Thursday, March 17, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Another Famous Tolstoy

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Famous Tolstoy

Many people have heard of Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace), but not everyone knows that his cousin, Alexis Tolstoy, wrote vampires stories. I can’t find any of them online and his book,Vampires: Stories of the Supernatural, is out of print, but it is for sale on various sites that sell used books.

That book contains three stories: The VampireFamily of a Vourdalak (dramatized by Boris Karloff in the movie, Black Sabbath, 1963), The Reunion After Three Hundred Years, and Amena. No favorites for me here; all four are exceptionally well-written.

The novella Vampire (1841) opens with young man, Runevsky, attending a ball. One guest comments about the number oupyrs (vampires) present at the event and points them out to Runevsky. Of course, Runevsky falls in love with the granddaughter, Dasha, of one of the purported vampires and begins to court her. Strange things happen to him when he visits the family. When they tell fortunes by reading random passages from books, Dasha reads the chilling, “And the grandmother will suck her granddaughter’s blood.” Then Runevsky spends the night in a room that contains an old-fashioned portrait of a deceased relative, who naturally resembles Dasha. Known as the first modern Russian vampire story, The Vampire also weaves elements of Greek mythology and contains interesting dream states.

The short story Family of a Vourdalak is the story of a Russian patriarch that leaves home to fight a band of bandits. He tells his family if returns after sunset on a particular day not to let him inside, for he will be a vourdalak (vampire). Since he arrives immediately at sunset, the family is uncertain what to do and allow him entrance. Wrong decision.

In The Reunion After Three Hundred Years, a duchess, after a carriage accident, becomes the guest at a macabre reunion of guests. Amena is set during the Christian persecutions. A man, destined to be martyred for his faith with his companions, is sidetracked by a seductively mysterious woman.

I first read this book at my local library, so perhaps yours has it, too. Definitely worth the price if you buy.

Denise M. Baran-Unland

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