Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova, 647 pages, (2005)

It was Tuesday, I think, when I wrote about my broken futon and the list of books I'm currently plowing through in lieu of channel surfing. One of the books I mentioned was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Harry Potter aside, this is supposed to be the break out hit of the summer. Allegedly, it took the author ten years to write, the publisher paid a HUGELY INSANE advance to the author, and it's been compared to The DaVinci Code in terms of historical information and suspenseful story-telling.

First and foremost, don't bother with this book.

This book is nothing like The DaVinci Code. In point of fact, it's tedious, overly long, and the ending is such that you wish someone had driven a stake through your heart back before you hit page 100 and spared you the misery of losing precious time from your life reading this fluffy tome.

Here's the Reader's Digest Cliff Notes version:

Two scholars--one an historian, the other an anthropologist--go in search of Dracula (and eventually each other after being separated by their obsession to hunt down this Lord of the Undead) across the then-Eastern Bloc. They finally find Dracula, only to discover that his obsession is book collecting and his goal is to build the biggest, most comprehensive, unparalleled library in the world. As a result, he seeks out librarians, historians, anthropologists, Dracula hobby hunters, etc. to join his legions and find the world's rarest and most famous books. Unfortunately, to get these folks to do his work, he still has to be diabolical and suck their blood.

In the end, the historian-anthropologist team finally tracks Dracula down to his latest lair in a monastary in France where the anthropologist kills him with a single skilled shot of a silver bullet from a pistol she's been schlepping around for a few decades.

Dumbest book I think I've read in a LONG time! A week of reading time out of my life that I'll NEVER get back. If you've read this book and feel differently, please say so. And please, explain to me what I missed in this overwrought missive that supposedly makes it the "must read" book of the summer.


Anonymous said...

ok so i seriously haven't finished this book yet but so exept for a boring start i love it. the scene descriptions ,to me, are awsome.

on rush hour in d.c. said...

Anon: Three years later, I still stand by my review. That said, though, and like so many things in life, I'm always glad there are others who enjoy the things I haven't. I certainly have things like that in my life that I adore and others loathe.

P.S. Sorry if I spoiled it for you! I should have put a spoiler warning on the piece when I wrote it.

Anonymous said...

I've been TRYING to finish this book for months now. I agree with this article. It is extremely drawn out, extremely dry, and very boring. I'm 3/4 of the way done and I can't seem to understand anything that I've read already...perhaps its because I got so bored. Don't waste you time. I doubt I'll ever finish it.

Janet Kincaid said...

Anon: Four years later, I see my review is standing the test of time! I'm sorry to hear you haven't enjoyed the book, but then, there are so many other books worth reading. If you want to know the ending to this book, email me and I'll tell you.