The last time I read it, I wrote a top ten list of the Reasons to Avoid Twilight. This spring I decided to use Twilight in a first year class. My read...moreThe last time I read it, I wrote a top ten list of the Reasons to Avoid Twilight. This spring I decided to use Twilight in a first year class. My reading list also included Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Batman The Killing Joke, A History of Violence, and a couple of movies. Many people asked me "Why?" A valid question, I think.
My answer is that we're stuck with Twilight. It's not going anywhere, and despite all the Twilight backlash, it is now a piece of pop culture that speaks to a huge portion of our society and probably always will. I understand those who refuse to analyze it, who refuse to dignify it with serious discussion, but I am not in their camp. To me, those stories that become pop culture touchstones -- be they Star Wars, Harry Potter or Twilight -- are precisely the texts we should be analyzing, quality be damned.
So I went into this reading trying to keep an open mind, trying to see things in a different way. I think I succeeded, and I was surprised to discover that I was occassionally surprised. My original #10 was The pathetic nature of Meyer's men., and I stand by that. They are about as vanilla as one can get, which is the last thing you want in a Vampire. Alabaster? Yes. Vanilla? No.
My #9 was that Mormon morality is not conducive to interesting Vampirism, and it's not, but I have to say that Mormon theology is a wonderful basis for the battle between the Vampires and Werewolves in Meyer's books. Recast the former as the Nephites and the latter as the Lamanites and you'll have Joseph Smith coughing up a marrow ball in his grave.
Perhaps I am going to piss some of my friends off with this, but I have increasingly noticed that my #8: Teenage girl angst from a thirty-something, middle class soccer mom isn't such an anomaly. I am not sure when this new breed of mom is going to grow up, but many of them haven't yet, and the fact that Meyer writes from a teenage perspective isn't surprising to me anymore (I hasten to add that I know no "soccer moms" here on goodreads, I am merely surrounded by them in my real life, so please don't take it as an insult if you are reading this).
Then there's #7. The total lack of meaningful conflict, the #6. Romance novel prose and #4. Movie of the week dialogue. I can't argue with those three observations. The first is bang on, and I've read a considerable amount of romance since my last reading of Twilight to know that my gut was correct on number six, and I was a screenwriter by trade, so you know what I think about my number four.
(Okay, I am boring myself while writing this. Are you bored yet?)
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that my #5. The unheroic, even laughable, heroism of Bella Swan isn't entirely fair. Bella does the best with what she's got, and I don't think Meyer intended her as a hero. She's no Ripley (Alien was one of my movies this semester), nor was she ever meant to be. She's a clumsy high school student driven by her hormones, but considering the supernatural forces arrayed against her, she's stands up pretty well. Not as well as Mina Harker or Sookie Stackhouse, but pretty well.
But now we come to my #3. Edward's inexplicable love for Bella and my #2. The insufferability of Bella. I was wrong about these two. First, Edward's love makes total sense. We get to hear every insipid thing flowing through Bella's brain, and when you can hear (or read) that stuff, it is almost impossible to fall in love with Bella (though I think you can have a positive response to her, even if you are a jaded cat like me), but Edward doesn't get any of that. The Bella he gets is decisive, mysterious, combative, confident, semi-intelligent and unreadable (the classic cat-nip for telepaths). If I didnn't hear her thoughts I would fall in love with Bella, and I missed that the first time through (go figure). On top of that, I didn't find Bella nearly as insufferable as I did the first time. Sure I grew annoyed with her mooning over Edward's beauty, btu I tried to put myself back to my own teenage years and imagine what it was like to be in love with curly-haired Christine in my Math class, and once I did that I could cut Bella plenty of slack. I learned no math in that class, but I can still see Christine's perfect eyelashes, long and naturaly dark, acting like eye-fireworks every time she blinked. It wasn't as bad as I remembered.
Finally, my #1. was That the movie WILL BE better than the book. Well, I've since seen the movie, and I think the book is marginally better, simply because the first person narrative cannot translate to the big screen, and it makes the job of Kristin Stewart, as Bella, an impossible task. I feel for her. I really do.
