With Interview With the Vampire, Anne Rice completely rejuvenated the genre which I feel to be horror's most important, primal, and soul-stirring, the legend of the vampire. I have described Richard Matheson's classic I Am Legend as the second greatest vampire novel, but I must retract that statement now. Only with a second reading have I recognized the unparalleled power, beauty, eroticism, and grace of Anne Rice's contribution to the subject. Unlike Matheson, Rice luxuriates in the Victorian appeal of Stoker's masterpiece, while taking the subject to planes far beyond those Stoker could have envisioned for his Count Dracula. The modern writer does not have to hide the vampire's erotic appeal behind convention, nor does she need to classify her subject as an evil in and of itself. The vampire nature of Rice's creation is a complex, unfathomable subject that transcends good and evil.
This first novel in The Vampire Chronicles centers around four very different yet almost equally fascinating vampires. The story is that of Louis, a wealthy eighteenth century Louisiana plantation owner who became a vampire in the depths of his despair over his brother's suicide. Lestat, the inscrutable force that hovers above every page of the tale, made Louis a vampire for basically economic reasons; he wanted the wealth that Louis possessed, but he also wanted a companion. Narcissistic and vain, the dapper Lestat does not teach his creation what it means to be a vampire, does not share the secrets he claims to know, does not even help Louis through the soul-shattering change that comes about when the body dies so that it may live eternally. Louis stays with Lestat only because, so far as he knows, there are no other vampires to whom he can turn for help and instruction. His distaste for Lestat grows over the years, however, and in order to keep Louis by his side, Lestat takes a young girl whom Louis had fed upon during a period of emotional turbulence and makes of her a vampire, knowing that Louis could never abandon the child. It is the story of Claudia, doomed to a most tragic life of immortality trapped inside the body of a little girl, that makes this book so powerful in my eyes. Lestat is of course fascinating, Louis is the epitome of tragedy and a fountain of knowledge by way of his questioning, eternally sad nature, but Claudia's story is an unbearably exquisite one. She accepts her vampire nature with some ease, being too young to really ever remember her human childhood, but the growth of Claudia the vampire woman inside the body of Claudia the child is a beautifully painful thing to watch. When she manages to separate Louis and herself from Lestat to go searching for other vampires in Central Europe and eventually Paris, giving dramatic voice to both her love for and hatred of Louis, the door to the dungeons of utter tragedy are thrown asunder. The introduction of the four hundred year old vampire Armand in the second half of the book gives us yet another unique vampire soul to ponder, but Armand at his most vivid pales in comparison to Claudia at her most unprepossessing.
In the end, we are left with Louis and his story, which is full of unanswerable questions. Even the meaning and lesson he tries to express about his miserable existence utterly fail in their influence it has upon the boy chosen to hear his extraordinary story. Literature really provides no better character study of the emotional meaning of vampirism than Louis, however. He became a creature of the night only out of despair, and his development as a new creature on earth proceeded without any instruction whatsoever from the cold Lestat. Thus, he questions everything about his new nature, desperately longing for a mentor. He does not relish the taking of human life, and the thought of creating another creature like himself is anathema to him. He sees vampirism as a curse, eternally wondering if he is indeed a child of Satan doomed to an immortal yet cursed life. The source of his moral suffering is his inability to really give up his human nature, and this causes him a long, long life of torment and pain. Never before had the moral, spiritual, and philosophical nature of the vampire been explored in such depth as that found in this exquisitely beautiful novel, and that is one of the primary reasons why it rivals Stoker in terms of its beauty and resonates with an emotionally hypnotic power that is unmatched in the long tradition of vampire literature.
on December 19, 2012
Okay, so I was one of those kids in junior high school. You know the type: the teacher gives a reading assignment, and the kid does all he can within his power to be prepared without actually reading. Yeah, Cliff Notes, relying on others who actually read, Internet, etc...I was solidly one of those. Then in eleventh grade something life-changing happened.
