PDF Ú BOOK The Historian

EPUB The Historian

PDF Ú BOOK The Historian ´ To you perceptive reader I beueath my historyLate one night exploring her father's library a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters The letters are all addressed to My dear and unfortunate successor and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's pastTo you perceptive reader I beueath my historyLate one night exploring her father's library a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters The letters are all addressed to My dear and unfortunate successor and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of historyThe letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known and to a centuries long uest to find the source of that darknes You know you’ve been in school too long when you write a vampire novel in which Dracula’s ultimate threat is to force his victims to catalog his extensive library of antiue books On the other hand after finishing The Historian and its detailed Vlad the Impaler research I’m willing to consider that threat as akin to impalement If Kostova’s references to Henry James did not reveal her as an admirer of his then its sprawling prose vague plot and sexually confused characters would have While imitation of Henry James is not enough in itself to make me wish undeath on an author it sucked the blood out of this adventure Kostova writes The Historian in epistolary form primarily through letters from a father historian to a daughter presumably historian The greater part of the book however focused not on this father daughter team’s desperate search for family members and Dracula but on the obscure history of Vlad Tepes the historical figure who inspired the legend of Dracula and on the geography of Romania Bulgaria and Turkey during the Cold War If the Travel Channel™ was ever looking for someone to host Istanbul on a Budget 1980 or Passport to Monasteries Behind the Iron Curtain Kostova would be their woman Whether the history and geography is true or not the sheer volume of trivia padding this book and the work it had to have taken to put it all together is confounding Even with the impressive research this story is Scooby Doo with no Scooby Snacks Dracula would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those pesky historians Dracula and his henchman the “evil librarian” don’t plague society or cause panic Rather they make appearances in goofy disguises in libraries and cafes to give books and other clues to especially promising young historians inspiring the recipients to begin insatiable uests to find out about this Dracula fellow Then Dracula inevitably shows up again to slap people around a little so that the historians will be too afraid to continue their research Once after giving a historian a book to start him on his vampire studies Dracula disguises himself as “a stranger” and buys that historian a drink called “whimsically amnesia” Bet you can’t guess what that does all that research down the tubes Stop the mind games Dracula Not to be deterred by Dracula’s or the Evil Librarian’s threats the historians continue to stalk their prey until the reader would pity Dracula if he weren’t annoying because he is ultimately only trying to build a book collection and a gang of faithful research assistants In painful detail Paul the central historianvampire slayer as he tells his daughter the story of his search for Dracula also tells of falling in love with her “mannish” mother Helen The consistent descriptions of our heroine as “manly” only hint at Paul’s sexual confusion which becomes most apparent when he meets his rival Helen’s ex boyfriend a Soviet spy Paul describes this meeting to his daughter in chapter 38 “’What a pleasure to meet you’ ex boyfriend said giving me a smile that illuminated his fine features He was taller than I with thick brown hair and the confident posture of a man who loves his own virility – he would have been magnificent on horseback riding across the plains with herds of sheep I thought” Except for the word “virility” I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of reading that description If the author of the uote had been a man I would encourage him to openly write gay characters rather than making his characters marry to hide their sexuality From the author’s picture on the dust jacket I see that she is Madame Bovary so the description fits It is true that because of the vagueness of the plot and the epistolary structure entire chapters and characters could be cut from this book without losing any story Beyond its rambling descriptions however The Historian flounders as a vampire story Psychological conflict adds complexity to most vampire stories as in Bram Stoker’s Dracula when Mina formerly a protagonist becomes bloodthirsty Thirst is the most basic human experience and all vampires started as humans Theoretically thirst or broadly desire could become evil in anyone; and therefore of all monsters we most easily identify with vampires In The Historian however I am left with the impression that if those historians left poor Dracula alone he would have just kept collecting books It was ultimately the research and study not Dracula himself that took the historians away from their loved ones and almost destroyed them From where I’m reading The Historian is solid evidence of what most high school kids could tell you too much study is both boring and potentially bad for your health

