The Historian review ð eBook or Kindle ePUB

read The Historian

The Historian review ð eBook or Kindle ePUB ò 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 Rld 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 age. Am I destined for some kind of literary hell if I say I wish Dan Brown would rewrite this story with the spark and intensity of the Da Vinci CodeI 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 youI kept telling my friends I was reading a book about hunting for Dracula through libraries across Europe and that it was about as exciting as it sounds I also needed to conuer this book because I wanted to figure out why so many people good friends of mine included loved this book Maybe the long hard snoozy slog occasionally punctuated by some good old fashioned undead suspense every hundred pages or so would have a really terrific ending that made it all worth it Clearly Kostova is very influenced by Gothic and Victorian writers like Stoker so maybe this book would have a grand payoff of an ending to merit the praise and best sellernessInstead Dracula is a librarian Sigh Just as boring as it soundsIt wasn't completely terrible many charicterizations are off the charts for their specificity and originality The thing about the books with the Drakulya print was really intriguing Except that's not enough The Drakulya books which could be counted as a premise with the intrinsic map that is hammered on as a significant discovery amount to nothing The map doesn't even figure into the conclusion Not even with a character saying we were totally wrong about that map So while I enjoyed parts of this book and had many moments when I couldn't put it down the alternate to finding it incredibly tedious with no in between I think its merits don't outweigh its shortcomings I wish I'd read an Actual Gothic novel maybe even by Bram Stoker instead of wasting way too long on this frustrating book

Elizabeth Kostova Û 3 read

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 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 darkne. January 3 2014Dear Khanh of 2006I am your older wiser self Many things will happen in the years that have elapsed before you become the me of today You will fall in love You will break hearts You will get your heart broken karma's a bitch You will change jobs You will graduate from collegeMost importantly you will become intelligent you will learn the art of advanced thinking because really all college teaches you is how to get good grades by regurgitating textbooks When you are older as you begin to read critically you will learn to appreciate a good book and you will be able to identify literary bullshit when you see itThat's all this book is Literary bullshitThis book is dramatic rubbish artistic gibberish It is nothing than a glorified travel brochureSeriously younger Khanh what the fuck were you thinking when you enjoyed this book You thought it was sweet you thought it was romantic you thought the writing was beautiful Really ReallyBetween 2006 and 2014 you will be able to identify purple prose when you see it You will realize that flowery prose is not good writing Correlation does not imply causation and good writing does not necessarily encompass a good plotYou will be able to recognize a deus ex fucking machina when you see it Oh I know that you learned about deus ex machina in AP English You learned a lot of things in English class You learned about symbolism foreshadowing all that good shit but really it does you no fucking good unless you are able to identify it when you see it And clearly you did not see the tremendous horrifying abominable that's a hyperbole overuse of deus ex fucking machina upon your first perusal of this bookYou will realize that a good epistolary book involving several different characters should have the characters be actually fucking distinct Did you seriously think this book was realistic in any way when you cannot distinguish between the narrative of an old man an older man and that of a girl as she grows from her early teensDid you ever for a moment think upon the complete absurdity of the letters and the storytelling particularly when said letters and spoken stories were told in excruciating minutiae Is that realistic in any way In your letters have you ever once mentioned the trivialities of your evening routine particularly when it made absolutely no relevance whatsoever to whatever point you were trying to make While I waited I poked up the fire added another log set out two glasses and surveyed my desk My study also served me for a sitting room and I made sure it was kept as orderly and comfortable as the solidity of its nineteenth century furnishings demanded I had completed a great deal of work that afternoon supped off a plate brought up to me at six o’clock and then cleared the last of my papers When you tell a story to your friends have you ever once mentioned the drumming of your fingertips when you're trying to tell a story of supposedly the utmost importance I drummed my fingers on the desktop The clock in my study seemed to be ticking unusually loudly tonight and the urban half darkness seemed too still behind my venetian blinds I know you are young and stupid but you are not that stupid Please don't tell me that this book fooled you in any way Did you seriously buy into the letters and the storiesFucking letters Fucking stories Bullshit attempts at letters and storytelling and an epistolary timeline that is everything overwrought all that is overdramatic and completely devoid of sense and rationality I would beg for a little bit of sensationalism over sense because overall the plot of this story is entirely lacking in anything remotely resembling fascination anything that would captivate and hold the imagination rather than lulls it to sleepYou endured over 700 pages of this balderdash for a story that doesn't even bring any sense of excitement Vlad Tepes holds no danger He is the euivalent of a grown up high school bully Once powerful he no longer holds any amount of thrall The only remnants of his power are the few close hangers on the few douchebags foolish enough to cling onto the remains of a long diminished power That high school bully might scare a few odd child here and there with his posturing with his scowls You as an adult are no longer afraid You as an adult should know better than to buy into this book's aesthetically pleasing inconseuential claptrapReluctantly yoursAn older a erudite a considerably critical Khanh

