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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Reading this was long overdue, but it was worth it. It bears only the slightest resemblance to the Frankenstein of popular culture, the long brutish shadow of Karloff. This is florid and all the science and madness happens off screen. This is theodicy and an infinite set of subtexts tailored to fit the facts. As a thriller, as a pursuit of justice, it is appalling: the hunter makes idiotic decisions, blind to the tropes present day audiences have internalized and now lampoon in self-aware thrillers; the villain makes impossible leaps without even the dignity of plot-devices to be so omnipresent that you could be forgiven for thinking the creature is a figment of Frankenstein's imagination until the last scene. The two leads swing between sympathetic and abominable, unspeakably eloquent and freakishly obtuse. The style of it all is insanely grand, and there are some astoundingly beautiful passages throughout that are a wonder to turn over in your mouth. Descriptions so loving and detailed, overlaid with contemplations thick with Milton and gothic morbidity: these make for dense reading and I could easily imagine this book could be read anew every decade of your life and seem wildly different each time.


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