Author Lianyu Tan recommends Carmilla and Laura by S.D. Simper
Welcome to Authors Getting Rec’d! Each week, we’ll bring you a new sapphic book recommendation from a favorite sapphic author. Find out what authors are reading and why, plus read about the personal connections between authors and books.
This week, Lianyu Tan explains why Carmilla and Laura is a must read.
Lianyu was looking for a modernized experience of Le Fanu’s classic Carmilla and loves this genre. She is also internet/social media friends with S.D. Simper. Lianyu has read this book more than once.
Let’s hear more from Lianyu about why Carmilla and Laura is a must read:
I greatly enjoyed this retelling of Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu. Still set in 19th century Styria, CARMILLA AND LAURA expands on the backstory/sideplots for both characters and re-imagines the ending for a modern audience. It’s a long novella, around 25% longer than the original (40k or 160pp), retaining Laura’s first person point of view and a framing device. While the language is much more accessible and enjoyable, it retains the spirit of the original.
It keeps much of the gothic aspects of the original, the creeping horror and duality of desire and revulsion. Carmilla by Le Fanu was pretty sensual for the time but this version ratchets it up a notch; Carmilla and Laura bang as much as you’d expect from two horny teenagers living in a house where they have to keep their relationship secret from everyone else, which is to say, a lot (although Carmilla is not strictly a teen, being still several hundred years old). These scenes are always handled well with a light and practised touch (although never in a flowery way), with a view to Laura’s delicate sensibilities and internalised homophobia.
I loved the re-imagined ending, although I’m fond of the original as well. I don’t think you need to have read Le Fanu’s version to enjoy this, although if you have any interest at all in classic vampire lit you probably should. 5/5 would bang the creepy chick with the white nightdress and bloodied face.