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Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, Book 1) Kindle Edition
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“Unrelentingly erotic . . . sometimes beautiful, and always unforgettable.”—Washington Post
“If you surrender and go with her . . . you have surrendered to enchantment, as in a voluptuous dream.”—Boston Globe
“A chilling, thought-provoking tale, beautifully frightening, sensuous, and utterly unnerving.”—Hartford Courant
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
"But how much tape do you have with you?" asked the vampire, turning now so the boy could see his profile. "Enough for the story of a life?"
"Sure, if it's a good life. Sometimes I interview as many as three or four good people a night if I'm lucky. But it has to be a good story. That's only fair, isn't it?"
"Admirably fair," the vampire answered. "I would like to tell you the story of my life, then. I would like to do that very much."
"Great," said the boy. And quickly he removed a small tape recorder from his brief case, making a check of the cassette and batteries. "I'm really anxious to hear why you believe this, why you--"
"No," said the vampire abruptly. "We can't begin that way. Is your equipment ready?"
"Yes," said the boy.
"Then sit down. I'm going to turn on the overhead light."
"But I thought vampires didn't like the light," said the boy. "If you think the dark adds atmosphere--" But then he stopped. The vampire was watching him with his back to the window. The boy could make out nothing of his face now, and something about the still figure there distracted him. He started to say something again but he said nothing. And then he sighed with relief when the vampire moved towards the table and reached for the overhead cord.
At once the room was flooded with a harsh yellow light. And the boy, staring up at the vampire, could not repress a gasp. His fingers danced backwards on the table to grasp the edge. "Dear God!" he whispered, and then he gazed, speechless, at the vampire.
The vampire was utterly white and smooth, as if he were sculpted from bleached bone, and his face was as seemingly inanimate as a statue, except for two brilliant green eyes that looked down at the boy intently like flames in a skull. But then the vampire smiled almost wistfully, and the smooth white substance of his face moved with the infinitely flexible but minimal lines of a cartoon. "Do you see?" he asked softly?
The boy shuddered, lifting his hand as if to shield himself from a powerful light. His eyes moved slowly over the finely tailored black coat he'd only glimpsed in the bar, the long folds of the cape, the black silk tie knotted at the throat, and the gleam of the white collar that was as white as the vampire's flesh. He stared at the vampire's full black hair, the waves that were combed back over the tips of the ears, the curls that barely touched the edge of the white collar.
"Now, do you still want the interview?" the vampire asked.
The boy's mouth was open before the sound came out. He was nodding. Then he said, "Yes."
The vampire sat down slowly opposite him and, leaning forward, said gently, confidentially, "Don't be afraid. Just start the tape."
And then he reached out over the length of the table. The boy recoiled, sweat running down the sides of his face. The vampire clamped a hand on the boy's shoulder and said, "Believe me, I won't hurt you. I want this opportunity. It's more important to me than you can realize now. I want you to begin." And he withdrew his hand and sat collected, waiting.
It took a moment for the boy to wipe his forehead and his lips with a handkerchief, to stammer that the microphone was in the machine, to press the button, to say that the machine was on.
"You weren't always a vampire, were you?" he began.
"No," answered the vampire. "I was a twenty-five-year-old man when I became a vampire, and the year was seventeen ninety-one."
The boy was startled by the preciseness of the date and he repeated it before he asked, "How did it come about?"
"There's a simple answer to that. I don't believe I want to give simple answers," said the vampire. "I think I want to tell the real story--."
"Yes," the boy said quickly. He was folding his handkerchief over and over and wiping his lips now with it again.
"There was a tragedy--" the vampire started. "It was my younger brother--. He died." And then he stopped, so that the boy could clear his throat and wipe at his face again before stuffing the handkerchief almost impatiently into his pocket.
"It's not painful, is it?" he asked timidly.
"Does it seem so?" asked the vampire. "No." He shook his head. "It's simply that I've only told this story to one other person. And that was so long ago. No, it's not painful--.
"We were living in Louisiana then. We'd received a land grant and settled two indigo plantations on the Mississippi very near New Orleans--."
"Ah, that's the accent--" the boy said softly.
For a moment the vampire stared blankly. "I have an accent?" He began to laugh.
And the boy, flustered, answered quickly. "I noticed it in the bar when I asked you what you did for a living. It's just a slight sharpness to the consonants, that's all. I never guessed it was French."
"It's all right," the vampire assured him. "I'm not as shocked as I pretend to be. It's only that I forget it from time to time. But let me go on--."
"Please--" said the boy.
