strokestrokestrokestroke
 
Leaving Jonathon behind, Mina Murray’s concerned letters to her friend Lucy Westenra, transport us away from one terror and into another on the shores of England, and more specifically, Whitby.
 
This is also when women, who are the victims unsurprisingly – even the earlier, more deadly ones – become involved in a very significant way. They, with their dainty unprotected necks, are the creatures preyed upon by the Count.
 
From the business of purchasing land, to the high seas and one of the most brilliant dockings of a doomed vessel you will ever have created in your mind. The foreign tyrant has arrived, landing in England to wreak his bloodthirsty brand of eternal havoc.
 
From here on in Stoker unveils a frantic world of  good versus evil versus religion versus science        and technology.  
 
We are introduced to Dr Seward, along with his diary about one of his psychiatric patients in particular, as well as his mentor Abraham Van Helsing, a man of wisdom, courage and a very modern business about his international travel.
 
Unexpected positive returns are greeted by tragic twists and turns as we move from Whitby, to London and beyond.
 
Dracula is the ultimate chase through fog, mystery and death in the name of hope and the final delivery from the unknown, the ungodly and, most of all, the undead.
 
 
 
 
 
May we all go to hell and back.
 
Stoker’s novel, published in May 1897, is a narcoleptic nightmare so lively with peril and dread that it has not lost an ounce of its potency when it punctures our imaginations today.
 
From the very first line Stoker takes us on a frantic journey, from Munich to Vienna to Klausenburgh, as the first pair of eyes we peer through are those of a naïve Englishman called Jonathon Harker.
 
Travelling on a matter of business, the newly-qualified solicitor is a visitor to the strange land of Transylvania, on a mission to explain and handle the purchase of a London estate.
 
As the pages of Dracula turn, it becomes a raw collection of journals and letters, all in chronological order, from different individuals describing how their lives have been brutally touched by the Count.  
 
This method of delivery entrances the reader in the plot’s thick tension as characters that we are already aware of, like Van Helsing, are brought to life in their original surroundings, in a wholly more believable and brilliant way.
 
We are the silent witness to Jonathon, his fiancée Mina Murray, and Lucy Westenra’s very personal and yet very shared horror.
 
Setting the scene at Castle Dracula, the way in which Stoker depicts the Count’s homeland is beautifully ancient and enthralling. It is an adventure entwined by wolves and local superstitions, cold vice-like handshakes and bolted doors.
 
In Dracula’s world we are utterly curious and completely powerless. Stoker, who was by no means a prolific writer, is simply a master of layering on suspense.
 
Reading a revelation from Harker, as he describes what he has witnessed from his bedchamber’s window, I was chilled to the very core; such is the strength of the storytelling.
 
 
 
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Bram Stoker
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Reviewed by Andrew Donaghy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Vhcle Books, Issue 15
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Andrew Donaghy is a Copywriter in the North of England. Freelance features writer and former Essays Editor for Under The Influence, he continues to scribble away in half-filled notebooks.
 
Read other articles/reviews by Andrew
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