So there it is, my revision of what I thought the first time I tackled this book. Don't get me wrong, though. Twilight is far from great. It's okay at best. But I get why it is beloved, and I think I was a bit unfair the first time out. Will I teach it again? Maybe. But I think I'd rather teach One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich for the twentieth time. It's better. Trust me.
And here's a final bit of fun for this painfully long, beast of a review -- some things asked or overheard while I was rereading this:
“You hate Anna Karenina but you’re defending Twilight?! How does that work?”
“Bella is perfect, except for her silly clumsiness. How convenient,” then the same person said later on, “She’s pathetic.”
"Fag!" whipered under someone's breath as I was buying wine, but it could have been because of my cut-offs rather than the book. I get that a lot.
“Bella doesn’t love her family correctly.”
“You’re rereading it? I’ve read it three times and I always find something I missed before. It is soooo good.”
• The main idea of iZombie vol. 1 Dead to the World is a thing of beauty if you're a horror fan (especially if you dig zombies). Gwen dies, wakes up undead and discovers that she has to feast on a brain a month or become a shambling mass of rotting flesh with an insatiable appetite. She is not just cute, she's hot (as David pointed out in his review, this is a wonderful change from the zombies we're used to seeing), and she has to navigate our everyday world while fighting and feeding her hunger. The premise is gangbusters!
• At the back of the book, we're treated to a gallery of Michael Allred's beautiful black & white pencils. Most of them are potential covers for future issues, and they reveal a real depth before the colours are added. It's really a shame that they chose to colour iZombie at all
• Revenants. If you are a horror fan and don't know what this is, you're not really a horror fan. I'm not sure where they are taking this yet, and I am not convinced I like Chris Roberson's take on the Revenant, but the fact that it is there at all impresses the hell out of me.
• Mummies rock.
• The plot went in too many directions for me -- which is a symptom of the crappiest part of this book (see below) -- but when the story stays with Gwen's survival and out of the Diner, it is worth reading. I hope the second volume does a better job of sticking to what's good, but I know that's too much to ask. Whatever, I liked it enough to keep going, even with its faults.
• There's some pseudo-nudity that bothered me a bit. If the story had been more adult oriented, if it hadn't felt like a monster prequel to Friends, if its tone had been more Sookie than undead-Veronica Mars, I would have cheered on the sexuality and looked forward to more, but iZombie was too cute for that, and as long as it stays too cute any nudity is too much nudity. It just doesn't fit.
• I hated -- and I mean HATED -- most of the supporting characters. Wereterrier-boy, Sandra Dee Ghost-girl, the Asian geeks, the Vampire chicks, the Corporation Monster Hunters -- they all sucked the life out of the story. When things were focused on Gwen, things were great. I loved her digging up and eating brains. I loved her having to cope with the memories of the brains she's eaten. I loved her learning what she really is from Amon. I loved her whenever she was on her own. But when she was surrounded by her pack of idiot friends, it was like being stuck in a supernatural Riverdale High.
• I was not impressed with Laura Allred's colours. In fact, I think her colouring work wrecked Michael Allred's pencils. Compare and contrast the black and white work in the back with the glossy, fully coloured panels of the graphic novel. The depth and texture is suddenly missing, and it makes the M. Allred's drawings look like cheap, low-budget TV animation. Granted, there are some bits that her colours can't ruin, but most of it was ruined for me.
• I fucking hate Jughead and anything that reminds me of him! Have I mentioned that Gwen's friends are a pack of Riverdale rejects?(less)
4. And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before Edward Cullen, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5. And there came a voice unto me, saying: Isabella, thy lust is forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6. And I, Isabella, knew that Edward could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
7. And I said: Lord Edward, how is it done?
8. And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in the Cullens, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before we manifested ourselves in Forks; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.
9. Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of Jacob's brethren, the Wolphites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto Edward for them.
10. And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of Edward came into my mind again, saying: I will visit thy wolves according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given unto them this land, and it is a bound land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy wolves according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.
11. And after I, Isabella, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in Edward; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my wolves.
12. And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, Edward said unto me: I hate you for making me want you so much.
13. And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him — that if it should so be, that I should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed and turned into a vampire, and the wolves should not be destroyed, that Edward would preserve a record of me and the wolves ; even if it so be by the power of his vampiric arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the woves, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto vampiric salvation—
14. For at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that, if it were possible, they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of the Cullens.
