I remember the first time I read Interview with the Vampire. I was in high school. I was a teenager with a highly impressionable mind.
But I was young and was quite superstitious borne out of religiosity. I had a very religious grandmother who influenced me greatly. I thought God was angry at me for reading a novel about vampires!
And then Lestat says something that truly terrifies me and, if not for the delicious prose, I would not have gone any further. "I'd like to meet the devil one night. I'd chase from here to the wilds of the Pacific. I am the devil." And I thought that Anne really was writing about Satan in the form of Lestat, and I was afraid but intrigued by this evil. Of course now we know which of the Brat Prince's statements to take seriously.
But here we also get to know what makes Louis a conflicted character, full of contradictions. He is able to go into a stillness of mind, a detachment, and yet his questions tortured him. He definitely enjoyed his vampire senses, but was tormented when he needed to kill, but the kill produced swooning in him. "I looked around me at all the mortals that I knew and saw all life as precious," he said, "condemning all fruitless guilt and passion that would let it slip through the fingers like sand." In fact what a wonderful way to live! To treat your own life as precious and to be savored! And this lesson to be learned from the undead! Louis is capable of love, as Lestat is capable of the most fantastic horrors. Lestat was the petty, murderous thief and gambler, and Louis the investor of the stolen money. And so are we humans. We are not to waste our lives. Every moment must be first known then savored.
And Louis says it was his vampiric detachment that helped him arrive to these thoughts.
And then Anne Rice begins to describe the beauty of old New Orleans of that century. And this--take note writers!--is one of her powers. She writes as if she really lived there, as if she saw personally what her characters describe. This is the gift of imagination, and I suspect, thorough research. Rice knows New Orleans. And so we truly believe that her characters truly lived in that place, for the place is so real, and her characters become, for me and you, real too.The moon that rose over New Orleans then still rises.
Recently on her page she shared a link about the great 19th century Russian writers. In the article Gogol was described, and Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev. I must read these writers, too. To learn from them.
Tomorrow, the Frenieres!