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Topic: Begin discussion of The Historian

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Subject: Begin discussion of The Historian
Date Posted: 6/8/2012 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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1. In the "Note to the Reader," the narrator tells us, "There is a final resource to which I have resorted when necessary--the imagination." How does she use this resource in telling her story? Is it a resource to which the other historians in the book resort, as well?

Well considering that this is a work of fiction it was kinda all up to imagination but I think that all of the characters had to use their imaginations to fill in the blanks about Dracula since it took so long for any of them to actually see him. They may not have used imagination in specific text or theory but they would have had to develop an imagined idea of what they were supposed to be fighting.

Date Posted: 6/8/2012 6:24 PM ET
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I was thinking that the imagination is mostly in the idea that the real person of Vlad could actually be a real vampire. 

I looked at the questions for this book, and I think they are a little esoteric.  For a book as long as this one, I don't remember enough details.

I found the book tedious in the extreme.  It could easily have been 400 pages shorter and gotten the same story across.  I want a book with a plot, and this one had just enough for a short story. 
 

Date Posted: 6/8/2012 6:52 PM ET
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I fully agree with your last paragraph. This book made me pass out with boredom twice. I also found it was full of itself and a little ridiculous, Dracula as a librarian almost made me want to cry.
Date Posted: 6/8/2012 7:35 PM ET
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i only read the first 200 pages or so, and I was tired of the daughter continuously trying to tease the story out of him.  I felt like I was maybe putting in time until the author decided what to do. 

Date Posted: 6/8/2012 7:43 PM ET
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Sort of like the weekday episodes of a soap opera, no plot twists till Friday.
Date Posted: 6/8/2012 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2007
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When I first read the note to the reader, I wasnt sure if it was from the author or a character, since it was unsigned and I hadnt read a page yet.  I did find myself returning back to the note to the reader, to see if any of the people she thanked also showed up as characters in the book.

 

Date Posted: 6/8/2012 8:23 PM ET
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I had to go back and check it but yeah it's the character voice in the note, she talks about the story as if it happened for real.
Date Posted: 6/8/2012 8:55 PM ET
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It was so long ago, I don't remember anything about the 'notes to the reader', and I am not about to pick up that boat anchor to find it. 

Deb, you are so right!!  I just wanted to slap all of them and yell "spit it the hell out!!"  Was the author trying to make this a character study? 

All the crap about the Ottoman Empire and the history of monasteries, and I didn't care!  It wasn't told in an interesting way, just a series of dry facts.  Do I remember any of it? No.  At some point I just started skimming, trying hard to find some plot or action. 

Did anyone else think that the demise of Dracula was a bit anticlimatic?  We have a 600 page build up, then just pffft.  Although, it did make me think of the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Nazis open the Ark.

Date Posted: 6/8/2012 9:10 PM ET
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Well Dracs demise was about as interesting as the rest of his appearances in this book. Seriously how could she make him a librarian?
Date Posted: 6/8/2012 9:26 PM ET
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I guess she was using her imagination.  Or else she was on drugs.  hahah.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 6/9/2012 12:18 AM ET
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I have a question. I don't give a rat's about vampires and I pretty much only know the general pop culture items about the story. How accurate was the book in terms of the history? I know the legend is based on an actual man but I don't know much about him. Was the history she gave him real? This is why I generally don't read historical fiction, I don't know enough history to know what's fact and what they made up. 

I enjoyed the book overall, I liked the romp through history and strange places that I know nothing about. It could have used a bunch of editing but I rarely got bored. I didn't skip over anything which I thought was amazing in a book like this. If I were a vampire fan I can see how it would be disappointing, dracula was pretty much a bit player. His death was waaayyyy anticlimactic. I had to go back and read it twice to make sure I hadn't lapsed into a trance or something and missed his real death. After all that and he just dies. All righty then. 

Date Posted: 6/9/2012 12:18 AM ET
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"as if it happened for real."   Heck all books are written as if it happened for real.  

 

I never went back to check the Note to Reader after I finished the book.   But I did re read it based on this question.  Of course I can clearly see it was the character writting the note.  But, of course I hadnt met our female character or her father yet,  So it could have been the author referring to her father.  By the time the book was over I didnt care.

 

HEY, I liked the book.

 

 

Date Posted: 6/9/2012 12:57 AM ET
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Yes, I agree his death sure wasnt some big movie ending battle of good vs evil, heck it wasnt even like a fight with the power rangers,    It need more life and death hanging in the balance, and thunder and hail,  and the powers of darkness shaking the walls. 

Date Posted: 6/9/2012 1:50 AM ET
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What I mean is that usually authors notes are written as auxiliary not part of the story. In this case it was part of the story. Btw if it weren't the first page I wouldn't have checked it.

Last Edited on: 6/9/12 1:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/9/2012 3:06 AM ET
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I won't be into this discussion too much, only made it about 100 pages and had to stop. I found myself reading pages of the book while my mind drifted to other things, wasn't even sure of what I read.

Date Posted: 6/9/2012 5:32 PM ET
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So am I the only one who never figured out what the narrator's name was? I know at some point I thought she was referred to as Elsie which is a diminutive of Elizabeth. Was the author trying to make it seem as if this was her personal account? It would fit with the authors note being part of the narrative rather than something the author mentions as a side note.

Another side question, what was your favorite authors note to date? I can't remember what book it was in but I remember reading a book set in Burnsville MN in which the author places the MN governors mansion in this town but it isn't actually there. She said something like "I took creative license, get over it." I laughed a good bit at that. I think that might have been the best part of the book considering I can't remember anything else about it.

Date Posted: 6/9/2012 6:33 PM ET
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Mary Janice Davidson wrote a hoot of a authors note in one of her books.  I laughed so hard.

Date Posted: 6/9/2012 10:49 PM ET
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Chris, I didn't really either, and it took a long time to get her fathers name too.  Most of the time I don't read the authors notes.

Date Posted: 6/10/2012 1:15 PM ET
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The theme of mentors and disciples is an important one in this book. Who are the stories mentors, and in what sense is each a mentor? Who are the disciples?
Date Posted: 6/10/2012 1:20 PM ET
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K, I'm doing seperate posts because I'm on my phone and it doesn't let me format my posts. Anypoodle, I think that Rossi and Paul were the only clear mentor and disciple and that in all of the other relationships each person played both parts at some point. Helen and Paul for example, Helen was a mentor in the way she showed Paul how to be adventurous but Paul was a mentor in the way he showed Helen how to be warm and more caring.

edited because autocorrect hates me.



Last Edited on: 6/10/12 2:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/10/2012 3:25 PM ET
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Chris, you said what I was thinking about Rossi being the only real mentor figure.  Interesting observation on the relationship of mentor and disciple between Paul and Helen.  I hadn't thought about that.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 6/10/2012 4:33 PM ET
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Rossi was the only official mentor, that was his specified relationship with Paul after all, but I think they all learned something from each other. It was very much a collaboration which each participant playing a necessary part that covered the other's flaws.

Date Posted: 6/10/2012 8:17 PM ET
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what about Dr James being a mentor to the cute guy that our main chick runs off with ?  Ok what is cute guys name?  and I swear that Dracula was a mentor the the evil Librarian.

Date Posted: 6/10/2012 9:10 PM ET
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There isn't a lot of intersection between James and Barley so it doesn't feel like a mentor relationship to me. Also I thought that the "evil librarian" guy was Drac taking on a different form to keep up with Paul and Helen.
Date Posted: 6/10/2012 10:25 PM ET
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I dont think the evil librarian was DRac, cause remember he was so mad that he took Rossi instead of him? 

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