Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
At just 103 pages, this isn't an awful novella. If you're interested in the vampire vein of storytelling (see what I did there), you'll enjoy this one. The thing I found most interesting is that it reminded me of Shakespeare''s writing. Okay, now you're wondering how I made that leap, aren't you? Well, in this tale, the two main characters, Carmilla and Laura have a very intense, um, friendship. Much like in Shakespeare's stories, same sex intensity doesn't seem to phase anyone. The dialogue is intimate and melodramatic, and there seems to be a lot more physical sensuality than one might expect for a book written in this period; 1872.
The other thing that struck me is that none of the characters seemed overly shocked by the news of a vampire in their midst. No doubting Thomas' and no questions of the scientific minds that make the suggestion that this might, indeed, be the logical conclusion to the mystery. I don't know about you, but "logic" and "vampire" (unless its "vampire bat") aren't usually heard in the same conversation among friends who are medical professionals. Authors, perhaps; but usually not physicians. The fact that nobody questions this as an option, except for a rival physician who is trying to protect his own reputation, strikes me as odd.
All in all, it's an entertaining story, mostly because this time, the vampire is a woman - not usually something you see in Gothic tales written from this time period. I suppose feminism is older than we thought. Would I recommend it? Sure, if you need something to tie up a few free hours. But it wasn't really something I'd rave about. It was just okay. I'm sure it would be a good foundation or as research material if you're interested in writing a vampire story.
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