Review: ‘Interview with the Vampire’ by Anne Rice

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Friday, August 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

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.  (Goodreads Summary)

I read this book hoping for a take on the vampire story which was different from the rash of alternately saccharine and soft core porn vampire novels which proliferate at the moment, and it was indeed different. However, it seems that darker does not necessarily mean better and apparently it also does not mean I’m any more likely to enjoy it.

Yes, this book is dark, but it’s dark all the time and clearly takes itself very seriously. There are no moments of levity to break the monotonous, stifling morbidity, and while I appreciate this is the tone of the book, there are a lot of wasted opportunities for some delicious black humour which would have been the perfect accent to it. Louis’ constant philosophising which helps to flesh out Rice’s take on the vampire myth wandered between being pompous and being whiney and once again shows a complete lack of irony or self-reflection, even though the eponymous vampire is supposedly looking back on these thoughts from the distance of many years. The interview device which facilitated this is, at best, inconsistently maintained. Great swathes of text went by without any recourse to the interviewer, and I thought that better use could have been made of this neglected outsider perspective.

That said, there were some aspects of the novel that I enjoyed. Claudia is a fabulous character, far more interesting than the insipid narrator. I also appreciate the way that Rice gives the narrative a seductively sensual quality without ever having any of the characters have sex. This gives her writing a class and elegance which I find lacking in modern vampire books. It was also an enormous relief to see the word ‘velvet’ only ever used in the context of fabric (Christine Feehan, I’m looking at you). Nonetheless, this book just wasn’t for me, but I can see why so many people enjoy it.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.  Published by Warner, 1994, pp. 368.  Originally published in 1976.

N.B. This is an old review written in 2010 and posted on Goodreads and LibraryThing before I started keeping track of all the books I read here at Old English Rose Reads.  I’ve decided to keep copies here so that this remains a complete record of my reading since I started reviewing books for my own pleasure.

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