Interview With The Vampire – A Book As Old As I Am

My first encounter with Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire was in the early 1990s when a grade school girl friend had purchased a paperback copy at a yard sale for fifty cents. I remember her clutching it to her chest and kicking her feet in the air while lying on her bed as she exclaimed, “I am in love with this book!”

I did not follow her advice and read it for myself. But in 1994, much to the hype of its two leading actors, I was fascinated by the film adaptation which was released while I was working my first job in a movie theater.

Six years later I was working in a bookstore and regularly listening to the hype of other vampire fans who lusted after every new book in the Chronicles series. I finally picked up The Witching Hour after being encouraged by a close friend but I put it down before finishing it because I just didn’t feel like I was a mature enough reader at the time to enjoy it the way it was intended.

But I was turned on to Anne’s son and his writing that year after I attended a book signing for his first book, Density of Souls. Now, another 12 years later, I finally decided to read his mother.

After reading Anne’s latest, The Wolf  Gift, just a few weeks ago and being well pleased with it, I decided it was finally time to give her vampires a try.  I’d been collecting her books in hardcover with intention to read them at some point and my copy of Interview is a 1976 hardcover 1st edition.

It’s hard to believe this book came out the year I was born. It definitely reads like a timeless classic and holds its appeal still today. As long as readers are fascinated by vampires, I’m sure Interview will be in print and continue to sell. I was also surprised by how well the book was adapted to film, but that is to be expected since, to my knowledge, Anne did work on the script.

My main problem was that it’s almost impossible not to picture Tom Cruise as Lestat or Brad Pitt as Louis while reading it.  Surprisingly, Kirsten Dunst did not pop into my head as much for Claudia. And I tried desperately to keep Antonio out of my head as Armand since he was my least favorite actor in the movie.

I also enjoyed the minor plot lines that were in the book, but not in the movie – the biggest being the presence of Lestat’s human father in the beginning of the book.

Even though it’s one of the shortest books in the Vampire Chronicles, it is definitely not a light read. At 309 pages, it took me just over 2 weeks to read it. Rice  is extremely poetic and does tend to over romanticize descriptions. Heavy descriptions of ornate clothing, furnishings, and New Orleans settings really dragged the narrative for me at times, though Rice definitely knows how to paint a picture for her readers.

That being said, you do get a definite sense of Louis’s struggle (both physical and emotional) with being a vampire. You are in his head 100% even though he’s telling the story; his emotional turmoil with who he is and the debate of good and evil is prevalent. But it is often Lestat’s pride and acceptance of what he is that drives the book, despite how much Louis despises him. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series which focuses entirely on Lestat.

Though this book wasn’t completely my forte, I do have an appreciation and admiration for it just because it really did define the genre that we know today.  While vampires have become more monstrous and much more accepting of what and who they are, perhaps in a way they all stemmed from the beautiful lost Louie or boastful Lestat.

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