Book Club Wednesday: The Vampire of Mons!
OKAY, let’s quietly move our chairs into a semi-circle formation, on account of it’s time for Ted Parsnips’ Book Club. I said quietly!
Today we’ll be discussing “The Vampire of Mons” by Desmond Stuart and I hope you all read it. It was on your reading list, and as you know it was available at the Elephant’s Trunk Thrift Store in Venice, Florida, for 25¢, at least until I bought it about a year and a half ago. After that, you were on your own. I don’t know what to tell you. Look for it on Amazon or something. Or take a zero for this assignment.
Anyway, I finally got around to reading it. And the thing is, I’m trying not to be a total jackass here. I don’t want to cruelly mock other creative endeavors, or the creative types that endeavor to…create…them just because I can, from the relative safety of my ivory keyboard. Because we all have feelings. There’s no reason for me to rip apart someone else’s work just because I can, right…?
Having said that, Desmond Stewart died thirty years ago, he’s not reading this, and this “novel” of his was a steaming pile of crap.
Look, for my 25¢ I want a good story, not just a good cover. And the cover was good. The cover is what sold me. I spent my two bits based on this cover. You’ve got the menacing guy front and center – presumably the vampire – and then two boys behind him, and then some kid standing in a field or something by himself below.
And you know I was drawn in by the cover, because the damn book is falling apart and I still invested a quarter on it.
Turns out this book was nothing but a gay “A Separate Piece.” Oh – oh, excuse me – a gayer “Separate Peace.” A gayer “Separate Peace” but instead of just that vague Gene-and-Finny thing going on, there’s four characters involved, and one of them is the teacher. And despite the title…? There was no vampire! They just thought there was a vampire!
What a gyp!
And just like John Knowles’ creepy paean to subtle teenage homoeroticism and obsession, this thing takes place in a boarding school during the Second World War.
But in England. Though you’d never know that from the cover because none of the people in the cover artwork look British. Awful, awful, book – terrible, meandering, pointless, absurd story and misleading cover art all of which may add up to a lawsuit against The Elephant Trunk; I’m still discussing my options with my attorney.
What’s fascinating, though, is the back cover features a quote raving about the book:
“Many thanks for THE VAMPIRE OF MONS which I swallowed in one sitting. I thought it was the most interesting Gothic novel I have read for some time, and I particularly admired the accurate horrors of the kind of wartime boarding-school and all the underlying symbolism of the situation.”
And that quote, ladies and gentlemen, that quote is attributed to John Fowles. I’m serious! It’s like John Knowles, but with an F instead of an Kn. What does this all mean?
Who cares! It’s going into the trash now. Any of you who liked it, you’re wrong and you will be graded accordingly.