Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fangs a lot!

Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.
Anyway, what we have here is my first book blog since the resurrection, so it seems appropriate to delve into the world of the undead. Sundays With Vlad by Paul Bibeau is an entertaining look at how Dracula, his real life counterpart and vampire culture in general has entered into the world we inhabit.
To get the negative vibes out of the way first, I was disappointed that in a book marketed as Travel we don't get to visit either London or Whitby, where several of the major plot points of Stoker's novel take place. I can forgive Bibeau for not venturing to Exeter, home of the Harkers, but it would have been interesting to compare the church at Whitby with the castles of Transylvania. And there are still plenty of dark and forbidding alleys in London which evoke the feel of the period and can indeed have you imagining vampires lurking around the corner amongst men in stovepipe hats and ragamuffin urchins.

The places we do get to see, however are vividly described and Bibeau gives a very good sense of the history which pervades into modern attitudes, even given the inevitable changes wrought to the scene over the centuries. I was particularly taken with the section looking at carnival attractions, haunted houses and the like in a decaying American seaside resort. So much of that could equally apply to much of the British coast.

Delving into the sub-cultures who have adopted the traits of the vampire (from role playing games to political hopefuls to the inevitable goths) we see a bunch of people who fervently believe in the powers or attributes of the creature of the night and yet try to integrate with society at large rather than just walling themselves off in a crypt or hiding in the darkness. We also get lots of small asides and vignettes such as the fancy dress store trying to keep up with demand for vampire costumes in the run-up to Halloween and the reactions of "normal" guests sharing a hotel with a vampire convention.

I came away thoroughly entranced by the subject, and with knowledge on facets of Vampire lore I'f never considered before. Recommended.

1 comment:

Paul Bibeau said...

Thanks for the kind words! I do have to agree with you -- Given my deadline I had to limit some of my travel, but I still kick myself for missing Whitby and the Goth festival.
You are writing something that I have thought more than a couple times.