read & download ↠ eBook or Kindle ePUB Û Elizabeth Kostova

The HistorianSs 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 wo. “It is with regret that I imagine you whoever you are reading the account I must put down here The regret is partly for myself – because I will surely be at least in trouble maybe dead or perhaps worse if this is in your hands But my regret is also for you my yet unknown friend because only by someone who needs such vile information will this letter someday be read If you are not my successor in some other sense you will soon be my heir – and I feel sorrow at beueathing to another human being my own perhaps unbelievable experience of evil Why I myself inherited it I don’t know but I hope to discover that fact eventually – perhaps in the course of writing to you or perhaps in the course of further events” Elizabeth Kostova The HistorianI would have enjoyed being at the pitch meeting for Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian Well most people think Dracula isn’t real Kostova must have explained What this book supposes is that not only is he real but he’s still alive and wreaking havoc on the world She must have paused here expecting perhaps to be thrown from the room Allowed to remain she plunged forward My main character is a historian she would have continued All the action takes place in libraries and consists of primary source research Yes primary source research As in looking at really old writings and then discussing them a lotShe would have paused for breath at this moment Also it is over 600 pages longClearly that meeting went well The Historian was the “it” book of 2005 It came with a huge advance and big expectations and a national promotional tour From the start it was a bestseller capitalizing on the success of The Da Vinci Code with which is shares than a few similarities I purchased The Historian back in 2005 and it has sat on my bookshelf ever since A lot of time has passed since then I was young and single and childless and I hadn’t even heard of Game of Thrones Now I’m not so young single or childless and at times I wish I’d never heard of Game of Thrones All that time sitting has been rough on The Historian It now looks as old and worn as one of the ancient documents fondled so lovingly by the characters who populate the novel I’m not sure what persuaded me to finally read it other than a gnawing guilt that I paid cover price for it twelve years ago While The Historian’s premise is simple the plot is hopelessly convoluted Like Bram Stoker’s Dracula this is an epistolary novel with large chunks of it coming in the form of “letters” written by various characters The story unfolds in three different time periods The central thread is set in the 1970s and is narrated by the unnamed daughter of a historian turned diplomat named Paul The daughter stumbles upon an old book that like the VHS tape in The Ring brings nothing but trouble to the reader Paul eventually leaves his daughter to embark on some unfinished business; the daughter needless to say pursues him The second timeline is set in the 1950s These portions are comprised of letters written by Paul to his daughter They detail his pursuit – along with a companion named Helen – of both Dracula and his mentor Professor Bartholomew Rossi who has gone missing Finally there is a briefer arc set in the 1930s made up by letters written by Rossi himself The plot contrivances and temporal leaps are not inherently difficult to follow However the aesthetics of The Historian lead to confusion I didn't have any problem with the Rossi letters set in the 1930s Kostova makes clear that we’re reading a letter by providing a dateline and setting the letter in italics The Paul letters on the other hand are given only uotation marks In other words huge chunks of the novel the Paul Helen 1950s thread is the book’s lengthiest consist of a nested narrative ala Joseph Conrad This means uotation marks A lot of uotation marks You have to pay close attention to shifts between the unnamed daughter’s story and Paul’s story Both are told in first person with little use of proper nouns The only indicator – as I’ve indicated – are uotation marks This not only causes uncertainty but annoyance I had to keep rereading sentences to separate narration from dialogue At one point the Paul letters decide to get a little meta so that there is a letter within a letter You know what that means right uotation marks on top of uotation marks Just uotation marks all the way downIt’s a taste thing but I hate nested narrative For