WEEKLY WONDER: Carmilla by Joseph Le Fanu (#47)

Hey everyone!

Welcome to Weekly Wonder where we introduce you to your read of the week!

This week’s Wonder is:

CARMILLA BY JOSEPH SHERIDAN LE FANU

SO, WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

A young lady, shaken by an accident, is left by her mother in the care of the narrator’s father. Laura (the narrator) welcomes the company and soon develops a fast friendship with her guest, Carmilla. However, happiness is not the only thing that accompanies Carmilla in Laura’s life. It is joined by dilapidating health, mysterious deaths in the surrounding area and a burning lesbian desire. Will their friendship stand the test or will the secret that Carmilla is hiding take more from Laura than she ever dreamed? I will let you find out!


A GLIMPSE BETWEEN THE PAGES

“You will think me cruel, very selfish, but love is always selfish; the more ardent the more selfish. How jealous I am you cannot know. You must come with me, loving me, to death; or else hate me, and still come with me, and hating me through death and after. There is no such word as indifference in my apathetic nature.”

“Life and death are mysterious states, and we know little of the resources of either.”

“But dreams come through stone walls, light up dark rooms, or darken light ones, and their persons make their exits and their entrances as they please, and laugh at locksmiths.”

“But to die as lovers may – to die together, so that they may live together.”

“How beautiful she looked in the moonlight!
Shy and strange was the look with which she quickly hid her face in my neck and hair, with tumultuous sighs, that seemed almost to sob, and pressed in mine a hand that trembled.
Her soft cheek was glowing against mine. “Darling, darling,” she murmured, “I live in you; and you would die for me, I love you so.”
I started from her.
She was gazing on me with eyes from which all fire, all meaning had flown, and a face colorless and apathetic.”

“You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.”


WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT

  • This is the original vampire tale. It predates Dracula and serves as a direct influence on the same.
  • Published in 1872, this is perhaps the oldest book I have read that features LGBT love so obviously.
  • The audiobook version is great and available for free on YouTube. Check it out:

  • Also, the web series inspired by this book is an amazing modern interpretation which replaces the socially deprived Laura with a first-year college student and switches her written account of events with a vlog. Check it out:

 

  • The descriptions are amazing!
  • This novella manages to achieve the same level of mystery and macabre as Dracula in about a quarter of the length.
  • It can be read in a single sitting.
  • This book beautifully walks the line between a vampire horror and a lesbian romance.
  • This book is the reason for the existence of the vampire sub-genre in horror.

PER CONTRA

  • As most vampire tales can trace their inspiration to this book in some way, certain aspects of the book may seem clichèd to modern readers but keeping in mind that this book was the source for that knowledge can mitigate that.
  • The fact that every reader in this century knows that Carmilla is a vampire before they even read the book takes away a lot of the mystery from the novel.

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Fans of Dracula, The Vampire Chronicles and basically every single vampire story.
  • Fans of Emma Donoghue, Lidia Yuknavitch and Kathy Acker.
  • Readers who take an interest in the influence that various works of art cast on each other.
  • Lovers of lesbian romance novels.
  • People who wonder why most female vampires in art are lesbians.

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I hope you like the book!

If you would like personalised book recommendations, all you have to do is fill out our form and we will send them to you.

Happy Reading!

Jeannie

 

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