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6.20.2012

Review: Vampires: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Stalk the Night by Bob Curran

Vampires: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Stalk the Night by Bob Curran, illustrated by Ian Daniels
Non-Fiction, Vampires
Paperback $14.99 (218 pages, NEW PAGE BOOKS)
Ebook $9.99

"Vampire!" The very word conjures up visions of ruined castles, of enigmatic, pale-skinned noblemen shrouded in dark cloaks, of slumbering beauties being bloodily ravished by supernatural, nocturnal creatures. But just how accurate is that picture? How much do we really know about these mysterious entities?
Surprisingly, perhaps, almost every culture can boast of its own vampire beings, few of which correspond to the stock Hollywood image-some are not even human in form, some do not drink blood, some appear in daylight. Are you ready for such horrors as the Penangal, the screaming blood-soaked lead that drifts through the Malayan jungle seeking victims; the Jaracacca, the Brazilian stalker that hides in the clothes of its victims to drink their blood or bodily fluids; or the Aswang, the scaly demon of the Philippines, who lies among the leafy roofs of huts and drinks through its tongue?
And how do we dispose of vampires? Is the simple stake through the heart-much beloved of Hollywood directors-really enough, or is there something more? And does the sight of the crucifix repel all vampires-what if the vampire is Jewish (a dibbyuk)?
Vampires is a unique, lavishly illustrated work that explores the rich diversity of vampire belief and lore, ranging from countries as diverse as Japan, Sweden and Ireland, looking at their historical origins, and setting them in their cultural context.
 
Publisher Site: newpagebooks.com

A starting point for lore lovers... (4 stars)

I really enjoy reading collections of lore that feature classic mythological entities. One of my favorites is the vampire simply because a form of it exists in nearly every culture. Bob Curran's field guide touches on many familiar sources of vampire mythology and many I was not aware of. Though I was somewhat familiar with the Asiatic creatures we could call vampires they are by far some of the creepier and more diverse, which made them particularly interesting to read about. Ian Daniels' illustrations give dimension to the different chapters and help give a visual to some of the more unusual incarnations of vampire.

I would recommend Vampires: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Stalk the Night to anyone who hasn't taken the time to explore vampire myths beyond the traditional Hollywood types prevalent in Western culture. While not an exhaustive guide I found it to be an interesting and imagination provoking collective worth the read.




Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

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