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4.5 out of 5 stars
Interview With The Vampire: Number 1 in series (Vampire Chronicles)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Anne Rice took the publishing world by storm in "Interview With the Vampire," a haunting book that turned the evil-bloodsucker cliche on its ear. Her lush prose and vivid characters turn the dramatic plot and strange scenarios into a chilling look at good and evil, thankfully without melodrama.

In modern times, a young man is interviewing a vampire on tape recorder. The vampire is Louis Pointe du Lac. In 1791, his ultra-religious brother died tragically after an argument, and Louis sank into remorse and despair. Enter Lestat de Lioncourt, a charming vampire who offers Louis a way out of his grief.

The two vampires wander the cities of the world, with Lestat teaching his reluctant pupil the ways of vampirism. In time Louis makes a "daughter": Claudia, a vampire child with the mind of a woman. Now, depressed and unhappy, Louis explains how he and Claudia fled Lestat, only to encounter new tragedies that still haunt him to this day...

Moral struggles are rarely present in vampire novels. Certainly not from the vampire's point of view. But that is exactly what Anne Rice attempts in this book. She wraps her dark story in lush prose and beautiful descriptions of Paris and her hometown of New Orleans, making this one of the best-written vampire stories since "Dracula."

No gore and grit here. Rice's writing is exceptionally beautiful, full of lush descriptions and intricate detail. Best of all, it has that rare quality of atmosphere -- no matter how enchanting the vampire, or beautiful the setting, a feeling of darkness and sorrow runs through it.

Rice also dips into one of the best examples of literary vampirism ever: Louis becomes a vampire out of his grief, but once the grief fades, he is left with the soul of a human, and the bloodthirst of a vampire -- things that can't be reconciled. They just can't fit together. His longing to remain as human as possible, in defiance of his curse, is a tragic twist in a dark storyline.

Louis is a bit of a whiner, but a deeper look reveals why. He struggles with morality and beliefs that -- unlike Lestat -- he never really let go of. Because he is a vampire, he is by his very nature a killer, yet the idea of murder is repulsive to him. Lestat is utterly charming and incredibly engaging, despite his amoral behavior. It's not hard to see why Louis would be drawn in by such an enchanting person, no matter how bad he is.

One of the greatest shaping influences on elegant vampire lore has been Anne Rice's "Interview with the Vampire." A beautiful and lush novel of darkness and beauty.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 January 2003
I was given this book by a friend and told that it would not be as I expected. As its not at all my type of book it laid on a shelf until the moment when I had a flight to catch but nothing to read. So it came with me, and, I was so absorbed that I read and read until the last page turned.
I'd expected white breasted women and blood - and crosses and lots of mumbo jumbo. Instead the book is a good piece of historical fiction describing the New Orleans of a hundred years ago as well as an attempt to express the fundamental drawbacks to vampire immortality. The vampires of Ann Rice can love but not express it physically, they can ponder on the world of mortal man but they cannot become a part of it, so in the end they have to fill their time with art and literature and the philosophical questions that haunt them, why are we here, are we evil, is there a god and the worst of all what to do with endless time. Not suprising then that most vampires apparently kill themselves due to simple and utter boredom.
I throughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it as simply a fascinating story of an individual at a moment in time trying to come to terms with existance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2001
A lame excuse I know, but the only reason I read this was because this was where Savage Garden got the inspiration for their name! I didn't really know what to expect. What I was confronted with was a masterpiece of the English language, her use of imagery far excelled any other book I have ever written. Vampires are not characters that I would usually have any empathy for, but this book displayed the many human features that she thought vampires possess. Louis was brought into the vampire world unwillingly by Lestat and had created for him a vampire child named Claudia. Claudia was my favourite character in this book, I felt sympathy for her as she became a mature woman trapped inside the body of a ten year old and this is somthing she resented. This is my favourite book as I never tire of the rich tapestry of language, therefore I would recommend this book to anyone - it's certainly a challenge, but a very fulfilling one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2010
It's been over a week since I finished this book and I still don't feel like I have a handle on it. Normally a couple of days is all I need to digest a volume and start to make connections that I hadn't noticed straight away. This time, however, despite being trapped in 200-odd pages of firmly printed text, I'm finding this tale as enigmatic and hard to pin down as any vampire.

`Interview with a Vampire' begins with the brilliant conceit of a young man tape-recording an interview with Louis, a two-hundred year old vampire. Louis tells the story of his life and loves, starting in New Orleans with how he met and was transformed by the self-serving Lestat. Tormented by his inherent evil but driven by his hunger for human blood, Louis attacks a young girl, Claudia, in the back streets of the city. In a complex act of cruelty and desperation, Lestat also makes Claudia a vampire, establishing the characters as the strangest of families. The story explores the relationships that these three vampires have with each other and with themselves, visiting some very dark places and sometimes taking the reader to places they never sought to go.

