If I liked Interview With The Vampire at all, it is only for the way that it emphasized all that I believe to be true.
Not vampires, of course. I don’t believe vampires to be true. And, the more I heard Louis tell his story in an interview conducted by a boy with a reel-to-reel tape recorder (this was published in 1976, remember?), the more I saw his distress as that which would belong to anyone who doesn’t believe in God.
When Louis is not convinced by his brother’s visions that they must sell the family plantation “to do God’s work in France,” his brother falls from the head of the brick stairs and breaks his neck. Louis is overcome with guilt and turns to drink…and then one night he is attacked by the vampire, Lestat.
After becoming a vampire himself, Louis and Lestat stage a fire and flee, embarking on a life which involves sleeping in coffins, drinking blood from living creatures or humans, and as far as I can see, general discontent.
Louis is never happy being a vampire. He sees a young girl crying over her dead mother in a poverty-stricken area of New Orleans, and takes her to be his own child. He turns her into a vampire, for which she can never forgive him, and they have this bizarre parent-child, love relationship. Claudia can never grow to be a woman in bodily form, nor can she outgrow her resentment to Louis although it seems that at some level she does love him.
They leave their town house in New Orleans, and Lestat, for Paris. Eventually they meet Armand, a vampire who invites them to the Theatre, and there they witness a most erotic play in which a woman is taken by a vampire to the thrill of all the vampires in the audience.
Through the course of the interview, as Louis is disclosing the details of his story, I was struck by passages which I recorded in my reading journal. These, I think, are the essence of what matters in this novel. For if anything can be considered horrific in Louis’ life, it is the despair he feels at all he has seen and done, the despair at who he has become.
I sold my soul for a many-colored and luminescent thing, thinking that a highly reflective surface conveyed the power to walk on water.~Louis (page 276)
“I wanted love and goodness in this which is living death,” I said. “It was impossible from the beginning, because you cannot have love and goodness when you do what you know to be evil, what you know to be wrong.”~Louis (page 336)
“Whether a man would have died tomorrow or the day after or eventually…it doesn’t matter. Because if God does not exist, this life…every second of it…is all we have.”~Louis (page 237)
It brought to my mind this verse from the New Testament:
If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men.1 Corinthians 15:19
Thank you for bringing this one to the club, as it’s a title I would have liked to revisit. I read quite a lot of Rice a couple of decades back then lost interest as the series went on and on, and none of the books lived up to the first. I think she poured a lot of the grief at loss of her first child into “Interview…” which may be where the power comes from. I would definitely re-read it, if I could find my copy….
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I’m interested in how you said she poured a lot of the grief from the loss of her first child into this novel. I could certainly feel so much compassion for Louis, who unwillingly became a vampire, then struggled what to do with it. He seemed so lost and lonely; really he was quite a tragic character.
I have begun Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder for my next read in the 1976 club, and it is utterly delightful! I think I had forgotten what special books she has written. Thank you again for hosting this challenge; I love it.
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Yes, I believe her daughter died young of leukaemia and from what I’ve read that loss informed her portrait of Claudia in the book, and perhaps stems from a wish to bring her back to life. I’ve always felt it’s the strongest book she wrote, and maybe it’s because it draws on that tragedy.
And I’m glad you’re enjoying Sleeping Murder. Christie is one of my all time favourites – absolutely love her work! Glad you’re enjoying the Club! 😀
The Bruegel is an interesting painting even if bleak. I’m puzzling a bit over your first line “if you liked Interview at all …” does this mean you overall did or did not like it? I’m just a bit thick sometimes. I liked the Quotes you pulled from it. 1976 was a pretty good year as I recall … I was with friends in Calif. but the Lestat novel did not come for us then … it seems it took awhile.
You are not thick! Overall, I did not like it as much as I had expected to. I have heard of this book since I was in high school (which was many! years ago), and my husband was quite fond of it. But, the further I went, the more unsettled I became. The tones of homosexual love combined with erotic blood-sucking was uncomfortable to me. Yet, I can surely see the sorrow of Louis. Like Frankenstein’s monster, one feels sad for his bondage and loneliness.
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Interesting – this sounds more nuanced than I’d expected, from what I’ve heard.
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