Hydeby Daniel Levine
A New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of the Washington Post’s 5 Best Thrillers of the Year “[A] knockout debut novel . . . As dark and twisted and alluring as the night-cloaked streets of nineteenth-century London, and this book is as much a fascinating psychological query as it is a gripping narrative.”/i>/i>
A New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of the Washington Post’s 5 Best Thrillers of the Year “[A] knockout debut novel . . . As dark and twisted and alluring as the night-cloaked streets of nineteenth-century London, and this book is as much a fascinating psychological query as it is a gripping narrative.” —Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon Summoned to life by strange potions, Hyde knows not when or how long he will have control of “the body.” When dormant, he watches Dr. Jekyll from a remove, conscious of this other, high-class life but without influence. As the experiment continues, their mutual existence is threatened, not only by the uncertainties of untested science, but also by a mysterious stalker. Hyde is being taunted—possibly framed. Girls have gone missing; someone has been killed. Who stands watching in the shadows? In the blur of this shared consciousness, can Hyde ever be confident these crimes were not committed by his hand? “A pleasure . . . Rich in gloomy, moody atmosphere (Levine’s London has a brutal steampunk quality), and its narrator’s plight is genuinely poignant.” —New York Times Book Review
Narrated by Dr. Henry Jekyll, Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic embodiment of the dark side of the human consciousness, this ambitious first novel provides an alternate perspective on Jekyll’s chemical experiments on the split personality. Edward Hyde first emerges independent of Jekyll on the streets of London in 1884—not as the malevolent brute that Stevenson conjured, but as a member of the lower classes who is fiercely protective of his and Hyde’s friends and interests. But over the course of two years, Hyde develops a reputation for evil that confounds him—and that he suspects is being engineered by Jekyll, whose consciousness lurks inside his own, steering him into certain assignations and possibly committing atrocities while in his form. Levine slowly unfolds the backstory of Jekyll’s schemes for Hyde, relating to his earlier failed “treatment” of a patient with a multiple-personality disorder, and traumatic events from Jekyll’s own childhood that come to light in the novel’s tragic denouement. Levine’s evocation of Victorian England is marvelously authentic, and his skill at grounding his narrative in arresting descriptive images is masterful (of the haggard, emotionally troubled Jekyll, he writes, “He looked as if he’d survived an Arctic winter locked within a ship frozen fast in the wastes”). If this exceptional variation on a classic has any drawback, it’s that it particularizes to a single character a malaise that Stevenson originally presented belonging universally to the human condition. (Mar.)
It's Mr. Hyde's turn as unreliable narrator in this literary reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Accused of murder and sexual trafficking of minors, Hyde has hidden himself in Jekyll's closet. As he awaits discovery he unfurls a tale that sheds doubt on Jekyll's innocence—but does it absolve Hyde? Levine's palette includes every shade of gray as he explores moral ambiguity and mental anguish in this psychological gothic. VERDICT Levine's debut novel is deviously plotted but relies a great deal on readers having a close familiarity with the parent text, while the anachronistically graphic descriptions of sex and violence may be off-putting for some. On the other hand, readers who enjoy the grittier crime fiction of Dennis Lehane, James Ellroy, and John Connolly might give it a try.—Liv Hanson, Chicago
Levine debuts with a dark literary-fiction re-imagining of the macabre tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. Dr. Jekyll's an "alienist," precursor of the psychiatrist, but it's Hyde who seizes control and rips the narrative open. Jekyll's studied in Paris recently, supposedly treating a man with multiple personalities, but after returning from France, Jekyll has befuddled those who know him best with his machinations--Utterson, his attorney, Lanyon, a fellow physician, and Poole, his butler. It seems he's brought chemicals that provoke an exchange of one personality for another, and secretly, Jekyll's dosing himself. Levine's rendering of bustling Victorian London, misty-cold winters and summers "filled with gauzy lemony light," provides the stage for Hyde's midnight, fog-shrouded ramblings from tavern to brothel. Levine's tale is dense, layered, sometimes obscure, its twisted origins resting with Jekyll's dead father, who inflicted upon the boy perverse sexual manipulations and other cruelties. With the potion, the buried perversions flower as Hyde plunges into London's debauched quarters, driven by Jekyll's sexual deviations. Hyde beds Jeannie, 14-year-old street girl, and then installs her at a derelict mansion he's leased, only to recognize he's acting out Jekyll's impotence in consummating a sexual relationship with married Georgiana, a lost love. Levine's characters are fully realized, but many are abandoned in narrative cul-de-sacs: a housekeeper, a Tarot reader, a maid who has been raped. Levine's masterful in his surrealistic observations of Hyde subsuming Jekyll. Hyde is all unfettered compulsion yet selfishly connected to his better nature because "[h]e was my hideout, my sanctuary." The fracture comes with Hyde's murder of Jekyll's acquaintance, Sir Danvers X. Carew, MP, part of the London Committee for the Suppression of Traffic in Young English Girls, after which Hyde-Jekyll retreat to an abandoned surgery with a dwindling supply of the chemical catalyst. Cleverly imagined and sophisticated in execution, this book may appeal to those who like magical realism and vampire stories, but the latter should know that the book is more intellectual than thriller.
