The Historian

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about The Historian, given that it’s about Dracula, which isn’t usually my cup of tea.  But a friend recommended it, and it got a lot of critical acclaim, so I tried it and really enjoyed it.  Instead of a pulpy, Hollywoody vampire story, it’s more about travel and history and Eastern Europe, with a historical Dracula (he was a real person, although obviously his undead properties are less than historical) story frame.

I found the book very well written, with an exceptional grasp on multiple storylines and timelines.  The pacing is excellent.  Given the macabre possibilities, I thought Kostova did a great job of not going into lots of gruesome detail.  As I mentioned above, the book gives a feel of being more about the history and settings of Eastern Europe.  Kostova is marvelous at settings–I found myself really wanting to visit Istanbul and Budapest and the fairytale-like countrysides and mountains she describes.

The Historian is a long book in the best way–a full story that you don’t want to put down but that you relish for being long enough to hang out with for a while.


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4 thoughts on “The Historian

  1. One of my favorite books! It’s been staring at me from the shelf for the last few weeks, but I’ve been reading other stuff, (The Christmas Pearl-Dorthea Benton Frank and Little Women). I’ll probably start that next unless something else beckons.

  2. I picked it up while we were in Hong Kong years ago not knowing anything about it, and absolutely loved it. Her second novel “The Swan Thieves” is also really good, but I prefer The Historian.

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