Dracula by Bram Stoker

First published, 1897

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Well, I’m a bit of a horror nut, so I’ve seen countless adaptations of Dracula over the years and was pretty familiar with the story before I started reading. That said, I’m going to be forty next year and I’ve made it my mission (note: not New Year’s Resolution because (a) it’s November, and (b) I don’t believe in them) to read a whole load of classics over the next few years so as to ensure if anyone makes an oblique reference or an obscure quote before I’m fifty, I’ll recognise the sucker.

Hence, Dracula. Written in the form of notes, journals and diaries, the story follows Jonathan Harker – an English estate agent, finalising the sale of a house to a reclusive Transylvanian Count. Up in the Carpathian Mountains, young Harker finds himself ensconced and then trapped with the sharp-toothed, gaunt and lanky Count and his harem of undead lovelies, hoping and praying to return to his beloved Mina, unadulterated and in one piece.

But as fate and real estate would have it, the Count is bound for an England unaccustomed to his bloody, somewhat carnal desires (I’ll remind readers that this was published in 1897 and the world has altered rather), and only Harker, his intended, the other men who wanted to marry her, and a Dutch doctor, Van Helsing, have any hope of stopping the monster.

A rip-roaring tale, highly gothic and suspenseful despite the multitudinous film and TV adaptations on the box at this time of year. I did struggle a fair bit with the phonetic-writing in parts of the book. Some of the minor characters speak with various broad accents which are written as said. Although an aid to local flavour, this, coupled with Dr. Van Helsing’s rather broken English left me occasionally bewildered.

That said, it’s a classic and everyone should read it.