There were several friends of mine passing around books like they were some sort of prized possessions. It was odd. Here I was avoiding reading like the plague, but their enthusiasm for reading was catching; it piqued my curiosity. I asked what they were reading, and one of my friends said, Anne Rice! Well, I folded and bought Interview with the Vampire.
WOW, I could not put the book down! I devoured it. I lived it. I breathed it. I had these burning, existential questions that would keep me up at night, and here I was reading conversations between Armand and Louis that hit on life, love, being, birth, death--all those questions that I wanted to ask of someone, some authority figure.
I don't want to go into plot details. I just want to share that this book affected me profoundly. One effect being that now you will rarely see me without a book in hand!
on October 25, 2014
Sometimes a book comes along that pulls you in, and takes you far away from what you know, opening doors to other worlds and a life you had never dreamed of. A book that will haunt you for the rest of your life 'Interview With The Vampire' is one of those novels, like Wuthering Heights, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein, that sweeps you away in it's twists and turns challenging ones psyche with it's soaring breadth of incredible storytelling and imagination.
Well, I will tell you, this novel is right at home with these classics.
As I read this novel the main story blazed like a great flame and magically lit my imagination and memory leaving an indelible and endearing mark .
"Anne Rice's indomitable spirit shines and here you see how her intricate descriptions and talent of invoking deep emotions could fuel a literary career of legendary proportion."
In this story Louis relates a tale of his reluctant immortality, a morose and emotionally frail man who has suffered great loss. Taken over by a force a charisma embodied in the likes of the vampire Lestat, a vain, selfish, sadistic, and 'even' *gasp* ..sardonic individual driven by his mercurial and unbridled whims. This book transformed the typical sinister vampire of mysterious gloom and doom into a wild byronic character full of philosophy and ideas, topped with a stylish and dramatic flair. An entrepreneur of acquiring property and means of great wealth. Never mind the old dark and dank castles of old, these immortals live in the lap of luxury in every way. Lestat ,you see, though not the main character somehow seems to dominate the narrative and oddly Lestat has forever seemed to be present in the chronicles even when he is not. I believe he is one of the greatest literary characters of our time and is forever entertaining in his adventures good and bad.
In the tale we are transported to New Orleans 200 years ago. In Anne's words gabled houses come to life and you feel as if the tension is real. You can practically hear the crickets chirping in the night and feel the sensation, the desperation Louis conveys. There is a kind of preternatural longing in the progression of the events. Events addressing deep seated subjects that we have at one time or another felt in our psyche and maybe could not articulate?
What I found most interesting is this novels structure. It is quite different from any I have ever read. On contemplating this I realized there are passages in 'Interview' that are very like our deep unconscious dreams, so real and full of odd circumstances you wake remembering the whole but then small fragments come back during the day. There are so many odd occurrences a doll shop, a tower, a subterranean lair, Armand scaling a tower with Louis, fighting monstrous creatures, along with surprising and terrible incidences that fill the whole. There is the main events that shift and change place but will end up uniting in a surprising way.
I think it would not be too far fetched to compare this work to a surrealist painting such as Dali. You have the basis of a regular painting. When viewing his work it draws you in, you start to realize a clock is not just a clock it is melting on the landscape in which it lay and is quite altered and with a title like 'Persistence of Memory' the painting stirs the imagination to no end.
Here in IWTV you have man transformed to something unnatural a creature seeking comfort and there are relationships but they are severely altered by the vampiric natures of these individuals. The whole question of death and our existence is challenged and begs for conversation on the subject of immortality.
Claudia is a lovely young girl eternally trapped in a childs body and the limitations of her stature brings terrible frustration. Those who fall for her compulsive charms are usually teetering on the threshold of doom. Louis is repulsed by his need to kill and tries in vain to fight it with alternatives. His relationships crumble and his inner drive to survive propels him forward. Torn by his desire to love and his circumstantial and inner fluctuating need for independence.
One of the greatest inventions that I feel seals this story into immortality is the blending of Theatre and Vampirism. The reality of the vampiric condition is portrayed in a theatrical production luring a mortal audience into an entertainment that is a true twist of the ordinary suspension of disbelief.