EBOOK ñ The Historian ì Elizabeth Kostova

D? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed and that he has lived on century after century pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these uestions cross time and borders as first the father and then the daughter search for clues from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul Budapest and the depths of Eastern Europe In city after city in monasteries and archives in letters and in secret conversations the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler's dark reign and about a time defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages Tentatively my hand crept towards the mouse What dark and unholy specter could be contained in other people's reviews of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian? I was filled with passive voiced dread as the link was clicked by me I was horrified to readxdragonlady's review My main problem with the book being that the author told the tale from so many different points of view but that they were each told in first person without giving the reader any notice as to who was telling the tale I don't understand why this book is on the bestseller's listI was aghast Could the novel I had just read really have been a confounding multi tiered multiple first person narrative with lack luster voices which the author clearly mistook for a clever attempt at recreating a sense of research?With much hesitation I read on I find myself thinking of my mother's comment after she read the Da Vinci Code that it was ok but she knew many other books that were written much better that should be best sellers I wish Brien had read the book at the same time as I did I would liked to have talked to him about itBlast I too wondered what xdragonladyx's mother and friend Brien would have thought If only she could have included a detailed transcription of their own reviews I may now never know if either of them viewed The Historian as an attempt to capitalize on the fad of Dan Brown style mysteries and the vampire genre Suddenly a wayward link caught my eye and I clickedSilver's review I think I read some review here on GoodReads that called this a book to be conuered You know one where after a time you feel so invested that you MUST finish it you must defeat the book you will NOT give up no matter how much you are suffering Whoever said that about Kostova's The Historian I salute youAs I read this thing about someone reading something else somewhere I was reminded of my own refusal to allow the dry 600 page tome to defeat me and that by the time I had completed the flatulent ending not only had I conuered it but impaled it still screaming onto a ten foot stake It was dead and without the risk of ever returning to life so that no one would ever have to read it againYou're welcome