“[An] ingenious revision . . . exposing the tender heart inside the brute and emphasizing the pathos of his predicament . . . A pleasure . . . [and] a worthy companion to its predecessor. It’s rich in gloomy, moody atmosphere (Levine’s London has a brutal steampunk quality), and its narrator’s plight is genuinely poignant.” — New York Times Book Review “Riveting Hyde renders evil in shades of gray . . . in his spellbinding first novel [Levine] offers many surprises and rich, often intoxicating prose. It’s a fascinating read.” — Washington Post “Levine’s account is a masterpiece of hallucination; his narrator is feverish, righteous, intense . . . And about that confession: Hyde doesn’t open it, and neither does Levine. He leaves it to Stevenson, to whom he is faithful with his prose. The shockers may be born of this century, but this chilling new version is a remarkably good fit with the original horror classic.” — Miami Herald “Levine’s intelligent and brutal first novel, Hyde, puts a fresh spin on the well-worn material . . . It goes beyond a companion piece to an independent novel worth reading in its own right.” — Columbus Dispatch “Hyde is masterfully told, with plenty of damp and spooky London gothic atmosphere . . . A haunting yarn with a sumptuous Victorian atmosphere exquisitely re-imagines Stevenson’s ‘monster,’ the maligned Hyde.” — Shelf Awareness “Richly detailed and engrossing portrait of psychological disintegration.” — LitReactor “Levine’s evocation of Victorian England is marvelously authentic, and his skill at grounding his narrative in arresting descriptive images is masterful.” — Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review “Ambitious and imaginative . . . Taking the parameters of Stevenson’s story, but deepening and extending the details, Levine allows us to view Hyde not merely as the venal incarnation of Jekyll’s soul, but as a fully fledged character in his own right—and, in many ways, a sympathetic one as well . . . With compelling intensity, Levine makes a noteworthy literary debut.” — BookPage “Levine’s masterful in his surrealistic observations of Hyde subsuming Jekyll . . . Cleverly imagined and sophisticated in execution.” — Kirkus Reviews “Prepare to be seduced by literary devilry! Go back to Victorian times to find a very postmodern whodunit. Visceral prose, atmosphere you could choke on, characters who seem to be at your very shoulder. My sole regret after spending several hours inside Daniel Levine’s highly literate thriller is that I didn’t think of Hyde for myself.” — Ronald Frame, author of Havisham “A gloriously disturbing portrait of man’s animal nature ascendant, Hyde brings into the light the various horrors still hidden in the dark heart of Stevenson’s classic tale of monstrosity and addiction. It’s Levine’s extraordinary achievement to give voice to a creature capable of indulging every impulse of transgression, while driving its higher self to damnation. Devious and ingenious, Hyde is a blazing triumph of the gothic imagination.” — Patrick McGrath, author of Asylum, Martha Peake, Spider, and others “This rich, allusive, erudite novel is a welcome reminder of what a tour de force really is.” — David Leavitt, author of The Indian Clerk and many others “Levine locates the strange beneath the familiar in this intricately imagined, meticulously executed debut. You may think you know Dr. Jekyll, but this Hyde is a different beast altogether.” — Jon Clinch, author of Finn and The Thief of Auschwitz “Levine has staked his claim to one of the most compelling stories of all time, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and brilliantly made it his own in this knockout debut novel. The mind of Hyde is as dark and twisted and alluring as the night-cloaked streets of nineteenth century London, and this book is as much a fascinating psychological query as it is a gripping narrative.” — Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon, The Wilding, and Refresh, Refresh
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Read an Excerpt
Henry Jekyll is dead.