In Interview Anne Rice raises a production that envelopes you in layers of atmosphere and longing. Many authors draw from deep pain and here Anne Rice transformed hers into a masterpiece.
This book prompted me to attend the 'Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Ball'. Check it out @ http://www.arvlfc.com I was amazed at the people who loved her work. It was incredible to walk the streets of New Orleans and get a feel for what she was talking about. 'Interview With a Vampire' opened up a world I never knew. Her presence on Facebook and Amazon has taught me so much about her process and the art of writing and for this I am forever grateful. This year is a banner year for Anne Rice fans in that there is a new book arriving called 'Prince Lestat.' I highly recommend attending the ball if not this year then next. You will most likely see Anne Rice there and see the place where it all began.
Did I fail to mention.... I love this book!
on June 12, 2000
I first encounterd this book when I was 12 and in the library looking for something good to read. The title caught my eye and I checked it out and I'm glad I did! The story, as told from the point of view of the vampire Louis tells of the love/hate "family" relationship between Louis, his maker Lestat and their child Claudia. Louis is having a hard time dealing with the fact that he must kill in order to exsist (some call it whining, but I call it endearing). I read this book for the first time in a couple of days (it's that good) My favorite character in the entire vampire series is Louis. I know most people think that Lestat is the hero of this novel, but Interview is Louis' tale and I understand his point of view completely. He doesn't whine, Louis just wants a better understanding of what he is and how he should feel about that. I wish Ms. Rice would write novels featuring more of him because his character is so human and so beautifully written that I look for him FIRST in each new novel by her. Some have called it too homoerotic, but I happen to like this type of romance. It is obvious that Louis and Lestat both love and hate one another and it is this relationship that is the basis of the novel. If you have never read a book by Ms. Rice, let Interview With the Vampire be your first. But be warned, you'll get hooked!
on May 8, 2013
I've been wanting to read this book since I was 11 years old so exactly half of my life has been spent wanting to delve into the pages of Anne Rice's work but something kept holding me back. Often it was the fact that other books got in the way but a lot of the time I was afraid that I would be that one person who didn't enjoy her writing.
After finishing Interview with the Vampire I can honestly say that it is one of the best books I've ever read and I can totally see why Anne Rice is the queen of this genre. From the first page I was gripped by her writing style which was fantastic.
Interview with the Vampire is a complex novel dealing with darkness and light, life and death, passion and cruelty. The characters were so detailed and I loved getting to know Louis, Lestat, Claudia and Armand but Louis was definitely my favourite character. Despite all he had done in the novel there was still such a lightness and innocence to him and though he could be whiny and pretensions I thought he was the most well developed character in the story and he still remains an enigma to me.
Lestat, Claudia and Armand were all brilliant in their own unique ways. I loved how all the characters in the book had a lot of similarities but had some very prevalent differences as well. I loved how harsh and cruel they could all be but enjoyed they're very few tender moments when the last semblances of their humanity shined through.
I thought the whole plot of the book was intriguing and I thoroughly enjoyed being whisked off to New Orleans in the later bit of the 1700's into the 1800's as well as the sweeping city streets of Paris where Louis and Claudia journeyed to in the second half of the novel. Anne Rice has an amazing gift for transporting her audience to the locations she sets her writing in.
This was definitely a provocative read what with the relationships between Louis and Lestat, Louis Lestat and Claudia, Claudia and Lestat, Louis and Claudia and Armand and Louis especially with the fact that Claudia was turned at such a young age not being much more than a toddler but she handled their unconventional relationship with grace as she did the other relationships the characters had in the book. I was pleased that she didn't reduce her writing to vulgarity and thought the sensuality of the novel spoke volumes.
