By Bram Stoker
I recently re-read Dracula and I have to say, it can still make my heart race even though I know what’s going to happen on the next page.
The novel is composed of journal entries from several characters: Jonathan Harker, Lucy Westerna, Mina Murray, Dr. John Seward, Quincey Morris, Arthur Holwood, and Professor Van Helsing. Each entry brings a new voice and perspective to the story making it incredibly rich and, in many ways, even scarier because you know these individuals are expressing their true fears since the writing is done in private journals.
The story begins with Jonathan Harker, an English lawyer, on a trip to the Carpathian Mountains to conduct business for a Count Dracula. He describes his odd journey and the strange responses of the people when they learn where he is going. He also includes his description of the Count which gives the reader a clear look at Dracula.
Mina, Jonathan’s fiancée, is visiting her friend Lucy and writing happily to her Jonathan. The entries are full of happiness and hope until Lucy falls gravely ill and the mood becomes tragically sad and somewhat disturbing as Lucy’s behavior and cause is explained.
Dr. Seward, a former suitor of Lucy’s, is at a loss to help her and calls on an old friend. Professor Van Helsing arrives and sensing the problem begins a fruitless effort to save her. When Lucy succumbs, Van Helsing knows what must be done but to protect the decency of the lady and emotions of family and friends, he mentions the next step, stake through the heart and beheading, only to Seward. Seward, nursing his loss of Lucy in several ways, lashes out. Finally, when neighbors begin to report children missing, Seward agrees to help Van Helsing along with Quincey, an American in love with Lucy as well, and her forlorn fiancé Arthur who feels it is his duty to help Lucy finally rest in peace. The small band sets out to kill Lucy — again.
Mina at this time is nursing Jonathan back to health after he fell ill during his trip to Transylvania. She finds and reads his diary against his wishes, in the hope of understanding what is ailing him. She’s astounded by what she finds but is still determined to help not only Jonathan, but the now assembled group of vampire hunters, remove the scourge from the earth.
As the final battle becomes evident, the journal entries become more morose, creepy, and scary which is what makes this book so fascinating. You feel as if you’re getting a peek into the characters’ minds. You feel their terror and frustrations, and are entranced by the minutiae of their planning for the fight with what they consider to be the ultimate evil.
If you’re looking for something to read this October, the original still delivers.