs bared every Halloween night for well over one hundred years.
I had always assumed that the story was told from the point of view of Jonathan Harker, the young solicitor who travels to Transilvania at the beginning of the story to meet a client whom he is far from suspecting of being undead, until clear evidence to the contrary plunges him into despair and madness. While we are indeed privy to Harker's journal notes detailing his adventure from day to day, we also get to snoop into his soon-to-be wife Mina Murray's journal, and then that of John Seward as well—a young doctor who is running a madhouse and has a patient under observation who is overly fond of flies and spiders. Adding to my enjoyment was the knowledge supplied to me by a well-informed reader of classics, that the technology mentioned in the course of the story was considered cutting-edge at the time the novel was published.
But perhaps the greatest treat was listening to this latest audio production of this classic, told by multiple narrators, with top billing given to the excellent Alan Cumming as Seward and Tim Curry as his mentor, the dutch professor Van Helsing. Of course, one can't exactly expect any great surprises as we all know what the final outcome is, but all the same, it's a good story very well told.