First Lines: Dracula

Given the fact that I’m supposedly this big vampire aficionado—which, coincidentally, I’m actually not—not having read Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic vampire story Dracula was a glaring sin of omission that needed attention. But that’s what my List of 40 Books to Read Before My 40th Birthday is for.

Oh, sure, I’ve seen the movie. Once. Many moons ago. But apart from the beginning—the part where a young mr. Reeves overacts his way to the realization that the Transylvanian aristocrat he’s setting up a business transaction for is actually a vampire—it’s all a blur. I got the gist of the story, but the only thing that really stuck with me was the image of Dracula licking the blood of a razor blade. On the other hand, I’ve seen the story adapted as a ballet. Which was weird. Pretty awesome, but weird.

But let’s be honest: you don’t really have to read Dracula to know all about the Count. He requires no introduction. Nearly every vampire you encounter in popular culture is based on Stoker’s ur-vampire. You know the type: the upper-class bloodsucker with a distaste for sunlight, crosses and garlic. I’ve long since come to realize I like my vampires better with a twist.

That being said, I thought that Dracula, the novel, was a hoot. Not recalling much of the later half of the movie, the whole episode of Dracula coming to London and his eventual destruction—as if you needed a spoiler warning for that—was unfamiliar territory for me. Given its age, I can’t really fault its glacier-like page, its depiction of women or the overly flowery dialogues, but what I wouldn’t give for Van Helsing’s throat being ripped out for his horrible English … But then again, many a modern-day Dutch politician wouldn’t fare much better.

Book Read
Bram Stoker — Dracula
First Line
3 May. Bistritz. — Left Munich at 8.35 p.m. on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6.46, but train was an hour late.