Thursday, September 24, 2009
Blast from the Past...Interview With The Vampire
So...I just finished a happy reunion with Interview With The Vampire. Here is a short synopsis of the book for anyone who has not read it (WHAT???):
About the book:
This is the story of the Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even "settle down" for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia's struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.
Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires--a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.
Originally begun as a short story, the book took off as Anne wrote it, spinning the tragic and triumphant life experiences of a soul. As well as the struggles of its characters, Interview captures the political and social changes of two continents. The novel also introduces Lestat, Anne's most enduring character, a heady mixture of attraction and revulsion. The book, full of lush description, centers on the themes of immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power. (From Anne Rice.com: The Official Site)
Published in 1976, Interview With The Vampire is largely considered to be Rice's best work. While personally, Queen of the Damned is my favorite, I cannot argue with the greatness of this book. Rice expertly portrays Louis, a reluctant vampire, as he struggles with his lost humanity and his vampire nature. This is a theme still used today...vampires who struggle with fitting in to a human world and controlling their vampiric urges. Bill Compton in Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Series (and the television series, True Blood), Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series, even Stefan in The Vampire Diaries...all are trying to keep their true nature under control. All this could very well have started with Rice's Louis.
Going back to read this book again really showed me just how bad Lestat (Rice's beloved character throughout the Chronicles) really is in the beginning. It's a good contrast to his evolution in the future books. In Interview, he is cruel and merciless. Definitely not the kind of vampire you would want to be your maker. He is the one ultimately responsible for making a child vampire and this makes him even more sinister and unredeemable. His behavior certainly does not make Louis's conflicted soul rest any easier.
One thing I noticed as I was reading (listening), was how much of what I thought happened in the book actually happened in the movie (Interview With The Vampire, 1994). I read the book many years before seeing the movie so a large amount of my memories were from the movie. What I found was that I much preferred the way the events played out in the book. And once again, we have an instance where the book is better than the movie...although the movie is good in its own right.
I very much enjoyed my time with Interview With The Vampire. It was like revisiting an old friend. Having read it originally over 20 years ago, it was nice to reconnect with a cherished book from my past.
If you are interested in Anne Rice, or her books, I highly recommend you visit her website. She is such an approachable author who interacts regularly with her fans (on Facebook, for one) and her site is full of information on all of her past and present works. Click here: Anne Rice.com: The Official Site or you can visit her site any time by clicking her picture on my left sidebar.