As part of my continued campaign to revisit classics, I chose to dip into this perennial Gothic favourite by giving the Audible edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula a spin. Then again, who can go wrong with this wonderful cast, including Alan Cummings, Tim Curry, and the late veteran audiobook reader Katy Kellgren, among others.
I think it's safe to say that most of us have seen the movies and series inspired by Stoker's work, but so far few of them have been able to capture the depth and breadth of the source material. I first read Dracula in high school, and I admit freely that many of the subtler undercurrents went way over my head. Also, having just gone through Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and with the work fresh in my mind, I can compare these two classics within the Gothic genre better. Each is quite a different beast, and while there is, in my opinion, more emotional and philosophical weight to Shelley's writing, there is, nonetheless, an astonishing attention to detail in Stoker's work.
Perhaps what makes this edition all the more special is the way that it cleaves to its epistolary nature by employing different readers to take on the letters and diary entries of the characters, imbuing each with their particular flavour and tone. In that way, Audible Studios has done well in their creative decisions. It's easy to close your eyes and sink into the narrative as the setting becomes fully tactile.
Dracula is very much a product of its time, in which women are placed upon a delicate pedestal, and yet, if one is able to look deeper, it becomes apparent that Mina Harker is indeed one of the more heroic characters within this story. Her resilience and ingenuity is easily overlooked by Jonathan, Van Helsing and the others, and yet without her capable, stalwart assistance, I'm certain they would never have overcome the great evil that nearly overwhelmed them. The fact that they sought to shelter her from the dangers posed by the count nearly proved their undoing.
This edition is slick, eminently listenable, and if you've yet to hit up the source material behind so much of our modern horror media, I highly recommend this audiobook.