I whisper the words and then listen, as if I’ve dropped a stone into a well and await the plunk and splash . . . But inside my head there is only silence. All around me a chorus of celebratory noises fills the void: the simmering pop of the coals in the stove, the nautical creak of the whole wooden cabinet, and a faint, high-pitched cheeping from beyond the windows that sounds almost like baby birds. Here I sit in Jekyll’s chair by these three encrusted casement windows, with his mildewed overcoat draped about my shoulders like a travelling cloak. My journey’s end. The transformation has never felt so smooth before. No spinning sickness, no pain. Just a gentle dissolution: Jekyll evaporating like atomic particles into the air and leaving me behind in the body. This time for good.
Extinction. That was the word Darwin used in his book, which Jekyll befouled weeks ago and then dumped from the chamber pot out the window (no doubt it still lies down there in the yard like a spine-broken bird tumbled from flight). Extinction. Do the races of men, Darwin said, encroach on and replace one another, so that some finally become extinct? Jekyll refused to explain this concept to me. But now I begin to glimpse what extinction really means. I have been singled out. Selected for survival.
The fine hairs along my forearm rise into filaments. I look down at my left hand, resting in my lap like a pale crab, belly-up, the fingers loosely curled. The fraying cuff of Jekyll’s shirt is folded back once, revealing the lavender tail of the vein that runs to my wrist. Gingerly I draw the cuff farther up the arm and see the purple lines of infection fork and branch into darkened tributaries that reconverge at the crook of my elbow, which I bare with a hissing wince. The abscess in the notch has gone black, juicy and fat, like a blood-gorged spider at the heart of its web, its abdomen a-throb. I brush my thumb down the cubital vein, hard as a violin string under the skin and scattered with systematic punctures, some scabbed over and some red and fresh, my various points of entry. Look at what he’s left me. What he’s made me do. All those experimental powders, those double injections—and for what? The end is the same.
My pulse thumps in vindication as I turn in the chair and stare across the cabinet laboratory at Jekyll’s writing desk. The white envelope sits propped up against the brass-and-bell-glass lamp. Just as he left it an hour ago. Even in this wan light I can read the elaborate contour of ink across the envelope face: Gabriel John Utterson. For the past week I have watched Jekyll scratch out those buckled pages of frantic confession that are folded inside this envelope. Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of the Case. Possessed by his own demented monologue, Jekyll would scribble, lips twisting, for hours—and then he would stop cold and glance up, as if he’d detected a furtive footstep from behind. Amazed, I peered out, surrounded by the pump of his blood, the fizzling whisper of his thoughts, and watched him ease open the lowest drawer of the desk, lift the false wooden bottom, and stash the accumulating pages in the secret under-space compartment. As if he somehow hoped to hide them from me. As if he believed I could not read through his own eyes every word he was writing—believed I would rip his precious manifesto to scraps if he were to leave it lying in the open. Lunacy! And yet after all that, this very morning when he is finally finished, what does he do? He stuffs the pages into that envelope, addresses the crazy thing to his best friend and solicitor, and props it up right bloody there on his desk for me to destroy at my leisure!
