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Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Originally published anonymously in 1818. Revised edition published in 1831 and attributed to Mary Shelley.
Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones
I registered this book at Bookcrossing
How I got this book:
Swapped for at Lemonford campsite book exchange
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read a good biography of Mary Shelley back in April, but had never actually gotten around to reading her famous novel, Frankenstein, until now. I spotted it on a campsite book exchange and thought it really was about time! Frankenstein is such a cultural icon that I assumed I already knew the basic storyline, but it turned out that much of what I thought I knew isn't actually in the novel at all! And much of the novel is far deeper in ideas and tone than many of its recreations would have us believe.
Beginning with letters back home from an arctic explorer, Walton, we learn of his scientific intentions and of his bizarre meeting with a lone man stranded on an ice floe. That lone man is Victor Frankenstein, an obsessive Swiss scientist who had created and animated a monstrous man, but terrified by his creation, had immediately abandoned it. I really didn't like Victor at all. Not only is there his obvious and total lack of responsibility for his own actions and creation, but his incessant 'woe is me' whinging is infuriating. Even as his friends and family start dying off around him, he is still unable to find a backbone!
By contrast, our third narrator, the unnamed monster himself, is surprisingly erudite and eloquent for, essentially, a self-educated vagabond. Of course we only have his own words to support his claim of a kind and gentle disposition prior to the commencement of his murderous spree, but his story of being turned against humanity by people repeatedly recoiling from or even attacking him does ring depressingly true. For a book written practically two hundred years ago, Frankenstein is still remarkably relevant. Denying a person understanding, respect and companionship simply on the basis of their appearance might well result in them becoming an enemy.
Frankenstein, the novel, is written in wonderfully pompous language which dates it but not in a negative way. I don't think I would have been so swept up in the story otherwise. For a violent tale, there is practically nothing graphically described (which I appreciated), but Shelley's build-up of tension and suspense is brilliantly done. She takes her times evoking every scene and landscape so I could always envisage exactly where the characters were. By modern standards, I did think those characters weren't as developed as they could have been. The monster actually comes across as the most human of all and Victor, moving from arrogance to vengeance, simply doesn't learn - I suspect that is the point.
Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Mary Shelley / Horror fiction / Books from England
I have my Wordsworth Editions paperback copy of Frankenstein to giveaway simply for answering the following question on this blog post. How easy is that?!
Name another monster horror novel?
Comment your answer on this post before midnight (UK time) on the 13th of July to be in with a chance of winning.
This paperback book is my copy so not new, but still in good condition. The book has been registered on Bookcrossing and you are welcome to add your stage of its journey or ignore the label as you prefer.
The Giveaway is open worldwide. Answers must be commented by midnight (UK time) on the 13th July and I will randomly pick a winner on the 14th. The winner will be notified by replying to their Comment so if you think you might miss this response please also include other contact info such as your blog URL, twitter name or FB page. If the winner does not respond within 7 days, they will forfeit the prize.