15. Wherefore, I knowing that the Edward Cullen was able to preserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of me, ye shall receive it.
16. And I had faith, and I did cry unto Edward that he would preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth unto the wolves in his own due time.
17. And I, Isabella, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.(less)
Seriously, this book is total crap. Indy is barely Indy, Mihail is an hilarious Romanian descendant of Dracula, Sasha is a gypsy thief who's about as...moreSeriously, this book is total crap. Indy is barely Indy, Mihail is an hilarious Romanian descendant of Dracula, Sasha is a gypsy thief who's about as PC as Sallah in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the nameless boy working with Indy, the subject of this "choose your own adventure" is a bit of a knob. It's your standard trashy boy's own adventure fare.
So Indy is chasing the Cup of Darjeeling.* It's the mystical cup that makes Vlad the baddest vampire of all time. He's watching a vampire movie with our narrator, when the descendant of Dracula bursts in during a staking and sets them off in a race around the world.
In the adventure we followed -- read this with my son, Milos (he got to make all the decisions) -- we wound up being transported across the world in coffins, scaling a tower, and stealing away the Cup of Dracula. Wahoo!!
Idiotic? Yep. Dumb? Yep. Stupid? Yep. Bad? Yep, yep. Fun? That's a little trickier. I don't think I'd have enjoyed it too much if I'd read it as a teenager. Too crappy for my tastes, but as a Dad, hanging out with his Indiana Jones crazy six year old? Yeah, it was worth it, and a whole lot of fun.
So one star for quality -- barely -- and three stars for the company. And here's some advice: if you are a thirty to forty something Dad of little kids, go to your local used bookstore and snag a couple of choose-your-own-adventures. You'll be glad you did.
*it's something like that, but I can't be bothered to look it up.(less)
This may come off a little mean, but I need to start by saying that you are a bit of a hack. But I don't mean that to be mean because t...moreDear Charlaine,
This may come off a little mean, but I need to start by saying that you are a bit of a hack. But I don't mean that to be mean because the truth is I wouldn't want you to be anything other than the ass-kicking, pseudo-horror, pseudo-romance, pseudo-thriller hack that you are. You are my go-to guilty pleasure girl. I love hanging out with Sookie and her crew, and that's all down to you.
I just wanted you to know that Dead to the World is my favourite of the bunch. This had everything I love about Sookie and her world. Practically no Bill, lots of Eric (the hot Viking Sheriff of District Five), Weres, Witches, death, destruction, sex and tons of telepathic Sookie fun.
Did I say sex? Well, you hit the perfect balance between sex and action in this book, and I actually found some of the sex between Sookie and Eric to be arousing (not something I can say for your scenes between Sookie and Bill). And while I am on the subject of Vampire sex, Charlaine, thanks for eschewing the angsty, glittery, chaste, annoying Vampirism of Ms. Meyers. You celebrate Vampire naughtiness, then throw in some shape changing naughtiness for good measure, and that's so much more fun to read than the moody, whiny love triangle between a vapid girl, a pissy wolfboy and creepy "vegan" vamp.
So thanks for creating your bizarre, but believable world of everyday Supes who're challenging our prejudices by revealing that they've always been among us. Thanks for True Blood (both the fictional product and the HBO series), fangbangers (the coolest fictional term I've ever read in a pulpy novel), Fangtasia and the whole wacky population of Bon Temps.
I know your books are trashy, and I know some of them have pissed me off in the past, but Dead to the World is an exceptional piece of B-Lit trash. I am now a fan now matter how bad the rest of the books are. Sookie Stackhouse = Fun. I don't need anything more than that.
So thanks one last time, Charlaine Harris. I love your kooky mind.
There came a turn in the vampire oeuvre -- and that turn had much to do with the Anne Rice's vampire novels -- when the inherent eroticism of vampiris...moreThere came a turn in the vampire oeuvre -- and that turn had much to do with the Anne Rice's vampire novels -- when the inherent eroticism of vampirism, which was one of many vampiric themes, shifted into a full scale fetishization of vampire sexuality.
