Nearly Spoiler Free Review: Carmilla

“life and death are mysterious states”

Author: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

I can’t talk about this novel without getting into spoilers. but here’s the thing: You don’t need me to spoil it for you, Pop culture has already done that.

This is one of those classic novels that has ALL of the tropes, because it invented them! It really doesn’t get enough credit. You have to be a major gothic lit nerd to have heard of Carmilla.

I found this novel in a very strange way. While I would love to say that my gothic lit nerd powers lead me to this little gems, the truth is I found this book through a cheep Hammer Horror film adaptation.

Onto the novel!

Laura lives a comfortable but lonely life in her father’s country estate. One day a carriage accident results in Laura meeting a girl about her own age. Her name is Carmilla. The two young women strike up a friendship. As Carmilla stays with the family, mysterious things begin happening.

This novel takes it’s time building up the mystery and atmosphere. In the real world, most people are not going to assume that a slumber party of girls having strange dreams is cased by a supernatural force, and neither do the characters in Carmilla. Since this is a gothic novel, we the reader know the supernatural is at play, and it’s going to take the characters about 2/3 of the book to catch up to us.

It has all the gothic literature tropes, and if you read this book, you will figure out what’s going on rather quickly, but it’s deserves to be remembered as the classic that it is.

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