Audiobook: Carmilla


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Published in 1872, Carmilla is an early work in the vampire literature genre and is incidentally one of the most influential of its type. The gothic novella accounts the tale of Laura, a young woman who becomes susceptible to the friendship and seductive charms of the mysterious Carmilla. A gripping tale of coincidence, mystery, compulsion, dark romance, and deception, Le Fanu’s classic is regarded as having paved the way for modern takes on vampires.

Narrated by Laura, the novel opens with a recount of her childhood, as she depicts growing up in a beautiful, yet solitary castle encompassed by a forest in Styria, Austria. Living with her father, a wealthy English retiree and widower, Laura remembers an uncanny childhood dream where she had been visited in her bedroom. Furthermore, she claims to have been bitten during the visionary encounter, though there are no evident wounds to support her claim. As time passes from this incident, Laura grows into a virtuous young woman longing for a friend to ease her life of solitude, but is disappointed when a potential friend mysteriously dies. However, her wish is finally fulfilled when a coach accident occurs near her home, resulting in the injury of the young girl inside who is later introduced as Carmilla and welcomed as a temporary guest in their household. Both girls immediately recognize each other from the distant dreams. Due to urgent business, Carmilla’s mysterious mother reluctantly agrees to leave her daughter in the care of Laura and her father, but not without a stern warning not to disclose any information about their family or herself. Although the two girls quickly become good friends and form an intimate bond, Carmilla incites much curiosity with her adamant secrecy and bizarre behavior, which slowly leads to the unraveling of her startling secret.

Moreover, Carmilla provided the template for later vampire fiction, including Bram Stoker’s masterpiece Dracula, which alludes to many elements found in its predecessor. In addition, Le Fanu effectively evokes an atmosphere of suspense and uneasiness. An eerie, beguiling, and enigmatic novella, Le Fanu’s piece offers a tale that is sure to leave audiences fascinated with its ingenious portrayal of its characters, horror, and taboos of the time.

You are listening Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan LeFanu.
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