Wednesday, June 06, 2007

[Book Review] THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova


Sarah Frierson reviews THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova (Little, Brown and Co., 2005)

I love historical fiction. A friend who knew about my affinity suggested that I read this book. And since he mentioned that vampires were a central theme—not a normal reading subject for me—I began this book with some trepidation. But, almost immediately, I was drawn in by Kostova's storytelling.

Using Bram Stoker's Dracula as a springboard, Kostova offers a sprawling tale filled with people and places, all of which play a part in the mystery of what became of Vlad the Impaler, the historical Dracula. The story begins in Amsterdam in 1972 with a young girl's discovery of her father's search for Dracula. Eventually, through letters, the story is actually told by three separate narrators from three different eras. The reader is carried along with each narrator to vividly described locations—including Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and France—and offered the complex histories that accompany each location along the way.

Much like The Da Vinci Code, this novel asks that the reader suspend a bit of disbelief in exchange for a thrilling ride, but Kostova's thorough research makes that very easy to do. She succeeds at creating a number of smaller mysteries to accompany the one big question—"Is Dracula real?" And those smaller mysteries are just as enticing.

Sarah Frierson, Business and Sciences Department

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Thanks for reviewing this book. I had read the first few pages and was wondering where she was going with the story.
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