Being how The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is considered a classical story, its success is undeniable. It has remained culturally relevant for years after its publication and has been the subject of many parodies and adaptions. It’s spawned an idiom, “like Jekyll and Hyde”, which spoils the twist at the end of this novel.
As a fan of contemporary horror fiction, jumping back into the earlier roots of the horror genre was delightful. The Victorian setting was a peek into the windows of the past where modern technology and policing techniques did not exist. People like Jack the Ripper existed and thrived in this macabre world. Mr. Hyde, the darker side of Dr. Jekyll, thrived here. While the narrative did not go into the details of his crimes, Dr. Jekyll’s confession was enough to ensure evil things had taken place. It’s left to the reader’s imagination.
The language in the narrative was beautiful. The sentences were constructed in a manner which contemporary writing simply doesn’t use anymore. Understandably, it was a tad bit on the dry side in some parts and weirdly like purple prose at others. Due to this, the pacing in the book was slow until the last parts of the book where Jekyll’s confession comes to light. This is where the story shines. Jekyll’s fall into darkness and his addiction to his evil nature was heartbreaking, enlightening, and tragic.
Unfortunately, with the payoff at the end spoiled for me, the novel didn’t pack the same punch it would have for the unknowing reader. More upsetting is this novel’s lack any sense of atmosphere, tension, sense of dread, or feeling of being unsettled. Perhaps, its a product of reading contemporary authors. At no point in this story did I feel like the main character was a mortal danger or did I truly come to care about whether or not they lived or died. The main narrator was a vehicle only for which the story needed to be told through.
Overall, this novel was a nice step out of my comfort zone but I wouldn’t want to jump into anymore classical stories any time soon.