I strive to pair books with travel as one might pair wine to a meal. Reading is the perfect way to pass the time while in transit, especially in moments where you do not have access to your usual devices or internet. Sitting with a gripping tale in a coffee shop, park, or on a cafe patio with a glass of wine has also become my favorite way to relax while travelling. Reading a book set in your destination offers the incredible opportunity to interact more directly with both the novel and the location.
When I sat down to try and decide which book to bring on my Swiss journey, Frankenstein instantly popped into my mind. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is easily the perfect book to read while traveling Switzerland in October, as it is a horror tale largely set in Switzerland and the Alps. I haven’t read Frankenstein since high school. So, while the story is familiar, it is still a journey of adoration and discovery.
She busied herself with following the aerial creations of the poets, and in the majestic and wondrous scenes that surrounded our Swiss home — the sublime shapes of the mountains, the changes of the seasons, tempest and calm, the silence of winter and the life and turbulence of out Alpine summers — she found ample scope for admiration and delight. *
When I was younger, I maintained an aversion to Romantic literature. Yet, as I am reading Frankenstein, I’m finding myself in quite sincere enjoyment of the use of both Gothic and Romantic styles intertwined in this twisted horror story. The visceral nature of the tale paired with Victor Frankenstein’s lengthy introspective reflections into his own psyche illustrate the true brilliance that is Mary Shelley.
Yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon sitting a few strides from Lake Zurich, enjoying my novel and a glass of wine (or two). Where I’ve left off, Victor Frankenstein had just awoken from his fever to find his monster long gone and his family in desire of word from him. I am about one third of my way through my novel and one third through my trip. More on Frankenstein and more on Switzerland is to come.
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*Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Alma Classics Edition, page 29.