I neither liked nor disliked this book, but I was certainly intrigued by it. Louis philosophical ponderings on what being a vampire means offered a genuinely different perspective on a myth that permeates modern culture. However, I can see why it has retained its cult status in the last 40 years. The more brutal, visceral and sexual aspects of the vampire's existence, along with the subtle hints at what could be construed as paedophilia, could be alienating for some audiences. For me, they just sat awkwardly with what I found newer and more interesting, the more thoughtful start to the book. It's probably important however that we don't forget that vampires are supposed to be human predators rather than the damaged pretty boys so often seen on screen today.

Overall, although I'm not sure I would recommend this novel to anyone, it captured my interest enough to make me want to read the sequel, `The Vampire Lestat'. Hopefully this will be less ambiguous than its predecessor.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2006
I read this book entirely based on the fact that I had seen the film and I have to say I was not disappointed. I instantly fell in love with all the characters, and I love the way that Anne writes, it is so fluid and full of imagery. I just wish I had been able to read the whole book in one go (but had to stop reading to revise for my GCSE's) but when I picked the book up again in the summer I just couldn't put it down. The only problem with this book is that it will cause lack of sleep due to not wanting to stop reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2000
This is the sort of book that once you start it you absolutely have to finish it without taking a break for such mundane matters like sleeping or eating. Anne Rice captures the feel of a bygone age and transports you there so that you feel like the world in the book is your second home. The story is all the better for not taking the usual "vampires are evil crusifix hating monsters" but rathre that they have problems which at times can be quite comical. The underlying eroticism is very well written and Anne Rice has become one of my alltime favourite authors. Also there are many more books in the series which unfortunately she does not write fast enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2006
I bought this book thinking that it would be an unimaginative, average horror story that would keep me occupied on car journeys, despite its claims of being the second-most incluencial vampire novel of all time. However, my low expectations were shattered the second I started reading.
Anne Rice's book features a defeated vampire, Louis, telling a journalist the tale of his life. The literary style is equistite, mingling the beautiful with the grotesque perfectly, and the characterisation is good, which is very unsusual for a horror story. I fell in love with Louis immediately, and found the idea of the demon-child Claudia intriguing.
Unfortunately, the second in the series rather disappointed me, mainly because it was centred around Lestat, whom I didn't really connect with--it was a fair book, but nothing special. I gave up a few chapters into the third book, as it was clear that the series was going to focus then-on on Lestat and the history of the vampires, in place of Louis' much more human and personal story.
In short, an excellent book, but don't expect the same quality from the rest of the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2000
Prepare to be swept away into an alternate universe. Rice's style is so descriptive and seductive, the reader can't help but be swept back into the 18th century with Louis, the narrator of his life's story.
He begins as an introspective young planter's son bent on self-destruction in old Louisiana. He is stalked by a suave predator known as Lestat, who we come to love/hate throughout the tale. For Louis, ever sensitive to the big picture, vampire existence does not come easy. He travels to the old world to locate others like himself, with sometimes tragic consequences.
This is his journey toward self acceptance, and a completely absorbing read. IWTV is one of the most original, compelling stories of our time. The current vampire craze in popular movies and TV shows, with monsters-as-heroes, springs from this book.
I discovered this novel at 16 in the early 80's and was deeply affected. I'll remain a lifelong AR reader. Once read, this book won't be forgotten.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2006
What can I say? I was gripped from the beginning to the end, and have a required thirst for more Anne Rice Vampire novels.
Leaving out the details I will cut to the chase... If you are a Gothic Vampire or horror fan THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU!, filled with dark imagination, brutal seductive killings, characters that you feel you have grown up with,and yet the beauty,love and detailed description compulsary for any reader. It is a sheer classic - in my opinion better than 'Dracula'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2001
I'm ashamed to say that I did watch the film first, and I loved it. But, quite frankly, it pales in comparison to the book! What can one say? Beautiful, exquisite, well told. I fell in love with Louis, his tortured soul condemned for eternity to wander the Earth. I felt for him, wept with him. I was hooked by Rice's powerful narrative skills, her effortless prose. I didn't even start out with the Vampire novels - the first novel I read was Violin (which is also well worth the trouble of reading!! Really it is!) but that made me find more of her works. And I did. And I loved them too. Especially the exploits of Lestat. But this novel is the bar by which they are all measured, and I'll repeat myself one last time. Go read it - it's truly FANTASTIC!!
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