Thursday, 21 July 2011

To a fate worse than death.

    I recently finished reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. There are many things that give motivation to start reading a novel. For me, it was the last lines of this introduction to the book given by Walter Dean Myres(the full intro has plot spoilers) which went like this.
"I finished reading Dracula late one wintry night. I felt satisfied that I had just finished an excellent book. Then I locked my doors very carefully, checked my windows, and buried my head beneath the covers."
    I read the introduction sometime in December of 2010 and since then I had wanted to read the book. I got one during last semester but then with all the semester work(which included reading 5 novels for a fiction course), I did not really make much progress with the book. The book too, for the most part written in shorthand, contains more information and story progress in a page than the average book. My summer intern kept me even more occupied than my semester and by the time it got over, I had to start all over again for I totally lost touch with the characters. (There you go. My excuse for the long absence.)
    Well, it was totally worth it. The book touches upon so many subjects and as with any classic I have read till date, paints the most vivid picture of the scene on the reader's mind. The awesomeness of the author is evident from the honesty and strength of the characters. The best part was how the characters reacted to various supernatural elements in the novel. And also the way he  uses various themes like cruelty, insanity, graveyard, zoophagism and well, for most part, blood-sucking, to induce the creepy, impending-doom-like-feeling in the reader.
     Dracula is the first book that I read that chose a completely different narrative. I loved LOTR for the way the book was written, and ever since, I wanted to read books that tend present the story as if it was history. This novel took it to a totally new level. The plot progresses purely though a series of journal entries, letters, notes and news reports by various characters in the novel. This, in addition to adding authenticity to the story, helps in the seamless change of the narrator with every few pages. Also, you never know how much the story was going to progress before that particular entry ended. Also, the reader can see the thought process of a character and understand what happens much before the other characters in the novel. All this adds the element of fear and whats-going-to-happen-in-the-next-page suspense, which is very much required if you are reading a novel whose ending and characters you know. This is what, according to me, makes this novel a classic. That even after 100 years of its publication and infinite texts and movies adapting the idea and the character, one can read the novel today and be absolutely thrilled by it.