Overall, I thought this was a stunning novel and one that while I'm sad I didn't read sooner am glad that I gave it a chance now that I'm at an age where I can grasp the intricacy of the many story lines and undercurrents of the plot. The writing was absolutely superb and really swept me up in this story that I can best describe as one of love, lust, loss and longing. If you haven't read Interview with the Vampire yet I strongly urge you to do so especially if you've been waiting to read it for some time. Hopefully you love it as much as I did and it leaves you reeling, questioning and wanting to read more of Anne Rice's books immediately.
on January 23, 2013
I wasn't familiar with Anne Rice works since 2010 May. Then I first time saw "Interview with the Vampire" movie and fell in love with "blonde vampire". After that movie on TV, I downloaded that movie to my computer. And found who created this story and started looking for a book. I was very lucky I found that book and ordered. It was simply curiosity to read and see which is better: movie or book. Of course it was book. After reading this book, I found out that there are even 9 more books in this serie. Of course I couldn't find any of them in my country, in any language. I felt so sad... I still was not adult and couldn't order these books from other countries, I also couldn't read in English very good. But I never gave up. I started reading "The Vampire Lestat" online and saw it wasn't that hard to read in English. But I still so wanted paper books. These electronic books are unemotional...so cold... no smell of ink...
I got very insulted by some fans that I didn't have any of Anne Rice books... And in autumn a miracle appeared. They translated "The Vampire Lestat" in Lithuanian. I ordered as soon as it was able to buy and when I got it, I started reading it like a zombie. But it still was not enough. So I found out way to get books from UK by one bookstore. So I bought all serie. Of course that bookstore got closed soon and I was again sad without English books. And well.. I got job, I got credit card and could order anything I wish from all over the world. And I started collecting Anne Rice books in ALL languages, in all covers. I have many editions so far. And this edition of "Interview with the Vampire" was my dream to get because of amazing cover. And here it is- I have it. It was so hard to get these all books, I felt like living in some end of the world where I couldn't get my favorite books.
I still didn't finish reading all Vampires Chronicles serie, I needed rest from these books for a little. But Anne Rice created best books about vampires of all times. In Lithuania I have no fans to talk about these books, mostly all people do not like fiction books here. But I'm so happy I found this author and can call her my God, my inspiration and creator of immortal characters I will never forget.
on July 7, 2000
Readers who are only familiar with Anne Rice's later, more self-indulgent work are likely to be pleasantly surprised by Interview With the Vampire. I certainly was. After a disappointing introduction to the legendary New Orleans author through the weak Violin, I was only interested in reading Interview because of its role in promoting the vampire revival of the 90's. I thought that reading it would be an act of research and contrition. I was wrong.
This is a strong, lush, and original (at the time, though much-imitated today) piece of writing. The blend of the erotic and the horrific is true to the spirit of the original Dracula. The attention to detail that would become so over-the-top in Rice's later books is well-balanced and poetic here. The characters are at once individual and mythic (though admittedly some of them are a little given to navel-gazing.) The dilemma of the child-vampire is an excellent addition. If you are interested in horror, in vampires, or simply in a good read, you should try this book.
on May 26, 2004
I love vampires. Always have, onscreen and on the published page - from Bela Lugosi's Dracula (seen countless times on the old Saturday afternoon Shock Theater) to Stephanie Rothman's hip 1970 VELVET VAMPIRE.
So it was with great enthusiasm that I approached Anne Rice's work several years ago, and it was with slight disappointment that I exited it each time. I don't know why she doesn't appeal to me the way she does to so many others. "Read the first one, read the first one!" my friends all admonished. "It's the best." So I did. I have just finished INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, and I'm no more an Anne Rice enthusiast than when I started. Maybe it's the book's lush overwriting, its constant purple prose, its almost endless striving to be elegant. Maybe it's the violence. Some of it does go "over the top", and I am usually not a prude about such things. I don't know. I'm just left as cold as one of the blood hunters Rice depicts.
Oh Rice has "skills", to coin a popular teenage phrase. She can create a memorable set piece that has the reader turning pages. And there are a number of memorable moments in this book. The initiation of Claudia. The "death" of Lestat. The fabulous Parisian Theater of Vampires. The concluding scene with the young reporter. Each is riveting, even enthralling. But in-between those scenes there is too much chatter, too much introspection, too much - huff and gruff.
