Sunday, April 29, 2012

Book Review: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

I have always harbored an interest in canonical vampire stories, and yet I’d never read any of the Rice Vampire Chronicles. Interview with the Vampire is the first of the Chronicles, and it’s the first of the three that I plan to read (having heard that they decline in quality after Queen of the Damned.) But that’s a discussion for another day.

Interview is written as a memoir of sorts, an account of vampire Louis’ life as he tells it to a mortal boy who records his narrative. The basic outline of Louis’ story is that he is turned in New Orleans by the vampire Lestat, and Louis hereafter searches New Orleans and Europe for answers regarding his vampire nature, and vampire origins. His adventure has several phases that are largely determined by who his immortal companion is at the time: his time in New Orleans is primarily spent with Lestat, and then after turning a young girl, Claudia, Louis begins to love her deeply and the two of them travel to Europe. In Paris, they meet the oldest living vampire, Armand, with whom Louis then shares a powerful mutual attraction.

Throughout the tale, Louis grapples with love, loss, vampire morality, immortal existentialism, and the separation of human nature from vampire emotion and being. Interview is a very philosophical novel, as Louis is constantly questioning spirituality, good and evil, loyalty, and many questions surrounding these themes that were never answered for him as a human. At times, the novel comes off as kind of mopey and histrionic, particularly if you like your vampires cheeky and darkly humorous (think Spike or, for a recent example, Damon Salvatore.) It was also kind of slow at times, and it took me a bit longer to get through it than I should have been able to do had I really applied myself.  Overall, though, I did like this book, and I liked that it stayed true to traditional vampire mythology — these vampires do not go out in daylight, and there are telltale signs about their appearance that clue humans into their supernatural nature. I’ve started on the second book in the Chronicles, which allegedly is a bit more “fun,” so I’ll see how that goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment