Like the storm in Whitby, where Bram Stoker was inspired to write the novel Dracula, this classic work is one part sublime beauty, one part dark, gothic horror. If Stoker had wanted someone to tell his tale, he could not have gotten a better dramatization than this, done by Rob Goll.
Through the years this novel has inspired much in the way of popular culture, with its timeless themes of good vs. evil, immortality, religion, etc. This audio rendering stays true to Stoker’s work and brings forth, with its emotional intensity, the underlying current of the power of friendship and love. Goll is able to both startle and frighten, as well as deliver such beautiful and memorable lines as: (Stoker’s dialectic spelling not changed).
“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”
“Loneliness will sit over our roofs with brooding wings.”
“I will not let you go into the unknown alone.”
“It is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles. And yet when King Laugh come, he make them all dance to the tune he play. Bleeding hearts, and dry bones of the churchyard, and tears that burn as they fall, all dance together to the music that he make with that smileless mouth of him. Ah, we men and women are like ropes drawn tight with strain that pull us different ways. Then tears come, and like the rain on the ropes, they brace us up, until perhaps the strain become too great, and we break. But King Laugh he come like the sunshine, and he ease off the strain again, and we bear to go on with our labor, what it may be.”
Several times in the novel there are scenes where all the characters are together, speaking. Goll is able to both maintain the array of voices and accents, while they are all speaking, delivering their lines with seamless fluidly. (Chapter XV is a must read for anyone thinking to pursue audio narration professionally).
The enigmatic character of Renfield is also played brilliantly. Stocker gives us insight into his madness and lucidity during the passages where he appears. Goll very effectively delivers both sides of this character, going back and forth between his delusions, his tenuous grip on reality, and his devotion to the Count, influenced by Dracula himself.
This narration is worth a listen if only for Chapter 25. Here Mina, languishing between the world of the undead and the living, delivers some of the novel’s most heart-rending passages. This listener needed to step away at certain points so overwhelming was the emotion.
Dracula is admittedly one of my favorite novels. With a bit of trepidation I began this audio book listen. Goll, with his classical theatrical background and his experience narrating both solo and group dramatizations, with over 40 titles listed on Audible, brought this novel to life for me without the stereotypical interpretation many bring to this work. It also left me with a greater appreciation of Stoker’s genius.
This audiobook can be purchased here: