Monday, 1 April 2013

'I Am Legend' - Richard Matheson

So far, all of the books that I have blogged about have been haunted (excuse the pun!) by ghosts. . .I Am Legend is a whole different part to the Modern Gothic genre altogether.  A lot of people will have seen the film but not really thought a lot about where it came from originally - Richard Matheson's book.  The book itself has so far been the low point of my journey into the genre - I couldn't get into it and to be honest I found it quite dry. 

Set in a futuristic time when all but one person has been turned into a vampire by an airborne virus like bug, Robert Neville is the hero who must survive amongst the monsters that his friends and neighbours have become.  The story follows his external battle to protect himself and try to find other survivors whilst researching the cause and cure of the virus.  At the same time, the reader is shown Neville's internal battle against depression and alcoholism.

We see Robert Neville killing the vampires around him and feel the more touching side to his relationship with his now deceased wife, Virginia.  Both Virginia and his daughter were overcome by the virus in the early days with most of his neighbours which left Neville with no hope and no family to speak of.  Whilst out killing vampires, Neville meets a young women who has apparently not been infected and he befriends her, takes her to his house and looks after her. 

Although there are many signs that this new girl is infected, Neville does not find out for sure that she is until he wakes up the next morning to find a note from her confessing all.  The vampires have started up a new society and their aim is to kill Robert - they have come to hate him as much as he hates them.

 Without wanting to sound at all sexist, this book does seem more aimed at men than women.  I can't exactly put my finger on why I think this but I can certainly say it has been my least favourite of the books I have read so far.

I did buy the film so maybe I will watch it some day but not until I have forgotten how much I really didn't enjoy the book.


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