During sophomore year, most students at MAST Academy are required to read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a Romantic novel about the creation of a misfit monster and his struggles to fit in and survive in society.
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, published in 1976, is very much like Frankenstein in this regard. If you are a fan of weird literature, it does not get weirder than Interview with a Vampire.
Before Twilight, vampires were seen in a very different light than they are nowadays. Thus, Interview with a Vampire is a true horror story.
In the novel, Rice chronicles the life of a young man from New Orleans named Louis de Pointe du Lac who gets bitten by an evil vampire, Lestat de Lioncourt, that desires his company. Lestat and Louis become immortal companions, establishing a family with their young vampire “daughter” named Claudia and traveling around the country, finally ending up in Europe.
Louis, like Frankenstein’s monster, finds it hard to fit into either the vampire or the human society, for he finds having to feed on other people morally wrong and chooses to live off of animals. Lestat, meanwhile, thrives on human blood and lacks compassion for those he kills, causing Louis to greatly dislike him. Thus, Louis and Lestat develop an interesting relationship, one in which Lestat desperately needs Louiswhile Louis wants to escape from Lestat.
“A magnificent, compulsively readable thriller . . . Rice begins where Bram Stoker and the Hollywood versions leave off and penetrates directly to the true fascination of the myth–the education of the vampire,” the Chicago Tribune said about Rice’s book.
What makes Interview with a Vampire different from the vampire books of today is that it is not a sappy love story, but, rather, it is a beautiful depiction of what it feels like to be a vampire, forced to live an immortal life full of pain and suffering. Rice writes with such clarity, rich detail, and vivid imagery that she drags the reader in, making him or her feel as if they are a part of Louis and Lestat’s adventures. Louis’ tribulations become the reader’s own, and you forget you are reading the story of a vampire, not of a human.
Many people have a romantic perception towards vampires, but Rice’s vampires will completely alter that perception into one of fear and monstrosity. Not only are Louis and Lestat fearsome, but they are complex, dynamic characters.
“A chilling, thought-provoking tale, beautifully frightening, sensuous, and utterly unnerving,” said the Hartford Courant.
Rice is the queen of vampire novels, and Interview with a Vampire is a definite must-read for fans of vampires and all things that go bump in the night.