I don't say this to criticize totally what vampire tales have become. I remain a fan of Lestat, Louis and Armand, and I certainly dig Sookie's Bill and Eric (the less said about Bella's Edward the better), but the fetishization of vampire sexuality has become a reductive cliche in vampire literature, and each new manifestation of vampire fiction seems to carry with it an increasing hypersexuality to the detriment of other potential vampire themes, so I've found myself less and less excited by vampire tales with each incarnation.
So reading Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night has positively rejuvenated my interest in vampire fiction, reminding me that there is much that remains unexplored and underexplored in fiction about this most human form of undead.
Hambly discards the fetishization; in fact, what sexuality there is in Those Who Hunt the Night is either between her human protagonists, Lydia and Asher, or is merely the bare minimum required by a vampire for hunting (who are, according to one of the number, basically asexual). Sexuality is incidental. And I think Hambly wants it to remain that way because the theme that most concerns her is predation.
She is concerned with the ethics of hunting to live, of killing to preserve life. She offers one complex vampire, the eminently likable Don Simon Ysidro, and a series of violent archetypes, from a violent and angry master vampire, Dr. Grippen, to a damned and guilt-ridden ex-priest, Brother Anthony. These vampires, and all the others we get a taste of, inhabit some position along an ethical continuum that runs from debilitating remorse to a pragmatic sublimation of remorse to no remorse at all. But Hambly takes things a step further and places some of her humans along the continuum too. The most important is Asher, the philologist/spy/private investigator coerced by Ysidro into hunting down a dangerous killer of London's vampires. Even Asher is forced, by his connection with and aiding of the vampires, to face his own predation and the motives he has used to justify or rationalize the actions in his past.
Hambly's thoughts on predation could have gone further, I suppose, but anything more would have been beyond the characters and their Edwardian milieu, and Hambly is a good enough writer to know that she must be true to her characters and their setting, no matter what else she is trying to achieve.
There are better vampire books than Those Who Hunt the Night, and from everything I've been hearing there are better Barbara Hambly books than Those Who Hunt the Night, but as a bit of a vampire geek, I am full of appreciation for her attempt to remind us that vampires are predators who feed on us -- as folklore has always warned us. In our fantasy worlds, vampires are on top of the food chain. And it sure sucks to be food, doesn't it?(less)
For the first third of Club Dead, my same old complaint about Sookie Stackhouse was widening and deepening, and I thought it was finally going to take...moreFor the first third of Club Dead, my same old complaint about Sookie Stackhouse was widening and deepening, and I thought it was finally going to take its toll on my enjoyment of Charlaine Harris’ books. Even now, even after Harris won me back and entertained the hell out of me, I am still not sure how I feel about Sookie’s behaviour, and I fear for my long term enjoyment of the series.
You see, Sookie is a hypocrite of gargantuan proportions.
From Dead Until Dark to Club Dead, Sookie has made out or more with Sam Merlotte (her boss and a Shape Shifter), Eric (the gorgeous Scandinavian Vampire), and Alcide (the big, burly, manly Werewolf). She’s had sexual contact with all of them, rationalized her behaviour in her head, and kept it secret from Bill -- the Vampire she is supposed to love. And fair enough. I don’t really have a problem with that.
But I do have a problem with her self-righteousness. She’s offended when Bill notices a girl’s bum, she’s offended when she merely thinks Bill has “betrayed,” and she is instantly willing to hold his behaviour up to a standard that she herself does not practice.
Even worse, if Bill keeps a secret from her, she considers it a betrayal that actually has her contemplating “sharpening stakes” to make him pay for his transgression, but when she keeps a secret from him...well, that’s no big deal at all.
And when Bill actually does something that is a big deal, say like raping her in the trunk of a car during a feeding frenzy stupor, Sookie blows it off as though nothing has happened at all (a reaction that really isn't sitting well with me at all).
Sookie’s self-righteousness doesn't only manifest over love and sex, however; it manifests over small things, moments that don’t matter. For instance, Pam, a particularly cold Vampire that Sookie actually considers a friend, fails to say thanks for some True Blood Sookie gave her to drink. Her manners appall Sookie, and little miss indignant gleefully expresses her disgust at the Vampire’s lack of couth. Yet the night before, Pam sent Bubba (an undead and practically brain dead Elvis) to save Sookie from a werewolf attack, and never did Sookie utter a word of thanks.