"I was talking about the plantations. They had a great deal to do with it, really, my becoming a vampire. But I'll come to that. Our life there was both luxurious and primitive. And we ourselves found it extremely attractive. You see, we lived far better there than we could have ever lived in France. Perhaps the sheer wilderness of Louisiana only made it seem so, but seeming so, it was. I remember the imported furniture that cluttered the house." The vampire smiled. "And the harpsichord; that was lovely. My sister used to play it. On summer evenings, she would sit at the keys with her back to the open French windows. And I can still remember that thin, rapid music and the vision of the swamp rising beyond her, the moss-hung cypresses floating against the sky. And there were the sounds of the swamp, a chorus of creatures, the cry of the birds. I think we loved it. It made the rosewood furniture all the more precious, the music more delicate and desirable. Even when the wisteria tore the shutters off the attic windows and worked its tendrils right into the whitewashed brick in less that a year-- Yes, we loved it. All except my brother. I don't think I ever heard him complain of anything, but I knew how he felt. My father was dead then, and I was head of the family and I had to defend him constantly from my mother and sister. They wanted to take him visiting, and to New Orleans for parties, but he hated these things. I think he stopped going altogether before he was twelve. Prayer was what mattered to him, prayer and his leatherbound lives of the saints.
"Finally, I built him an oratory removed from the house, and he began to spend most of every day there and often the early evening. It was ironic, really. He was so different from us, so different from everyone, and I was so regular! There was nothing extraordinary about me whatsoever." The vampire smiled.
"Sometimes in the evening I would go out to him and find him in the garden near the oratory, sitting absolutely composed on a stone bench there, and I'd tell him my troubles, the difficulties I had with the slaves, how I distrusted the overseer or the weather or my brokers-- all the problems that made up the length and breadth of my existence. And he would always listen, making only a few comments, always sympathetic, so that when I left him I had the distinct impression he had solved everything for me. I didn't think I could deny him anything, and I vowed that no matter how it would break my heart to lose him, he could enter the priesthood when the time came. Of course, I was wrong." The vampire stopped.
For a moment the boy only gazed at him and then he started as if awakened from a deep thought, and he floundered, as if he could not find the right words. "Ah-- he didn't want to be a priest?" the boy asked. The vampire studied him as if trying to discern to meaning of his expression. Then he said:
"I meant that I was wrong about myself, about my not denying him anything." His eyes moved over the far wall and fixed on the panes of the window. "He began to see visions."
"Real visions?" the boy asked, but again there was hesitation, as if he were thinking of something else.
"I don't think so," the vampire answered. "It happened when he was fifteen. He was very handsome then. He had the smoothest skin and the largest blue eyes. He was robust, not thin as I am now and was then-- but his eyes-- it was as if when I looked into his eyes I was standing alone on the edge of the world-- on a windswept ocean beach. There was nothing but the soft roar of the waves.
- ASIN : B004AM5R20
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (November 17, 2010)
- Publication date : November 17, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 2634 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 354 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #23,664 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The frame story consists of the interviewer and Louis. The core story talks about Louis’s adventures and relationships.
The setting, in the beginning, is the late twentieth century San Francisco. Before that, it is Pointe du Lac, a plantation in Lousiana, New Orleans, and Paris, France. The protagonist in the core story is Louis, a vampire of about two centuries, and the antagonist is Lestat who turned Louis into a vampire.
The secondary characters are Claudia and Armand, with Claudia’s role being much greater than Armand’s. Claudia attracted Louis first, then she was made into a vampire by Lestat possibly to keep Louis with him.
I found the relationships among the characters to be the most interesting in the story rather than the events of the story, in which the action never stops. The tension and suspense in the book are also fascinating as does the writing style, and even if the events seem to be far out, the skill of the author adds a believability factor to unbelievable circumstances.
Both Louis and Claudia have mixed feelings about Lestat, and they take some kind of revenge from him, which ends up giving Louis guilt feelings. Lestat, on the other hand, loves them but as a vampire, he is selfish but much more knowledgeable. Then there are the strong love and hate relationships between any two or more vampires, which was interesting, like that of Lestat and Louis, Louis and Armand, and Armand and Santiago and the other vampires. The relationship between Louis and Claudia had more love than any other relationship in the story. These relationships had nothing to do with gender or sex but possibly their type of attraction was due to who these vampires were.
As characterization is superior to the horror elements in the novel, I didn’t think Lestat to be a villain at all. He was a vampire who knew what was there to know about the vampire lore, but wasn’t willing to share it fully, only because he wanted to keep those he was attached to close to him. He was selfish that way. Also, that he didn’t go after vengeance after what Claudia and Louis did to him elevated the way I thought of him.
Then both Louis and Lestat love all arts and spend time in the opera or at the art museum and all vampires have intensely alert senses to shapes, colors, sounds, and smells. In fact, all these details and their peculiar richness make this book very readable.
I don’t normally read horror, but I must have read this book much earlier possibly during the late seventies, as I recalled much of it while reading it the second time this October, and I am not sorry for it. Truth is, I enjoyed it greatly.
