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Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession Paperback – March 9, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Anne Rice stopped crafting stories about vampires and began writing about Jesus, many of her fans were shocked. This autobiographical spiritual memoir provides an account of how the author rediscovered and fully embraced her Catholic faith after decades as a self-proclaimed atheist. Rice begins with her childhood in New Orleans, when she seriously considered entering a convent. As she grows into a young adult she delves into concerns about faith, God and the Catholic Church that lead her away from religion. The author finally reclaims her Catholic faith in the late 1990s, describing it as a movement toward total surrender to God. She writes beautifully about how through clouds of doubt and pain she finds clarity, realizing how much she loved God and desired to surrender her being, including her writing talent, to God. Covering such a large sequence of time and life events is not easy, and some of the author's transitions are a bit jarring. Fans of Rice's earlier works will enjoy discovering more about her life and fascinating journey of faith. (Oct. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Rice gave faithful fans fits when she concluded her lengthy vampire saga with series hero Lestat searching for sainthood and followed up with carefully orthodox biographical novels about Jesus. Now she eloquently explains the life change that shaped those books: her return to Catholicism. First, however, she limns the early-life faith she hoped to resume and the long exile from it that began, so typically, in college and continued until late middle age. She expansively recalls the cohesion and beauty that regular mass attendance, Catholic schooling, and community observance of the panoply of Christian festivals bestowed on her New Orleans childhood and adolescence. Much more tersely but no less consequentially, she asserts the satisfaction of her thoroughly faithful 41-year marriage to the poet Stan Rice (1942–2002). About her long period of unbelief, she is even briefer, though she retrospectively interprets her vampires and witches as sad unbelievers still desperately striving for transcendence and grace, as she was. Coming home to New Orleans in 1989 preceded coming home to the church in 1996, and full realization of revived faith came with the decision to write for God. As plainly written as a Quaker spiritual journal, Rice’s confession of faith will impress many who wouldn’t think of reading vampire romances—and possibly many who read little else. --Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 Reprint edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307388484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307388483
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
With CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS, Anne Rice gives readers the very first autobiographical look at herself. In doing so, we discover how little was actually known about the woman who gave us such gothic horror classics as INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and THE VAMPIRE LESTAT. Conversely, her last two books have been fictionalized portrayals of Jesus Christ as a boy and young adult --- themes that presented quite a paradox for those who identify Rice as being strictly a writer of dark fantasy novels. This memoir answers all these questions and sheds light on how closely her novels have represented her personal feelings and struggles over many years.

CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS opens with the quote "This book is about Faith in God." Rice goes on to present her story, beginning with her childhood, after indicating that she had lost her faith for many years and reclaimed it again at age 57. Born with the unfortunate name of Howard Allen --- she changed it to Anne at an early age --- she lived with her family in a very Catholic section of New Orleans. Her upbringing was extremely Catholic and exclusionary of anything outside this teaching. She was in awe of Catholic churches and held those in authority in the highest regard without questioning anything she was taught or told.

The Catholic world Rice knew was one where priests were esteemed and respected with never any word of scandal surrounding them. During her youth, it was a time when the Catholic Church was deeply respected in America; as she puts it, the Catholic Church was "a cultural force." Living in the Deep South, she recognized that the people in her community were vigorously racist, even though her parents were not. They all accepted segregation as something that had to exist.
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Format: Hardcover
After having read Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" and "Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana" TWICE, I was, needless to say, first in line October 7th to pick up her new memoir,"Called Out of Darkness: a spiritual confession." I was not disappointed -- and am now anticipating a second read.

As a professional writer for more than 30 years, and an avid reader since childhood, it is rare that I take the time to reread novels or non-fiction books. Reading and research have always been one of my most treasured activities -- and I do not make my choices lightly.

Brought up as a Lutheran, I, too, separated from the church during college -- primarily when I discovered that the minister I had grown up with, who taught me the Catechism, performed my confirmation and presented me with my first communion -- had been sexually abusing both young girls and boys in my own confirmation class and had continued to do so for years. When the abuse was discovered in my freshman year, the church simply sent him (and his wife and three children) on to another church in another state. I was appalled! Although my parents tried to explain to me that the pastor was only human and that it should not affect my faith in Christ -- I literally "threw the baby out with the bath water."

But I was also quite miserable -- I had lost something very precious and felt myself floundering, trying to figure out what, if anything, I had to hold on to. I spent many years trying to find answers in many places. Finally, I decided that I did believe -- but could never find a church I could adhere to. And the doubts persisted.

Now in my mid-fifties, I have spent the last few years fascinated with the life of Christ -- and my library reflects that fact.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm just a casual fan and have read only one or two of Anne Rice's vampire novels. I came to this book mostly as a Catholic and as a fan of conversion stories.

Unfortunately, I ended up rather disappointed in this effort. The majority of the book is made of childhood reminiscences, mostly of the physical details of churches she attended. My guess is trying to recapture those childhood feelings probably led to her returning to the church, but the reminiscences really just weren't all that interesting. I'm sure they were to her, but unfortunately she really wasn't able to communicate that to the reader. You'd think such an acclaimed writer as Rice would have done a better job.

In fact, a lot of the writing seemed rather flat and low-key, even a little offhand. I'm not sure if this reflected her conversion, the very different subject matter, or perhaps a simple need to make some money. I'd even go so far as to say there was some real blunting of affect throughout the book, which I found rather strange.

Her life as an atheist and a writer of semi-occult subjects gets very short shrift. I would have really liked to have seen more on her thoughts about how these two lives of hers interact and intersect. It's quite a leap between the two. You'd think that would have been the main topic of the book, actually.

I also thought her many personal tragedies - including the deaths of her mother (to "the drink"), young daughter, and husband, as well her own brush with death through a diabetic coma - would have merited more attention. Those are the things that real conversions are made of, in my mind.

I am happy I read the book, though, and did get quite a lot out of it. (I also thinks she sounds like an interesting person whom I'd love to talk to and get to know.) It just seems the book could have been so much more.
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