I appreciate the book's classic status. And I'm going to continue reading Anne Rice, hoping the magic spell she has cast on millions of readers will soon ensare me.
My first encounter with Anne Rice's Interview With The Vampire was in the early 1990s when a grade school girl friend had purchased a paperback copy at a yard sale for fifty cents. I remember her clutching it to her chest and kicking her feet in the air while lying on her bed as she exclaimed, "I am in love with this book!"
I did not follow her advice and read it for myself. But in 1994, much to the hype of its two leading actors, I was fascinated by the film adaptation which was released while I was working my first job in a movie theater.
Six years later I was working in a bookstore and regularly listening to the hype of other vampire fans who lusted after every new book in the Chronicles series. I finally picked up The Witching Hour after being encouraged by a close friend but I put it down before finishing it because I just didn't feel like I was a mature enough reader at the time to enjoy it the way it was intended.
But I was turned on to Anne's son and his writing that year after I attended a book signing for his first book, Density of Souls. Now, another 12 years later, I finally decided to read his mother.
After reading Anne's latest, The Wolf Gift, just a few weeks ago and being well pleased with it, I decided it was finally time to give her vampires a try. I'd been collecting her books in hardcover with intention to read them at some point and my copy of Interview is a 1976 hardcover 1st edition.
It's hard to believe this book came out the year I was born. It definitely reads like a timeless classic and holds its appeal still today. As long as readers are fascinated by vampires, I'm sure Interview will be in print and continue to sell. I was also surprised by how well the book was adapted to film, but that is to be expected since, to my knowledge, Anne did work on the script.
My main problem was that it's almost impossible not to picture Tom Cruise as Lestat or Brad Pitt as Louis while reading it. Surprisingly, Kirsten Dunst did not pop into my head as much for Claudia. And I tried desperately to keep Antonio out of my head as Armand since he was my least favorite actor in the movie.
I also enjoyed the minor plot lines that were in the book, but not in the movie - the biggest being the presence of Lestat's human father in the beginning of the book.
Even though it's one of the shortest books in the Vampire Chronicles, it is definitely not a light read. At 309 pages, it took me just over 2 weeks to read it. Rice is extremely poetic and does tend to over romanticize descriptions. Heavy descriptions of ornate clothing, furnishings, and New Orleans settings really dragged the narrative for me at times, though Rice definitely knows how to paint a picture for her readers.
That being said, you do get a definite sense of Louis's struggle (both physical and emotional) with being a vampire. You are in his head 100% even though he's telling the story; his emotional turmoil with who he is and the debate of good and evil is prevalent. But it is often Lestat's pride and acceptance of what he is that drives the book, despite how much Louis despises him. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in the series which focuses entirely on Lestat.
Though this book wasn't completely my forte, I do have an appreciation and admiration for it just because it really did define the genre that we know today. While vampires have become more monstrous and much more accepting of what and who they are, perhaps in a way they all stemmed from the beautiful lost Louie or boastful Lestat.
on April 4, 2015
No one does atmosphere like Anne Rice - never more so than in her first novel, now a genuine classic as well as a groundbreaking piece of literature that turned the vampire novel on its ear. You'll feel as is you are in 18th-century Louisiana, where grieving plantation owner Louis - still recovering from an incalculable loss - fatefully draws the attention of the vampire Lestat, who saves Louis from death by making him one of his own. The two roam the world, Lestat as if he owned it and Louis still trying to make sense of life and death and why it all matters, when they stumble upon a dying child, Claudia, who is also made over - now trapped forever in the body of a little girl - and this decision changes everything. The characters, setting, even philosophical questions Rice's characters raise or abolish, it all comes across as heartbreakingly real, seductive yet horrific ... and all seen through the eyes of Louis, who centuries later recounts his tale, from page one of this extraordinary novel, to a young mortal writer. Interview with the Vampire, well deserving its now "classic" status, is a rich tapestry of fiction that Rice has obviously poured her soul into, because you can feel it on virtually every page. *****