Dracula is the definitive vampire story. It’s not the first, but it had set the template for all vampire stories since which came after. I first read it a number of years ago for college. My bookclub selected it for a quarterly read this month, and decided instead to do the reread in audiobook form using a free version available through Livbrivox.
There is little I can say about the book which hasn’t already been said. It’s a classic gothic novel, exploring the dark underbelly of Victorian society. In this case its sex and fear of foreigners. Stoker is skilled at creating a haunting dramatic story and landscape. His characterisation on the other hand is weak. There is a lack of depth of to all the characters. We get hints of stronger characters that were never fully developed, Mina in particular strikes me as having the greatest potential to being a truly well developed character but cut short. It doesn’t like lessen the enjoyment of the book but does hint at something which would have raised it to the next level.
I enjoyed the audiobook and it has won me over to exploring the medium further. Livbrivox is a free audiobook service. Classics are read by volunteers. As you would expect quality can vary greatly. The version of Dracula I listened too was a dramatic reading with separate narrators reading each part. The narrators of Mina and Lucy were good and conveyed the characters well. The narrators for the man in the other hand were poor. Jonathan was pompous. Dracula sounded like the Count from Sesame St. Seward was just a drone. Van Helsing and Quincey sounded like clichés. But when it’s free what do you expect.