According to wikipedia, Anne Rice is an author of “gothic fiction, christian literature, and erotica.”
One of these things is not like the other…
I know Interview with the Vampire has been around for awhile, after all, I was in high school when Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt played Rice’s vampires, much to her dismay. That was more than *gulp* 20 years ago. But crap, the book is 40 years old people!
So if you live under a rock, like me, or you just have yet to dabble in the literary vampire arts, here’s a briefing.
The story is told in the present day, with the vampire Louie telling a young reporter about his life over the past 200 years. He begins in New Orleans in the late 1700’s when he was made a vampire by Lestat, a sadistic, manic vampire who doesn’t seem the type to play well with others. I kinda get the impression vampires, as a class, don’t play well with others though. So Louie is really an outlier. He maintains a semblance of compassion and humanity. He struggles with killing people every night and doesn’t have a penchant for playing with his food, like Lestat does.
The story is great. We travel from New Orleans to Eastern Europe to Paris. We cross the span of 200 years (although there aren’t a lot of historic or social landmarks that highlight the different time periods). But what I really liked was Louis’ voice. Like literally. The man who narrated my audiobook did a great job. He kinda sounded like he had an eastern European accent from…well, wherever the Count is from. Yes, I’m talking about Sesame Street again. Anyway, I liked how Rice wrote him too (Louis, not the Count). He struggles with questions of immortality and religion. One of my favorite scenes is when Louis is in a church, looking around at the relics and religious symbols. Disillusioned, he thinks to himself, “I’m the only supernatural creature in this church.”
And when he is talking with Armand, one of the Paris vampires, about the purpose of life without God, he says, “And what constitutes evil, real evil, is the taking of a single human life. Whether a man would die tomorrow or the day after or eventually… it doesn’t matter. Because if God does not exist, then life… every second of it… Is all we have.”
That struck me. I’ve heard only the opposite argument, that if there is no God or no cosmic repercussions of any kind for human behavior, then what is the point of morality? Louis argues that it just becomes even more important to make the most of this life. Leave it to a fictional vampire played by Brad Pitt to bring me to an existential epiphany.
Here’s another one I liked.
“Consequently, if you believe God made Satan, you must realize that all Satan’s power comes from God and so that Satan is simply God’s child, and that we are God’s children also. There are no children of Satan, really.”
This stems from Louie struggling with whether or not he is good or evil, given his religious background and carnal reality. Whether or not you agree with these things is immaterial. Rice’s writing will make you think about why you do or do not believe as you do through Louis. And according to Brad Pitt (who played him) he’s a lot better in the book, than the movie. So….
An oldie but goodie. But I’m gonna watch the movie anyway.
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