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Review: Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice ⇉ When Vampires Were Scary and Didn't Wear Body Glitter

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Interview With The Vampire
Anne Rice

Genre: Gothic Horror
Paperback: 342 Pages
Publication: Aug. 31, 2004

Original Pub: Apr. 12, 1976
by Ballantine Books



Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.


Review

Given how much information synopses tend to give about a book, it's been a long time since I read a novel that didn't give me an overview of the larger plot. The synopsis above and two friends' recommendation was all I had going into Interview With The Vampire.

I enjoyed the mystery and adventure of reading a book without prior knowledge of the world. It was especially appropriate for this novel given that Louis builds our knowledge and understanding of the vampire world to us through his interview with the boy. Like the boy, I was entranced by Louis's words and mannerisms. His poetic language doesn't come from the century, and though he expresses his eagerness to tell his story, he seems detached from it at the same time. Thus raises the question: Who is this mysterious vampire and why does he, a creature of the night, want to tell his story to a mortal boy of all people (and a reporter at that!)? Frankly, I'm still not entirely sure why he agreed to the interview, but perhaps he retains some of his humanity and wants to know that there is someone that knows his story. Or perhaps, given the boy's actions at the end, he seeks to use the boy. Despite the dubious nature of his person and story, Louis's story is believable because of the realistic way this novel is structured: as an interview.

The characters are memorable and compelling in their own right. Though they all do evil, there is reason to sympathize with even the most cruel and cunning of the vampires.  Rice explores questions of immortality, morality, and religion. How would immortality influence one's psychology (this theme is especially apparent in the character Clauda)? If vampires existed, can they be considered damned? Is there a god (and if so, the devil)? In one scene, Louis and Armand debate on the existence of God and morality. Many of their points seem tempting, but I can't agree with the philosophical points brought up there or at the end of the interview. They're very dark and existentialist, and they do not align with Christian beliefs. I read somewhere that Rice wrote this novel while grieving the loss of her daughter; likely, her grief had a large influence on the themes of this work.

What I appreciate the most is her writing. She describes people and settings in elaborate, poetic detail with a vampire's appreciation for beauty. These descriptions do drag out the narrative—there is a larger focus on characterization and world building than action in this novel—but I appreciate the time Anne Rice takes to build the world. Too many contemporary novels (especially in the urban fantasy family) tend to focus on action and fast pacing, and we lose out on other areas in the process. That said, many of these descriptions are deeply sensual and erotic. While I appreciate Rice's gift of language, the mature nature of these passages made me uncomfortable and are pervasive enough that they're unavoidable in this novel. If mature content is a dealbreaker for you, then I would forgo reading this novel.


Overall, Anne Rice builds an entrancing world. I would be interested in reading more from this world. From what I have found researching the other novels, however, they contain more gratuitous content. Therefore, this novel marks both my venture into and my departure from this world.

Roxanne, one of the friends who recommended this novel to me, has previously reviewed Interview With the Vampire on the blog (along with the second and third novels, in fact). Read her review for thoughts from someone with more knowledge of Anne Rice's works and an appreciation the vampire genre as a whole.

Read, Reconsider, or Relinquish? This is a Reconsider {due to the mature content}

Recommended for readers who love classic vampire tales in which vampires are cold, moral-less creatures of the night that kill for their pleasure / benefit.


Series
  1. Interview with the Vampire
  2. The Vampire Lestat
  3. The Queen of the Damned
  4. The Tale of the Body Thief
  5. Memnoch the Devil
  6. The Vampire Armand
  7. Merrick
  8. Blood and Gold
  9. Blackwood Farm
  10. Blood Canticle
  11. Prince Lestat
  12. Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis
Mature Content
  • Kissing
  • Homoerotic
  • Pedophilia
  • Nudity (described graphically)
  • Scenes with intense erotic undertones and descriptions of arousal
  • Violence & gore
  • Some graphic depictions of murder

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