cover image Monster: A Novel of Frankenstein

Monster: A Novel of Frankenstein

Dave Zeltserman. Overlook, $23.95 (222p) ISBN 978-159020-860-1

Zeltserman's latest (after One Angry Julius & Other Stories) is a campy but entertaining retelling of Mary Shelley's 1818 classic, Frankenstein. In 19th-century Germany, a young chemist and groom-to-be, Friedrich Hoffmann, is drugged and then framed for slaying his fianc%C3%A9e. After being put to death for his crime, Friedrich awakens to find himself transformed into a grotesque monster by Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a Satanist. Friedrich then embarks on a hunt for the doctor to avenge the death of his beloved%E2%80%94encountering vampires, devil-worshippers, monks, and more along the way. Friedrich is an articulate and likable narrator (though Zelsterman's capable prose falls short of Shelley's literary register) who brings up questions of morality in response to extreme evil, but this novel is more amusing than intellectually stimulating. Zeltserman certainly doesn't shy away from the gruesome; his villains, like Frankenstein and the Marquis de Sade, are underdeveloped characters whose evil natures are made clear primarily through their perverse, sadistic sexual appetites. However, for those who can stomach such scenes, Zeltserman's book is a rich and fun response to Shelley's classic. (Sept.)