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Task #88: In a Glass Darkly

June 30, 2009

Task #88 is Read an Average of a book a month.

I just finished the book In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu. It’s a collection of short stories published in 1872. The stories are supposed to be “Gothic Horror” and mysteries.

This book took me forever to read! Definitely putting me significantly behind in my averaging of one book a month (hey, scientific journal articles and readings for classes often get in the way).  This was for two reasons: a) it was written in the 1800’s and contains a lot of slang. They give you the definitions in the back, but it still takes some time; but mainly because of b) I found the 2nd and 3rd stories, and parts of the 1st boring. It didn’t maintain my interest, and I didn’t really care what happened to the characters. Also, they were not nearly as creepy as I had hoped. In fact, a Demon Monkey just comes off more silly than creepy…at least in my imagination.

However, I LOVED the last two stories. They were sufficiently creepy/mysterious. The last one was predictable, but still enjoyable. My favorite story was the 4th: The Room in the Dragon Volant. The ending surprised me greatly.

Each of the stories is written slightly differently, I don’t know if that is intentional, or merely because the individual stories may have been written in different times in his life. Either way, I found the last two stories far more readable and engaging then the first.

Interestingly, for all you vampire fans, the last story, Carmilla, greatly influenced the writing of Dracula, as well as is the basis for several vampire films and legends.

I’d recommend it to friends, particularly for the last two stories.

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