Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Interview With The Vampire

This is the book that started it all. We are in a small room with the vampire, face to face, as he speaks--as he pours out the hypnotic, shocking, moving, and erotically charged confessions of his first two hundred years as one of the living dead.

I have never liked vampires very much, not before reading Twilight and certainly not after reading it and a couple of other YA vampire novels. Having read only pathetic baits for crazed teenage fangirls craving sappy romance, also meaning to bring in lots of cash and standing as potential sources of horrible movies, I never really got to get familiar with the true vampires. Of course, I knew about the blood drinking and the coffin-sleeping, but a friend of mine persuaded me to read this, in order to enjoy a real and worthy vampire novel. Interview With The Vampire did not make me like vampires more, but it certainly made me see the real picture, and I'm grateful for that.

Honestly, Twilight and everything that came afterward is negligible compared to Anne Rice's first vampire novel. This book was not about sparkling brooding vampire teens, but about real vampires, those who lived in the 18th century, who slept in coffins, fed of humans at night and wore silky jabots and embroidered suits, hiding from the sun and the fire. I liked that I was confronted to the real monster instead of some ridiculous falsity named Edward Cullen, and that I got to experience the life of a vampire beside the characters, the life of the vampire as the world knew it. Anne Rice crafted her book around the original version of the blood-drinking creatures, but by still adding a bit of her own to it.

The reason why I loved these vampires so much was due to the writing. The scenes when they attacked their victims, drank their blood and tore the skin were so rich, so well described it was a great pleasure to read. It was as if you were there, on the scene, seeing everything with your own eyes! Even if I read the book in French, I can guess by the varied vocabulary and the numerous metaphors that Anne Rice is a competent writer. Her descriptions were full and beautiful. She truly brought the beauty of the world during the 18th century to the reader's eyes.

I shall say that these are the two major things I love in this book; the very well exploited concept of vampires, and the masterful writing that crafted this book.

Interview With The Vampire is nevertheless not a very action-packed book. The story revolves around Louis de La Pointe du Lac, who has been turned into a vampire by Lestat, with who he thereupon lives before adding another character to the group, Claudia, a young girl that will from the moment she is turned into a vampire be trapped in the body of a five-year old. The story is narrated by Louis, and it is the story of a vampire's slow birth throughout 200 years. Those who expect great mysteries, lots of action, romance and drama will be disappointed. The drama is delivered sufficiently, but Interview With The Vampire is a very deep and psychological book. Throughout the entire novel we follow Louis as he mediates on his case and the cases of others, and so the readers has to go through long, elaborated, meticulous dialogs or walls of text about bad and good, God and Devil.

I personally didn't relish it so much. I loved all the reflecting and the deepness of the story, but I'd rather have a bit more action, a bit more plot in what I read. This book can be said to have no plot, actually, since it simply recalls a part of life of a certain character. The plot itself is the series of events. This is why I my appreciation of the book was moderated until the last 100 pages, where things picked up a bit more.

The characters. I can't say I liked any of them, and here is why: Louis was terribly dull, weak, and easy to manipulate. He easily accepts any misfortune fallen upon his shoulders without fighting back, and lets the others pull him by the ears. Lestat was terribly conceited, whiny and arrogant, to the point where you wonder why Louis ever put up with him. Claudia was a spoiled and egoistic brat, the type you should get rid of as quickly as possible. These characters didn't harvest your sympathy or pity, and mainly got on your nerves most of the time. That's why I didn't like any of them.

Yet I still bore with each of them, for the simple reason that they were developed, something most characters lack in today's book. Even if the characters themselves didn't have a persona that pleased me, I was still interested in why they were like this and how it acted on the other characters. Let's take Louis, by example. Louis was always so confused and afraid of his nature of vampire, simply because as a mortal, he had been very close to God, and that one day he woke up immortal, killing of humans, which totally shattered his conception of good and bad. He loved Claudia as his child, the child he had educated and shared his passion for books and knowledge he couldn't have shared with Lestat. Lestat, on the other hand, was hungry of luxury and wealth, for as a mortal he had never gotten any of those things, and now that he was immortal, there was no reason not to seek all he desired. Claudia was the woman trapped in the body of a five-year old, weak physically, frail and in need of care, something she didn't want to. She kept on trying to act like a woman, but how could that look on the face of a child? She loved Louis as a lover, but Louis loved her as a father.

And so, all of these characters were crafted with such realistic weaknesses, with so much behind their unlikable personas, that I almost didn't mind that I didn't like them.

Another flaw in Anne Rice's novel is the very vague use of 'love'. There was a lot of 'love' between the characters; Louis and Claudia, Claudia and Madeleine, Louis and Armand, even between Louis and Lestat. Yet, this love was never defined. Was it a romantic, fatherly or friendly love? In most cases I never understood what were the characters' feelings.

Thus, as you see, this book has many flaws but also good points. Personally, it didn't blow me away. It didn't mark me emotionally, neither did it inspire me. But it opened my mind; I learned new things and met the true nature of the vampire. I know there are several other books following, but I'll pick them up another day. I highly recommend this book for those who want better than Twilight and its numerous imitations.

Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice

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