Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1918)
This was my second reading; I read it in high school and really liked it a lot. This time it was for my book group and upon rereading it didn't have the same effect. I knew what was going to happen and acutely felt the impending doom, which was only amplified by the incessant rain we had that week. I suppose this bleakness and suspense are the point though, right?
I had forgotten how many layers of stories were nested together in this novel. The sea captain is writing to his sister about meeting Victor Frankenstein; in which Frankenstein tells Walton his story about his experience with the monster; in which the monster tells Frankenstein about his experiences, including watching a French family in their cottage; during which he relates a tale of that family's misfortune. It's a lot to keep straight.
The novel is also fairly melodramatic, and the language was formal and a bit tiring. But it's pretty amazing taken in its historical context. Frankenstein is considered the first work of science fiction and it was written by a teenage girl. Amazing! Her life is also really interesting, although tragic, and she was a prolific writer. I'm kind of interested in what her other writing is like, but I'm not sure if I'm up for it. Has anyone read her other works? How do they compare?