Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Never before had I known the sudden quiver of understanding that travels from word to brain to heart, the way a new language can move, coil, swim into life under the eyes, the almost savage leap of comprehension, the instantaneous, joyful release of meaning, the way the words shed their printed bodies in a flash of heat and light.
The Historian strives to marry the myth of the vampire Dracula with the life of historical figure Vlad the Impaler. The actions kicks off when the narrator, a teenage girl in the 1970's, finds a strange old book in her father's library--a book with blank pages and a woodcut dragon in the center. Everything that has been mysterious and incomplete in her life stems from this book--including the loss of her mother.

In geekish glee I found myself wading through this narrative of research, eager and amazed at the lengths academics--three generations of them in this story--will go to in order to seek complete answers to their questions. Where did this book come from? Who printed it? Where is the real tomb of Dracula? And is he actually in it?

Kostova does a wonderful job blurring the lines of real research with imaginary research. Highly recommended.


bermudaonion said...

I'm so glad you loved this! I got to meet Elizabeth Kostova and she is fabulous so I'm dying to read this.

Anonymous said...

It's such a wonderful novel, rich in detail and beautifully written. I'm so glad you liked it! I read it a little over a year ago (I think) and the story sticks with me. Simply wonderul!

Zibilee said...

I didn't totally love this one. I think that the language and writing style were beautiful, but the actual story fell a little flat for me. I am glad you enjoyed it though, and I really liked the quotes you provided.

SuziQoregon said...

This is on my shelf. I really hope to get to it soon. It just sounds like something I'll love. Thanks for making me want to read it sooner rather than letting it sit.