The tale of Dr. Frankenstein and the horrendous monster he unleashes on the world when he tinkers with the laws of nature had almost as strange a birth as the monster itself. It was the product of one of the most famous ghost story telling sessions in history. Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and several others were stranded on the shores of Lake Geneva during a particularly sodden summer. They challenged each other to come up with the most ghastly and soul-rending story their sizable literary talents could muster, and the hands-down winner came from Shelley's wife - Mary Shelley.
The novel that emerged several years later has been recognised as one of the most chilling and gruesome horror stories ever written, and it is certainly one of the most famous. It's a moving account of a battle for independence, it's a warning against man's pride in his ability to change the world with his blind pursuit of science, it's a story of revolt and revenge and, most intriguingly, it was one of the first novels to be written where the narrator is not necessarily a reliable witness, and we are left to carve the truth of the matter out for ourselves.
This is an alarming book - in several very enjoyable ways.
Author Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (1797-1851) was a novelist, dramatist, essayist, biographer and travel writer. She is, however, best known for her Gothic horror novel Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus, published 1818. She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Public Domain (P)2008 Silksoundbooks Limited
I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I picked up this story. It was clearly written in a different time and for a different audience.
First off, Derek Jacobi does an impressive job trying to bring life to a very old story written in flowery and overly elaborate language. He holds Frankenstein's German accent excellently for most of the book, and doesn't miss a step when he switches over to other voices.
The story itself actually startled me, in that it had virtually nothing in common with the old 1930's movie. The moral was more or less the same, warning of the dangers of working with science that we do not understand. The structure to the story reminded me a lot of Lord Jim, being told as a story within a story within a story, though it had less of the startling moving through levels of story telling that Joseph Conrad hit you with.
The language was frustrating at times, not because of its complexity, but because of its repetition. When a character started waxing dramatic, they would make the same declaration over and over again, to the point that I found myself wishing for the Boris Karloff monster, who could only grunt and growl. I think it was pretty clear that the author was married to a poet and thus had a high exposure to elaborate writing.
Probably the most interesting thing about this particular book is the relationship between Frankenstein and the Monster. You can see reflections of one in the other, creating a bizarre newton's cradle effect, where the actions of one amplify the problems of the other.
Basically, if you're looking for a story about technology run amok, you're going to be badly disappointed. If you're looking for a cautionary tale about science by delving into the mind of a mad scientist written in very formal and archaic prose, this is a book for you.
The prose, the excellent story telling, and the simplicity of the story - It is more powerful considering what is left out, rather than included - for example, no messy laboratory scenes, or questionable science, and no religious pontificating.
The monster of course. He is the personification of Loneliness. All his actions stem from the inability to interact with another being. Not 'evil', not the absence of a soul, just loneliness.
Excellent! just perfect in every way.
Obviously, many have tried, but the book is un-filmable as it stands.
An enjoyable read- and the perfect audio-book as all is related in epistolary form.
"Jacobi relishes the language - Superbly read."
Beautifully written and very poignant tale. Derek Jacobi's interpretation of the language was utterly captivating.
Quality of his interpretation of the language - he relished the words and really brought the quality of the language alive. Listening to him,I think I got far more than if I had read it myself.
No, but I could have it was so brilliant.
Superb. A wonderful tale and beautifully read.
"Epic performance!! Masterpiece! "
Derek Jacobi narration has no equal. His passionate, heartfelt interpretation dint fail single time to send shivers down my spine! I wish there were more title narrated by this excellent actor.
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