I won’t destroy it, of course. I have no reason to touch it. Let Utterson find it and read it. The solicitor is no fool. From the moment he first heard my name fall from Jekyll’s lips, Utterson knew he was not being given the story entire but rather a carefully manicured account. Why should Jekyll’s written confession be any different? From the first line, Utterson will see that the statement is anything but full, that it is little more than his friend’s dying, desperate protestation of innocence. Why should I waste the effort? No, I won’t deny Jekyll his pathetic self-exoneration. But neither will I let him have the final say.
I don’t know how much longer I have before Poole realises it’s me festering up here—the wanted murderer Edward Hyde—and not his master. Jekyll’s man to the last, trusty old Poole. Twice a day for the past two months, he’s been ferrying his master’s meals on a tray with a domed silver cover across the gravel courtyard from Big House: charred bangers and glutinous eggs and a leaky slice of grilled tomato for breakfast, then a chop or chicken or minced pie sometimes for supper. But this arrangement won’t continue indefinitely. Surely this evening, the moment Poole throws open the rusty steel door, he will feel the change, like a temperature drop, in the gloomy depths of the surgery block below me. With chilled breath he will stand at the foot of the stairs, holding the tray, staring up the dark rickety ascent at the cabinet door behind which I crouch. Will he climb up to the door himself and knock? Or will he fetch Utterson to do it? Yes, it will be Utterson who knocks, Utterson who shouts out, Harry, open this door at once! Jekyll knew his friend would be coming, of course. Jekyll knew how it all would end: Utterson pounding at the door and Poole a step below, armed with some implement to smash the door down, that black-headed axe with a silver gleam along its lip. Take it down, Poole! Utterson will cry, and the door will jump and crack as the blade bites in. Our saviours, who will arrive far too late to save anyone.
I shake off a ripple of goose flesh and peer out one of the three iron-framed casement windows that overlook the white gravel yard. A low stratum of morning fog moves like dense liquid over the stones. Above the boxy, silhouetted back end of the surgery block, to the east, the sky is soft cerulean blue, ribbed with pink fire. My breath mists up the glass, and I draw back, wipe the pane with the squeaky meat of my palm. Seven o’clock. Jekyll stopped winding his pocket watch over a month ago, but I can tell the hour by the light and by Poole’s comings and goings. Breakfast at half past eight, and supper at six. I have some time yet. And anyhow, the end will not come today. I am oddly certain of this. I have been selected. Granted this final spell of solitude, alone in the body, to set our story straight. I don’t want to die with Jekyll’s hectic lies echoing in my mind like the jeers of a mob at an execution. I don’t want to die at all, but if there’s no escaping it, then at the very least I want to remember everything properly first, the way it truly happened. The truth is inside this head. I simply must extract it. In the end no one will know it but me, but that will be enough. I shut my eyes, blow out a trembling breath. A nerve in my hand is twitching an erratic pulse, like a telegraphic code. Tap-tap, tap, down the wire.
I am alone, I whisper.
I am all alone.
Meet the Author
DANIEL LEVINE studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Brown University and received his MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Florida. He has taught composition and creative writing at high schools and universities, including the University of Florida, Montclair State University, and Metropolitan State College of Denver. Originally from New Jersey, he now lives in Colorado.
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This book is written from a psychological view point of Dr.Jekyll's alter ego, Mr.Hyde. The story is interesting in that it feels real, a story of decent into mental illness, instead of the traditional parable of good vs. evil. I found Levine to be an engaging writer.
The story is quite different from Hyde's view. I almost felt sorry for him. It was well written, and somewhat scary. The historical details showed that is was a different time and place for the characters. Overall, it was pretty good.