I immediately purchased the book and read it, start to finish, in a single sitting. Her prose was so colorful! I could smell the jasmine in the air, see the cypress trees, hear the New Orleans accent of her main character Louis. She brought me into her world of vampires in a way that few novels ever have.
There were times when I would read a sentence so perfect that I had to set the book aside for a moment just to compose myself.
I'm working my way through the rest of the Vampire Chronicles now and each book has been better than the last.
Anne Rice is one of the most talented writers of our time. Her storytelling is unparalleled, her characters are people that I would give anything to meet. She truly has a gift and each of her books has been a gift to me.
Top reviews from other countries
What strikes me most with Rice's vampires is the perfect balance she has between making them human and making them monstors. Louis, Lestat and Claudia are so incredibly developed, such complex 3D characters that I believe they put even the greats like Jane Austen's characters to shame (I still have not gotten over the 2 years at A-Level I had to endure learning about Emma Woodhouse's 'complex' personality). But not only that - whilst most vampire fiction I've read has an exciting, fast paced plot and intriguing characters, I feel that Anne Rice is truly a master of story telling - there is just as much internal action going on here as external action, and I get the sense that Rice has truly questioned the essence of what it means to be a vampire, and through Louis, Claudia and Lestat, we begin to understand the answers.
I have now ordered the next 3 books and eagerly await their arrival. An amazing piece of work, I'm just dissapointed I have not read it previously. Far better than the Night World series, in a totally different league to Darren Shan, and completely and utterably incomparable to the Twilight series - this is the best vampire novel I have ever read, and one I will come back to time and time again.
I'd already seen the film back in the 1990's, but couldn't remember much about it. Just before my books arrived the film was on TV again so I watched it again. The film left me with many questions, I felt there was a lot left out especially were the deaths of Claudia and Madeleine were concerned. After watching the film I started to read the novel.
The journey begins in the 20th Century as a young lad is interviewing a vampire as he wants to tell his story so others will know. His name is Louis Pointe du Lac and as the interview unfolds we find out why he became a vampire and a about the vampire that made him who is called Lestat. But Louis is no usual vampire, he's different and Lestat doesn't like it.
The interviewer asks all kinds of questions and Louis tells him of how he finds the child Claudia and why he makes her a Vampire. Lestat teaches them both about being a vampire; he keeps a tight hold on both Louis and Claudia which leads to arguments and death. Here I will leave the story as I don't want to ruin it for you.
Anne Rice is a powerful writer; her characters are always believable and have great depth to them. Her descriptive work and plots are fantastic, and never disappoints the reader. :-)
The story grips you from the start, and with every turn of the page she draws you further into the story, it's a compulsive and enjoyable read. :-)
I highly recommend the book as it's far better than the film. :-)
I'm now looking forward to starting the second novel in the series which is called "The Vampire Lestat", and I'll be starting that as soon as I've finished this review. :-)
Rice maintains credibility throughout the novel in terms of the direction of the narrative, and seldom if ever are concepts introduced that seem 'unlikely' in the credible setting built up. Without speculating too specifically, I understand that Rice underwent some family tragedies not long before this novel was written, (in 5 weeks!), and her extreme sentimental openness in the novel is surely justified, and the novel actually benefits from this emotional release. It would be a comfort to be able to express your feelings as cogently as Rice if one was overcoming a tragedy.
There is only one possible loophole in the story, (although my identification of this is very questionable as it is subjective, and I could probably be proven wrong and convinced of the proof). This is when Louis seems to have only just met Armand, and although Louis has been searching for another civilised vampire, (civilised apart from the fact that he kills countless innocent mortals), for years, I felt that he would need to know Armand for longer to warrant exchanging words of love. It seemed as Louis virtually walked up to Armand and said, 'ah, hello.. I love you!'. As I said, that is a purely subjective observation; (please note that the previous dialogue is not a quote). The other interesting factor about this novel, in my opinion, is that Anne describes predominantly male thoughts, (the narrator is male: Louis), when she is female, so for any male readers it is intriguing to see her perspective.
To conclude, IwtV is a wonderful tragic vampire biography, and is not too immensly melancholy to be unbearable to read.
The book is necessary evil as i would call it, i have actually only read it after i had read the second one - just to fill in the gaps and remind myself of some of the parts of the story... Just seeing the film does is not satisfactory (this shortcut does not work).
It is good, but i wonder if i would have enjoyed it more had i read it before The Vampire Lestat, coz all the way through this book i could not wait to get to the end so i can start reading The third one - Queen of the Damned.
I would recommend you read it first - if you liked the film or if you like vampire stories, and then if it takes your fancy you will have a ball with the rest of them....
Great story , high quality book