Book Review: The Historian

So much has been said about this book recently, that I will keep this short. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is an engrossing blend of horror, mystery, history, and great prose. I can not think of anything that I disliked and I was frequently surprised by changes in the plot. For people not reading popular book reviews, this is a tale of the historical Dracula and a series of historians’ quest to find the evil behind the legend. This could have been just another Dracula novel, but Kostova succeeded in blending plot and prose in an intricate story that is at turns scary and heart wrenching, but was always hard to put down.

Here is Kostova’s description of two older women singing in a small village’s ceremony for a local saint:

The two old women began to sing, their arms twined around each other’s waists now, and the sound they made – a stomach- churning harmony, harsh and beautiful – seemed to come from one body. That sound of the gaida grew up around it, and then the three voices, the voices of the two women and the voice of the goat, rose together and spread over us like the groaning of the earth itself. Helen’s eyes were suddenly suffused with tears, which was so unlike her that I put my arm around her in front of everyone (550).

Recommended if you like history, vampires, or mysteries

The Historian
Elizabeth Kostova
642 pages

–Jane, reads