Daniel Levine’s HYDE situates the reader so firmly in the world of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic that at first it’s difficult to see why a retelling is in order. Descriptive details are meticulously matched, and the novel picks up right about where the novella left off, with Hyde barricaded in the cabinet, awaiting his end. As the novel unfolds, however, it becomes clear that Levine has created a vibrant world of his own. HYDE goes beyond simply filling in the gaps left by Stevenson’s curiously circuitous storytelling: It pulls apart the story as we think we know it and uses the pieces to construct something more sinister, a narrative rich in detail and full of troubling questions about human nature and the true nature of villainy. Levine’s Victorian London is alluringly dark and beautifully rendered. With effortless, unaffected prose he evokes the sights, smells, and sensations of an era that is at once removed enough to be exciting and close enough to be tangible. The reader acts as voyeur, following Hyde in his journeys into London’s seediest quarters, his thrill and his paranoia made palpable by the writing. Not only its prose, but also its construction contributes to the novel’s feel of suspense. One of the most striking things about Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is that the narrative is pieced together through different accounts, most of them secondhand: Even when Jekyll gives his final confession, it is through the filter of a letter, read after his death. HYDE is more immediate, with Hyde himself narrating in the first person, and yet Levine still evokes this sense of a story coming together one bit at a time from different, sometimes-unreliable sources. As Hyde reflects, in the present, on the events that have led him to this final stand, he comes to new realizations about who has been pulling the strings and about how much he can really trust his own actions. It’s all the reader can do to breathlessly keep up with Hyde as he navigates each new twist and revelation. Levine doesn’t totally leave behind the weird science of Stevenson: Jekyll and Hyde’s metamorphoses are not just psychological, and involve both a strange unspecified chemical mixture and physical transformations. However, HYDE calls into question the assumption that this transformation is a fantasy that straightforwardly represents the good and evil of mankind. Hyde is not simply a dark double who can do no right. The split between Jekyll and Hyde is far more complicated, showcasing not two, but many different facets of human nature. Hyde is at times virtuous and Jekyll is at times monstrous, and the entirety of the person that is Jekyll/Hyde (split personalities, traumatic past, uncertain motivations) is always partially hidden from view. The metaphor becomes not just that every person has a dark side, but rather that every person has a complex and contradictory set of personality traits vying with one another, not all of which are readily visible or understood. With Hyde no longer acting as the ultimate villain, in HYDE we see that role taken up in part by abusive parental figures, and a society of people quick to take down a scapegoat but far less eager to examine their own complicity in immoral systems. The complicated nature of villainy, brought to life by Levine’s rich prose and his construction of complex, nuanced characters, makes HYDE not only a compelling read, but also one that casts a critical light on how we judge ourselves and others.
HYDE reveals the largely untold story of Mr. Hyde’s half-existence, based on Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. Hyde remains trapped in Dr. Jekyll’s home even after Dr. Jekyll himself has died, and in the long four days of waiting for the consequences of his and Jekyll’s actions to catch up with him, Hyde forces himself to face the sordid and tragic events that led him to this fate. Debut author Daniel Levine goes beyond proving himself with this Victorian gothic masterpiece, expertly told through an impeccably imagined Hyde perspective that rivals the original. Not only does Levine’s premise promise a compelling plot and insightful intrigue by probing the questions left unanswered in the original text, but his character of Hyde emerges as both terrifying and tragic, a newly imagined take on Frankenstein’s monster. Levine’s storytelling does the genre, the original, and his characters justice by striking a meticulous balance between the macabre and the romantic, producing a story that is both chilling and compassionate. Having not read the original, I approached this novel with some concern that I may not be able to find purchase in its plot and characters if it were too closely attached to Stevenson’s novella. Despite this, the mysterious, dream-like plot and Hyde’s compelling and immaculately rendered voice hooked me from the first page and I never experienced being lost in the context or unable to appreciate the complexities of the text due to my lack of having read the original. After having finished the novel I immediately read Stevenson’s novella (included in the same book). Levine’s novel fit seamlessly in with the original and bolstered my understanding and appreciation of the classic. In addition, Levine proved able to illuminate many of the themes of identity, responsibility, and the dangers of advancement and ambition that Stevenson’s original work attempted to incorporate. Levine demonstrated a true understanding and mastery of the original text, its voice, its setting, and it atmosphere. Each of these elements allowed this novel to cohere with the previous one while still established its very own unique and astonishing presence. Darkly haunting and unsettlingly poignant, this debut novel proves to be a literary triumph.
A solid debut novel from Daniel Levine. The words he uses to describe the settings and characters is so vivid and intense that it leaves you feeling ashamed of how few words you probably use in your everyday life to describe people, places, and things. Literature in HD really...
