I was a guest blogger for Cardiff Book Talk for their event about Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, so head over and check it out.
I was the first to admit, going into the reading of this Gothic Horror (AKA OG Vampire Book) that predates even Dracula by 25 years, that I am no expert on vamp-lit… as well as the first to admit that while I do not believe The Twilight Saga to be a work of literary immortality, 14-year-old Meg was a big fan. So, I went in pretty unsure of the whole thing, but open-minded because it could only be better than that cartoon with Adam Sandler as ole Drac.
I proceeded to have this wonderful experience that is happening a lot lately (namely with Virginia Woolf and Earnest Hemmingway): it wasn’t the old-fashioned, impossible-to-finish-due-to-three-page-sentence type of ‘classic’ I was expecting. Rather, it was refreshingly light and poignant – funny, observant, creepy.
Carmilla is a beautiful, overly-devoted young woman who, through a fallen carriage ‘accident’, ends up under the care of Laura and her father in their schloss (a much more fun way of saying ‘chateux’, and German). As women and girls in the surrounding towns start dying under very mysterious circumstances, Laura starts having horrific nightmares which leave her drained and depressed.
Though technically a spoiler, I imagine you already guessed it (because it’s really impossible not to guess it, Le Fanu isn’t trying to hide or surprise when it comes to Carmilla): Carmilla’s presence is directly linked to these occurrences, and our characters must deal with it however they can…