Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2005
A dense, multi-layered version of the Dracula story written for the Twenty-First century. A story within a story that follows a young women as she searches for her father and discovers her family history.
You already know, my father said, that before you were born I was a professor at an American university. Before that I studied for many years to become a professor. At first I thought I would study literature. Then, however, I realized I loved true stories even better than imaginary ones. All the literary stories I read led me to some kind of –exploration–of history. So I finally gave myself up to it. And I’m very pleased that history interests you, too.
The young women (we never learn her name) discovers a strange book in her father’s library. It contains only one image, a rampant dragon, and, buried in the image. a name. After asking her father about this book he begins to tell her it’s history, where he found it and where it lead him. When her father disappears, leaving her a cryptic note and a packet of letter,s we are drawn with her into this strange tale.
This was my second attempt at reading The Historian and I really wanted to love it. So many bloggers I admire do. But, like my first attempt, I found myself struggling with it about two-thirds of the way through. Kostova has certainly put lots of effort into this book and I enjoyed her writing when it touches on European history, the cities along the journey and the countryside. I found the story disjointed, wanted more of some things and less of others. The scary parts never really grabbed me and I found the ending very unsatisfying. Maybe I’m jaded. My favorite vampire stories are Dracula and Interview with a Vampire, and nothing else I’ve read has come close.
From what I’ve observed people either love The Historian or hated it. You should certainly give it a try. I just think it needed a better editor.