Friday, November 28, 2014

From the Z Shelf...

Author: Zeltserman, Dave
Title: Monster, A Novel of Frankenstein 

For me, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is more sad than scary; truth be told, I've always felt sorry for the monster.  Zeltserman must feel the same way. His retelling of Frankenstein is told from the monster's point of view (and his portrayal of Victor Frankenstein is not a very flattering one--in his version Frankenstein is well-acquainted with the Marquis de Sade). Zeltserman's sympathies lie with the "monster" who once was a man. Before he died, Friedrich Hoffman led a scholarly life and had a fiancee he loved very much; now his fiancee is dead, the world thinks he murdered her, and he's become an abomination thanks to Frankenstein's experimentation.
"I am a dead thing brought to life by dark satanic forces. There is no cure that could help me. ... As Friedrich Hoffman I led a gentle life with barely any harsh thoughts pervading my mind, and certainly never any regarding revenge and murder. Now I was consumed with such thoughts, and it worried me that my soul might become as coarse as my outer appearance."
It's the other side of the story. Still not a happy one, but an interesting take on Mary Shelley's classic novel. I liked Zeltserman's writing and his imaginative portrait of a monster and a man. (Who are sometimes one and the same.) Friedrich Hoffman, while far from perfect, is still a sympathetic character...and one I liked. This book was definitely a serendipitous find from the Z shelf. See what happens when you go to the library without any lists in hand? Maybe Reading the Alphabet wasn't such a bad idea after all. Here's hoping I find some equally serendipitous reads from authors whose last names begin with X and Y.

Happy Reading!


  1. Sounds like you found a good one! Good luck on those other shelves.

    1. Thanks! My main goal is just to have fun with it. (And hopefully run across some good books to read.)

  2. Love seeing a classic told from another point of view! One of my favorites is Grendel by John Gardner and a totally different view of the Beowulf saga.

    Oh, the only one I could think of is a Chinese mystery writer: Qiu Xiaolong. I've read a couple of his books and enjoyed them.

    1. Xiaolong and Grendel...I'm writing them down. :) We'll see how good the Salt Lake County Library system really is. Thanks!