Trade paperback, 354 pagesAcquired November 2012
Published 2004 (originally 1897)
Read January 2013
It's been five years since I read The Beetle (this review is a tad belated), and I feel like I need to reread it to assess it. But I also feel like that would be the case even if I had just read it. It is a strange book, a weird window into Victorian exoticism and eroticism. It is not surprising, however, that while it originally outsold its contemporary supernatural thriller Dracula, Dracula has persisted while The Beetle has not. Both are very Victorian, but The Beetle is perhaps particularly Victorian. The kind of racialized and sexualized Other that haunts this novel no longer haunts us, or at least not in this way. The book is almost impossible to describe, though; when I find myself wanting to recommend it to someone (and that takes a very particular kind of someone), all I can really do is just shove it into their hands because anything I can say would be inadequate.