Here’s the thing that bothers me: if this is how Harris sees the world, if she thinks that Sookie is as righteous as Sookie seems to think she is, if she actually doesn’t perceive the hypocrisy and stupidity of the woman she’s made the hero of her stories, then Sookie’s insufferability goes beyond my ability to forgive. If, on the other hand, Harris is fully aware of Sookie’s insufferability, and she has chosen this as a character trait to make Sookie a consciously flawed protagonist, then the choice is a good one and Harris is successful.
But I can't tell which it is.
At times, I think it’s the former and not the latter. If it were the latter, I would expect to see other characters calling her on her behaviour. But the only character who comes close, Eric, can only muster a raised eyebrow and an instant increase in his desire for the feisty, southern, telepathic, waitressing belle.
Still, it could be the latter rather than the former because every once in a while Sookie will flirt with condemning herself for her behaviour just before she rationalizes away her decisions, which she always does.
If it wasn’t for Anna Paquin’s transformative performance of Sookie in the HBO TV series, I don’t know that I could have even gotten this far in the Sookie books. Now that I am finished Club Dead, though, I find that I am still glad I have.
Despite my feelings about Sookie, this third book of the series is the best. Charlaine Harris, for all her authorial faults, infuses her stories with a conversational ease that makes them fun.
Sookie may be a pain in my ass, but she is a pain in my ass that I can almost believe exists. I dig her quirkiness and all the crazy but believable situations Harris puts her in. And therein lies Harris’ real talent: I buy her urban fantasy world, and if I could live in any urban fantasy world it would be hers.
So I guess I’m moving on to book four the next time I need a book to read while I am doing dishes. Yes. I am an official knob. (less)
It's tough to be critical of Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse books; after all, there is no pretense of serious literary merit, nor is there...moreIt's tough to be critical of Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse books; after all, there is no pretense of serious literary merit, nor is there a rabid fan base that begs for "re-education."
No...Charlaine Harris's books are exactly what they are meant to be: somewhat entertaining, light weight, playful riffs on the Vampire and mystery genres.
There is always something fun and fresh in the Sookie novels. Living Dead in Dallas, for instance, has a crazy KKK-like bunch of religious kooks called the Fellowship of the Sun whose mission it is to expunge Vampirism from the world -- or at least from the US.
And there is always a bunch of straight laced, almost monogamous sex between Sookie and her Vampire lover, Bill. Unfortunately, the sex is never arousing, even if it is mildly fun to read, and it only makes me want to crack out some genuine erotica and read it out loud while my wife and I soak in our big clawfoot tub surrounded by candles (but that's not exactly a bad reaction to evoke).
As for Sookie's love life, she kisses whomever she wants whenever she wants, while being constantly jealous of Bill, but that is right in line with her skewed personal morality, which turns up its nose at a menage a trois but has no difficulty with being a blood source during sex. But at least she recognizes her hypocrisy. She knows she's a "goody two shoes" -- hell, even thong panties are enough to scandalize her (is this a little too much of Charlaine coming through in her character?) -- and that is definitely part of Sookie's charm, but that element of her personality can also become a little much by the end of an installment (which is why it is best to take a break of a month or two before reading another).
Even so, I actually do get why Bill and other Vampires, specifically the Viking Vampire, Eric, are attracted to Miss Stackhouse. The telepathic waitress turned telepathic investigator for Vampires is more than a little mouthy, and her ability to stand up to the powerful Vampires without flinching coupled with her genuine self-confidence makes me believe that they'd dig her -- unlike other human females, whose names I won't mention, who inexplicably and inappropriately attract creepy Vampire lovers, whose names I won't mention either.
Sookie is a pain in the ass, but if she were real I know I'd be attracted to her.
Living Dead in Dallas is a pretty decent Sookie novel, and it is a nice piece of fluff if you're reading something challenging and need a back up. But don't expect greatness.
Nowhere near the best vampire book ever written, Dead Until Dark is also far from the worst. And its worth reading...if for no other reason than becau...moreNowhere near the best vampire book ever written, Dead Until Dark is also far from the worst. And its worth reading...if for no other reason than because it proves books are not always better than their cinematic counterparts.