this reason I don’t have a great relationship with Joseph Conrad One of the interesting things about The Historian is its languorous pacing Things don’t really snap into gear and start moving until around 200 pages in Those first couple hundred pages were like a European travel guide than a historical thriller Paul and his daughter travel around seeing cool sights eating various biscuits and having long conversations Despite the lack of inertia these pages were my favorite Kostova’s great gift is in description She is excellent at breathing life into a place whether that’s a sunny afternoon on the Piazza San Marco in Venice a glimpse at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul or a foreboding monastery in Communist run Bulgaria My wife and I had our third child not too long ago so the only traveling we’re doing is the midnight journey into madness It’s nice then to visit exotic locales if only in the mind Kostova also has a Tolkien esue thing for food and drink The reader is treated to many vicarious meals as the characters hopscotch around the globe Even when Kostova’s creations are in gravest danger they are never too near death to have a pleasant cup of tea Even as the plot gradually tightens there is never much action Sure there are bursts of movement Mostly though The Historian takes on a predictable pattern Paul and Helen go to various countries find an old monasterychurchlibrary and speak with someone who is either totally helpful or totally against them one of their nemeses is the “evil librarian”; not kidding that’s what he’s called They learn a clue make their plans and then head to the next destination One is tempted to say that The Historian attempts to do for historians what Indiana Jones did for archaeologists Except that isn’t entirely true The historians in this novel really act a lot like real historians except on meth Paul and Helen visit archives peruse old timey documents and attempt to decipher the past This is rather typical for a researcher save for the part about being stalked by the undeadNeat tourist locales and sumptuous repasts cannot entirely hide the fact that everything else is thin gruel The characters are props not people Nobody has any personality or depth or even a uirk Well – that’s not entirely true Paul’s uirk is that he keeps “groaning” Seriously His only reaction is to groan or to stifle a groan Jeez Paul grow up You aren’t six any The putative main character – the daughteroverall narrator – doesn’t even have a name There isn’t a believable interaction in 642 pages Paul sets out to find Rossi his mentor becauseWhy To drive the story We are told that Paul “loves” Rossi but the key word is told The book tells us how to feel instead of convinces us with rich characterizations There are in fact enormous spans of time in which Paul doesn’t think about Rossi at all though he remembers to describe every meal he eats in his “letters” A brief rant about epistolary novels In short they are such a silly conceit It just takes me out of the novel’s world Am I really supposed to believe that a character would write a letter hundreds of pages long Or that this letter would be structured as a novel replete with withheld information reams of dialogue internal monologues telling details and cliffhangers It’s actually dumb There’s a reason Paul can’t catch Dracula He’s too damn busy writing his War and Peace length letter to his daughterThe characters are not helped by the leaden dialogue Just about everything spoken is exposition I don’t necessarily expect Aaron Sorkin like exchanges but still it’d be nice to have one evocative conversation This is a summertime read so I grade it on that curve It’s not bad by any means Certainly it wasn’t a chore to finish But I’m also not going to give it an entirely free pass just because it’s a literary “guilty pleasure” or whatever the term is to describe a book you’re reading when you should be finishing Dickens The Historian isn’t nearly as fun as its ridiculous foundation implicitly promises This should be over the top goofy There should be grand guignol violence There should be sex or at least half a million double entendres Alas there is no sex at all which happens when you structure a novel as a father’s letter to his daughter There should be a realization that this material is fundamentally lowbrow then go even lower but with class Instead Kostova handles this with portentous seriousness This doesn’t contain any of the gonzo amusement that a globetrotting trip around Europe on Dracula’s heels should rightfully entail