8.3.08

The romantic past

It seems like vampire books are harder to get rid of than vampires. And finally, someone explains why in a way that makes sense to me.

Columbia University comparative literature professor Jenny Davidson, 36, who is the author of a forthcoming paranormal YA book, The Explosionist, argued that vampire books going back to Dracula, Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, often represent anxiety about modernity. "The Stoker novel really is a book about technology and modernity," she told me. "It really is a book about telegraphs and letter-writing and wax cylinders that you might record madmen speaking onto. And that intersects with the idea that the vampire isn't modern, the vampire is from the deep past. ... The vampire seems to be a place for that intersection--very modern, but very much from the romantic past."

~ quoted over at About Last Night from a New York Observer article about a surfeit of vampires in current teen fiction.

I have just read an advance copy of Jenny Davidson's The Explosionist (thanks to Laura Fetterly at Harper Collins) and I can tell you two things:
#1: it doesn't contain a single vampire
#2: it's fab

I have to check the pub date on this but you'll be hearing more about it here soon. The novel's plot has heavy spiritualist content and I'll take a good ghost story over a vampire story any day. Also, it's set in an Edinburgh that just as real and unreal as Lyra's Oxford. Does anybody know the correct term for a futurist novel that's set in the past? Because that's The Explosionist.

4 comments:

bookwitch said...

I believe someone mentioned Jenny Davidson just the other day. Coincidence.

Tell me more. It sounds very promising.

Adrienne said...

Speculative historical fiction?
Love the blog....

O'Leary said...

Thanks for that.
I will write more about The Explosionist soon, I promise. Meantime you can check out Jenny Davidson's blog at Light Reading.

Lee said...

I've read it and will be blogging about it soon - the good, and there's a lot of good, and the not-so-good.