Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Historian

Well, I finally made it through The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. With the intensity of this new job during these current weeks, I didn't have much time or energy for reading. It took me about 3 weeks to plow through the book. I've always had an interest in fantasy literature, and especially after reading Edgy Mama's review of the book - thought I should go ahead and escape from all the work with a good read.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I appreciated the fresh approach to the Dracula story, felt like I gained some insight into Cold War Eastern Europe, and gained some more theological insights into evil in the world (as in, why does someone want to live forever - could have some interesting connections with the debate surrounding Terri Schiavo.)

And for the most part, I enjoyed all the history in the book. I agree with a number of reviewers, in that towards the middle of the book - I wanted a little less history and some more action. Could it be that Hollywood movies have forever ruined me? As to my enjoyment of all the history (or most of it, at least), it's probably just that I have always been a history buff. I even spent a period seriously considering getting a Ph.d. in Church History (still have to wonder if that would have really accomplished anything good in the world... or if I'm accomplishing any good right now).

My one big issue with the book - I felt the character development was a little thin. There were certainly some very interesting characters, but I would like for them to have been a little more three-dimensional. I would like for them to have grappled a little more with the issues of good and evil (does not each one of us have some good and bad aspects to our personalities and desires?). And one more thought while reading the book - "If this woman puts one more "pure" love story in this book, I think I'll puke!" The first (in a timeline) love story would have been far more interesting without the cop-out of "ambrosia" (puh-leese). And I have worked with far too many teenagers and college students over the years to believe that any relationship is pure in its love (it certainly can be in part, but there are always a number of motives in pursuing or acting upon a relationship).

That said, I enjoyed the book overall and would recommend it. My grade - B.

Too bad I don't have book group around anymore to listen to my rants and raves!

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