Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Book bloggin': The Historian

Elizabeth Kostova took ten years to write her blockbuster debut, The Historian, and I have to say, not a moment of that decade was wasted.

The Historian is a classic novel in the tradition of Dickens, Melville, or Conrad (none of which rank among my favorite authors). It's a book you can happily sink into for days. Seeing its 642-page length, I figured it would take me the full three weeks of my library borrowing time to finish it, but I polished it off in less than a week (actually four days, because on two days I was too busy to read at all). I read it twice as quickly as "fast-paced" novels half its length.

Looking back, I'm not sure what was so captivating about it. It's basically a mystery in which several characters trace the origins and current whereabouts of Dracula by sifting through old books and archives. Woo, sounds action-packed, doesn't it? But I was mesmerized by their search, which resulted in a substantial body count--every time someone got close to the truth, they or someone close to them ended up dead. I noticed my eyes widening and jaw dropping as I turned the pages, like a little kid reading her first ghost story.

Judging by the reviews, it's not for everyone. It was definitely a change of pace for me, which may have been why I enjoyed it so much; my brain was starving for some real sustenance. Though it's not "literary" in the contemporary sense of having an experimental style or characters who feel no emotion whatsoever, it is very well written in the classic sense of telling a great story while providing lush description and background. If you love history or historical fiction, you'll eat this up.

The only problem is, now I have an unquenchable desire to visit Eastern Europe. Oh well. It's probably one place where the dollar still goes far.


I'm reading this OTHER book that is tearing me away from my housework, my sleep, and my own writing. (Well, not really my own writing.) And since the ending isn't too far off, I think I will have to write this author and yell at her for not having all 3 in the series completed.


Someday, someone, somewhere will return the compliment.

I hope.


Posted by: Blogger moonhart at 8/30/2005 10:33 AM

Sorry about the sleep and the writing. Not sorry about the housework. Hee.

And I'm sure someday someone will return the compliment. Maybe tenfold.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 8/30/2005 11:25 AM

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