A Relentless Pursuit

The second sequel to Frankenstein that I’ve read recently was Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe. It was nice contrast to A Monster’s Notes. Stuff happened. Lots of stuff. There’s a plot, passionate characters, crazed villains, pursuits, assaults, burning houses and surprise twists (that I sort of guessed but I’m not the best audience to try to surprise).

Even better O’Keefe was clearly trying to write a sequel to Shelley’s actual novel rather than the Frankenstein story. If you have to ask what the difference is you probably haven’t read the novel. Or you’re not me.

It’s a decade after Frankenstein died on Walton’s ship and Walton has been pursuing Frankenstein’s creation ever since. The novel is narrated by the creature through the journals he obsessively writes. (He also obsessively steals books, a touch I quite liked.) After a disastrous encounter with Walton in Venice the creature turns to England with the intension of revenging himself on his tormentor by destroying Walton’s family. And then things get complicated.

This was my favorite of the Frankenstein sequels and take offs I’ve read. O’Keefe is faithful to the event’s of the original and any changes can be considered to be simply events or details that Frankenstein left out of his original tale rather than alterations of that tale. The monster is still a sympathetic character and yet still likely to kill innocent people out of his fits of rages and feelings of isolation.