My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The first book in the vampire chronicles is a slow-burner, but is still brilliantly engaging and leaves you needing to know where these characters go and do next.
The story is recounted by Louis de Pointe du Lac to a reporter in a small room in San Francisco. He tells of how he grew up in New Orleans, the master of a plantation, and how after mourning the loss of his brother he gave up on life, only to be given the opportunity to live forever by the mysterious Lestat de Lioncourt. Together they make a dysfunctional family, and a child vampire Claudia. But Louis and Claudia grow tired of Lestat and his unwillingness to share any knowledge of other vampires of the world, keeping them completely isolated. So they break away from him, and go searching the globe for their own kind.
This is probably the third time I’ve read this book, and it’s like revisiting an old friend. There is just something about the vampire mythos that always strikes a chord with me. Probably it’s the outsider perspective observations of human life. A particular quote from this book illustrates just that:
“I watched the tragedy finally as one might from a theater balcony, moved from time to time, but never sufficiently to jump the railing and join the players on the stage” (p144).
This book is where it all started; the origin of the “gentleman vampire”. A man or woman who could pass invisibly among a crowd. Not the black and white monster stories of old. A creature as tortured internally as any human could be, more so perhaps due to the guilt of having to take human life for their own sustenance, and due to the sheer number of years lived, the length of multiple human lifetimes. The isolation and loneliness of a life so long. How a loss of a close friend (or even an enemy) leaves emotional scars lasting to eternity. How would you keep yourself relevant to a future time, when you had lived and learned through childhood and young adult life a century (or more) ago?
Anne Rice’s prose is always heavy on description. Setting the scenes beautifully, so that you can smell and feel the environments; and experience the character’s emotions for yourself. An immersive experience.