Charlaine Harris' opening book in the Sookie Stackhouse series is just original enough to be interesting. Her slight twists on the Vampire genre, like True Blood (a synthetic blood that keeps Vampire's fed but not satiated) and the mainstreaming of Vampires, are nice little flourishes, which make an otherwise mundane serial killer mystery worth reading.
But it is the adaptability of Harris' characters to HBO that makes Dead Until Dark compelling enough to pursue past the first book. The characters come alive on screen. They were made for a modern day Dark Shadows melodrama and Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, American Beauty) nails the melodrama on the HBO series with the added titillation of stylish nudity and graphic violence allowed by the medium.
Moreover, there are characters and subplots in the book that haven't yet appeared in the series, and I want to find out more about them, although I think it is more out of curiosity generated by the series than it is curiosity generated by Harris' words.
Indeed, without the television series I wonder how much I would have liked the story of Bill the Vampire's love for Sookie, the kooky, southern telepath. I am fairly certain I would still have liked it more than I liked the painfully precious Twilight, but nowhere near as much I liked Interview with the Vampire. Even now Dead Until Dark falls somewhere between those two books, but it is much closer to Anne Rice's Gothic sexiness than it is to Stephenie Meyer's Mormon Vampire schmaltz.
If you're watching True Blood on television, give Dead Until Dark a chance. The source material, even with its pulpiness, is worth a look, and it is a nice supplement while you're waiting for the next episode.(less)
Twenty winters ago I read Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire for the first time. I read it again just before Neil Jordan's film version came out,...moreTwenty winters ago I read Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire for the first time. I read it again just before Neil Jordan's film version came out, and then I let it slip into the recesses of my personal mythology, only letting the memory of it pop out once in a while for some wistful nostalgia and a vow to read it again.
This year's glut of filmed Vampire adaptations -- HBO's True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books, and Stephanie Meyer's Twilight -- got me longing for a good Vampire fix again, something well written, something weighty, something inventive, something that was targeted for an audience with literary tastes rather than your regular purveyor of pop culture.
The hunt was on.
My mind slipped straight through its familiar fondness for Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and dismissed her work as the wrong place to go to find my fix. After all, can you get more pop-culture than the Vampire Chronicles when you're talking about Vampires (besides the aforementioned)?
So I found myself going to the source of all great Vampire work -- Bram Stoker. I started peeking at Dracula late in the night when the rest of my day was done and the kids were in bed, or after True Blood was finished on the movie channel. Dracula was as excellent as I remembered, but it didn't come close to satisfying my craving.
Earlier this week, though, I found myself looking at my shelves and there, again, was Interview With the Vampire. This time, without a thought, without any hesitation, I picked it up and dove in.
It is not just a piece of pop culture fluff (although it certainly became a pop culture event after its publication). It is a surprisingly well written masterpiece of depth and feeling.
Anne Rice may have written some poor stories before and since Interview With the Vampire, but those stories don’t change the fact that she is a damn good writer (unlike Harris or Meyers who, despite their popularity and entertainment value, are mere hacks in comparison to Rice). Her prose is clear, clean and evocative of emotions and sensations, breathing undeniable life into the story of her undead hero, Louis.
She writes so beautifully about Louis that it is almost impossible not to find oneself believing his story is true. I want there to be a majestically handsome Creole vampire who consciously struggles with the cost of his immortality because of his human beliefs. I want there to be a tormented vampire whose visions of love transcend human morals and concerns, who can love a nihilistic child vampire, a seemingly sadistic master vampire and a brooding but gorgeous male vampire differently but with equal intensity.
And I want there to be a vampire so wrapped up in his own journey of undead discovery that the concerns of human history float past him like a stick sliding unnoticed under a bridge.
Louis feels the world, his world, so richly, loves humans so deeply, thirsts for human creation so intensely that he -- in his interview -- can convey nothing other than his lust for life and all that is living. And that is Rice’s gift to us: the declaration that living life intensely, whatever that life may consist of, is the most important thing we can do.
I think I might have received that message from her twenty years ago, and I’ve been trying to live it ever since. I hope I am alive in twenty more years to revisit Louis and test my living against his call to feel. I wonder how I will have done by then.(less)