Interview with the Vampire
Author: Anne Rice
Published By: Ballantine Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
My brother had been trying to get me to read an Anne Rice novel for years, but I wasn’t really interested in reading about vampires at the time and took a pass. Since watching the movie adaptation of Rice’s most acclaimed novel, Interview with the Vampire, I have decided that the novel might be worth checking out after all. And so, I went out to the local bookstore and picked myself up a copy.
Interview with the Vampire is centered around a vampire named Louis. Tormented by the life he has been forced to live, he decides to warn others of vampires’ lonely and often times horrific existence. He sets his sights on a young reporter and begins to tell his tale, which dates back to the early days of Louisiana…back to a time when Louis was a young plantation owner. It was Louis’ guilt over not believing his brother’s visions, his subsequent death and the possibility that his brother may have been destined for sainthood that leads Louis toward the vampire path.
Seeing him broken and despairing of life, a vampire named Lestat offers Louis death at his hands, then teases him with the idea of immortal life. Louis realizes he doesn’t want to die and grasps at the straw Lestat offers. He regrets the decision for the rest of his immortal life.
As Louis begins to realize what kind of man Lestat is, he decides to leave him. Upon learning of this, Lestat devises a plan to make Louis stay - the creation of a daughter - an immortal created from a young girl that Louis didn’t kill during a shameful feeding. Happy that he didn’t kill the young girl and ashamed that he had fed on her at all, Louis was mortified that Lestat would turn her into one of them. Yet, he couldn’t help but love Claudia as if she were his own child.
Unfortunately, Claudia was no longer a child. Thanks to the rules of immortality of vampires, Claudia was now a woman trapped inside a child’s body, resentful of the man who created her. Her failed attempt to kill Lestat has Louis and Claudia on the run. Their escape turns into an adventure as the two search for others of their kind and the meaning of it all. Unfortunately, they forgot that old adage that warns one to be careful what they wish for.
Interview with the Vampire was a relatively quick read. I found Louis’ account of his life fascinating and truly enjoyed the way Rice wrote the tale in the point of view of Louis, a tormented vampire. Thanks to the novel that started it all, I now had some insight into the behavior of the numerous characters in the movie adaptation. I now understood why Lestat seemed to toy with his prey, why Louis hated him so much and why Claudia’s behavior in the film bordered on bizarre. The book explains it all and more.
And yet, despite enjoying the read and believing that some of the scenes in the book would have done a great deal toward enhancing the movie experience had they been included, I found that I enjoyed the movie much more. Especially when it came to the ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but the endings of the novel and the movie are radically different and something about the movie’s ending seemed to make Lestat that much more monstrous.
That being said, I encourage anyone who is into vampire lore to check out Interview with the Vampire and read this captivating tale of a vampire written in his point of view.