the historian by elizabeth kostova

Posted on April 14, 2008


The Historian must have taken all the slow-moving chills from those black and white horror movies of the early to mid20th century and translated them into a novel that makes one remember that dread is more terrifying than horror.

historianThis book moves with an intensity that has nothing to do with pace but with a depth of concentration that few novels could match.

Here the brilliance of the intellect defies the darkness of superstition… but is Dracula really just a collection of fairy tales that have grown into a monster over the centuries? or is he an evil so powerful that intellect must ally with faith so Good and all those we hold dear can prevail?

Three threads play out to their respective, each startling, ends. a father who hides his grief from his daughter, a mentor who has forgotten something so dear to him, and a young girl who must grow up quickly so she can save her father.

In THE HISTORIAN, scholarly sleuthing has never been so important, so exciting, and so terrible… the price of research was almost always more than they can bear; they had to choose between the doom of never knowing and the doom of finding out more than they bargained for.

Meanwhile, as they went deeper into history, the world opened up before us, taking us into exotic cities and countries, making us see and hear , smell and taste, and feel their strangeness, yet recognize their similarities.

Lovers of books are also placed in a quandary. When the prince of evil himself shares our passion, are we dismayed or are we nurturing a weapon that may turn against us someday?

Or do we just help turn a cliche into literary elegance?

Those who read this debut work either really love the author or absolutely hate her… no middle ground. the reserved style of writing, the scholastic approach to the mystery, the preponderance of coincidences, the open-ended ending have turned off as many as they hooked…

We have to’s that kind of book. i am overpowered with lovely wit where many would dismiss the drag. kostova gives us the ingredients of goth without the trashy make-up. she attunes her energy to the amygdala, that part of the brain that controls fear or creates it, keeping it charged, unhampered by a seemingness of normalcy or maybe feeding off from it.

I look forward to Kostova’s next book; I will wait ten years of more for it. and when it does arrive, it would be worth the wait… she’s that kind of author.

Posted in: mysterious