Elizabeth Kostova ì The Historian EPUB

The HistorianS and wipe it out It is a uest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula Generations of historians have risked their reputations their sanity and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this uest herself to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern worl This novel is better than I had any anticipation of it being I’d seen it among a friend’s luggage then later saw it at the library Having just come off three weeks of nineteenth century novelists I thought Oh something light would be a nice change After all I thought Vampires The book is about vampires And not just any vampire but the mack daddy himself Dracula the real Vlad the Impaler who turns out to be the undeadLight reading Sure Six hundred and fifty pages of vampires that is less concerned with torn pulsing arteries than with the minutiae of historical research And much like Dracula to which Kostova’ novel The Historian owes an incalculable debt so than many another vampire novel the novel is constructed as a story within a story within a storyOne of the novel’s central conceits is how much of the story is told in the form of letters written by the young female narrator’s father As this sum surpasses well over 300 pages in type obvious plausibility considerations of scale arise but only if you stop to think about it long enough In the middle of the father Paul’s letters he is handed a parcel of letters written by his mentor Bartolomeo Rossi which are also substantially sized documentsAs their stories take them further and further into Eastern and Central Europe the texts begin to shelter one inside the other inside the other like Russian nesting dolls As the narrator reads the letters of her father Paul tells of visiting a Bulgarian scholar who reads to him from a manuscript which includes in its history yet another person’s lengthy transcription of in fact one person’s reminisces about Vlad Tepes This kind of layered story is most definitely part of Kostova’s novel’s sensibility and it’s rather an amusing in jokeWhat’s impressive about all this is how Kostova weaves three sizable narratives together alternating time and place and narrative voice We first are in Amsterdam of 1972 as our young narrator a sixteen year old school girl tells of discovering a mysterious volume in her diplomat father’s office and later of her journey to France Part of what sends her out are the letters she is reading left to her by her father after he vanishes telling of his travels and investigations into the Dracula legend in the 1950s Eastern Bloc He is launched across the Soviet empire as well as through the byzantine mazes of Istanbul’s streets and libraries trying to discover what became of his missing mentor Along the way as we try to find Rossi we are told of his 1930s investigations into the Dracula legend in RomaniaOn top of that there are vast stores of erudition on fifteenth century monasteries the cultural divide betwixt Romanians and Transylvanians the Walechian court medieval church politics central European folk songs Bulgarian religious rituals based around old pagan traditions historian cataloging and research methodology and the overlapping history of Central Europe with its shifting rulers of Ottomans the Orthodox church and its tiny fiefdoms and the Soviet Union For thinking about it as an historian the undead would have lived through an impressive array of erasConsider this rather late passage The “Chronicle” of Zacharias is known through two manuscripts Athos 1480 and RVII132; the latter is also referred to as the “Patriarchal Version” Athos 1480 a uarto manuscript in a single semiunical hand is house in the library at Rila Monastery in Bulgaria where it was discovered in 1923This original manuscript was probably housed in the Zographou library until at least 1814 since it is mentioned by title in a bibliography of fifteenth and sixteenth century manuscripts at Zographou dating from that year It resurfaced in Bulgaria in 1923 when the Bulgarian historian Atanas Angelov discovered it hidden in the cover of an eighteenth century folio treatise on the life of Saint George Georgi 136421 in the library at Rila MonasteryThe second and only other known copy or version of the Zacharias “Chronicle” — RVII132 or the “Patriarchal Version” — is housed at the library of the Oecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople and has been paleographically dated to the mid or late sixteenth centuryNot your average vampire book eh?And that’s one of the funny things about reading this novel At times you have to remind yourself that this is a book about vampires Not that Kostova won’t remind you at some point along the way herself but that there is so much enjoyable writing throughout so much fun detective work that at times the supernatural element seems almost decidedly secondaryKostova knows well enough to keep the monsters off the stage as long as possible merely make suggestive shadows lurk here and there on the periphery and affect a rather creepy atmosphere After a point there are a hair too many overt murders that sap some of the menace surprisingly as they make the gathering darkness all too palpably concrete Then there are a number of vampire staples that might turn up normally anyway A bat flitters across a night sky In the woods near a ruin a wolf approaches the edge of the firelight After sitting for some time near a railing cobby with webs Helen Rossi daughter of Paul’s mentor and mother to the unnamed young narrator ends up with an enormous spider on her back These stand ins for the vampire are pleasantly unsettling without being accompanied by shrieking violinsWhat propels each of the main characters the young girl whose name we never discover her father Paul and his mentor Rossi is the discovery of a mysterious old book among their own a book with one printed page that of a dragon with a banner reading “Drakulya” while the rest of the pages are blank Throughout the novel we find that each character who has become obsessed with the legend of Vlad Tepes possesses a similar book that came to them under curious circumstances Why and how these volumes keep turning up is one of the novel's mysteries an it's one of Kostova's rather clever conclusions in her own well thought out realization of the character of Dracula And there is throughout the book an enormous cast of characters not merely just historical personages but various researchers and students and librarians and bureaucrats and all of them are well drawn interesting and fully fleshedWe know of course from the very beginning before the narrator even informs us that when her father Paul speaks of a young beauty named Helen who he meets while trying to track down his missing mentor that this will be the overtly absent mother of the young narrator And of course since she is absent we know there is a reason for that and of course as this is a horror novel we know she is dead — or worse Kostova manages to keep even that particularly familiar angle surprising The author is at least a thorough going plotter and she paces everything beautifully setting up revelations with periodic sparks All three story lines converge some hundred pages out from the novel’s end and from there the story picks up and aims suarely toward its conclusionThe actual climax of the novel as our heroes close in on Dracula and his daytime resting place seems rather rushed ending just all abruptly as if Kostova had opted just to skip overt dramatics which feels a bit of a cheat though she does make up for this lack of action with a final pages reversal that is as unsettling as it is uiet