Your seriously gping to write a f/f love story? Thats wrong. Very wrong.
It's very descriptive!!
Please post more.
I was reading along, thinking it somewhat boring. No offense. Im trying to give constructive critisism when l say: Riley is a little too perky. And a little too generous. She may not be able to let anyone have a day off, unless she's in charge of the ENTIRE buisness. But the ending.... mega cliffhanger! I like the end part. 'Kay? I ain't trying to bring you down or be a hater, l'm just giving constructive critisism. There's always a little room for EVERY story to improve, right? <br> <p> -Sequoya
*Riley stood in front of the mirror in her office. She tucked her black tie into her black sweater vest and looked herself over.* <br> "Looking good like always!" she said to herself, satisfied with her appearance. <br> *Riley grabbed a vanilla folder from her desk and headed out to the meeting she had scheduled last Thursday.* <br> "Evening, Ms. Hyde" said Danielle from her office. <br> "Hey Danielle. How's your day so far?" asked Riley. <br> "The usual. Have you heard from Rebecca?" asked Danielle. <br> "Yeah. She called me this morning and said she'll be back tomorrow night from her trip in the Bahamas. She is so lucky." answered Riley, leaning against the door's frame. <br> "Yeah. You're going to be late to your meeting." said Danielle, smiling. <br> "Aren't I always late?" said Riley as she saluted to Danielle before entering the Meeting Room. <br> *Riley walked in and went to the front of the room.* <br> "Evening everyone!" exclained Riley, setting down her folder. <br> "Evening. Evening, Ms.Hyde. Evening Riley" <br> "I called this meeting to discuss what our new main topic should be for next month's magazine. The topic needs to be interesting, something we've never done before, and appealing to anyone. Any suggestions?" said Riley. <br> "What about A WeightLoss Plan?" asked Jessica. <br> "That's kinda boring...but we can use that for the food section of the magazine. Good Job, Jessica!" said Riley. <br> "Maybe we could do a segment about someone's life.." suggested Tony. <br> "That's a great idea, Tony. Who's life is really interesting?" asked Riley. <br> *Everyone looked at eachother. Then they all looked toward Riley.* <br> "My life is not that interesting.." said Riley. <br> "With all those stories you tell us? Your life souds amazing." said Sarah. <br> "Well if you put it that way...I'll be the person. Now that that's done. We need a title." said Riley. <br> "The strang life of Riley?" Laughed Diego. <br> "Not funny, Diego." said Riley. <br> "The love life of Hyde?" suggested Sarah. <br> "Good title but i like some things private." said Riley. <br> "The Life of Hyde?" said Morgan. <br> "I like that title! Morgan gets a day off of work." exclaimed Riley. "Now we are finished with today's meeting. Make sure you submit your paragraph on your opinions about an Orangutang Nusery. See you guys later!" said Riley. <p> *Riley walked into her office and plopped into her chair, spinning around. A knock was heard.* <br> "Come in." said Riley. <br> *Sarah walked in and shut the door behind her. She walked to Riley's desk and sat on its side.* <br> "Whatcha doing?" asked Sarah. <br> "Well I just sat down after filing papers for Danielle. You?" said Riley. <br> "Thinking about you." smiked Sarah, dacing towards Riley. <br> "Isn't everyone?" laughed Riley. <br> *Riley patted her leg and Sarah sat on her lap. Riley layed her head on her shoulder* <br> "I am so tired.." said Riley. <br> "Aww. I was hoping to have some fun." pouted Sarah. <br> "Fun?" asked Riley and sat up. <br> "Yea..me and you...havin some fun...on...the desk....just me....and youuu." said Sarah tracing Riley's jawline with her thumb. <br> "I'm not too tired..."said Riley. <br> *Sarah smiled and leaned toward Riley for a kiss.* <p> Sorry guys, but I have to end it there. If you liked this chapter, comment! I will write another chapter soon and any questions or suggestion...just ask them at res three or The strange case of dr. jkylk and Mr. Hyde. Peace!!