Kat Kennedy's Reviews > Interview with the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
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Aug 27, 2011

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Read from August 27 to 31, 2011

If you would kindly look at my shelves, you might notice that I've read a good chunk of vampire novels written in the past two decades. It seemed strange to me, though, that I still hadn't read one of the more important ones.

Now, I don't think it's because this book is particularly brilliant or a masterpiece. Yet it does represent an important paradigm shift in the representation of vampires in modern literature. Whilst Vampires are still unaccountably evil in this novel, they are also relatable, capable of sparking our empathy and intimate to us on a level not really seen previously to this novel.

Published in 1976, it is the story of the world's most boring vampire, Louis. Okay, I take that back, ALMOST the world's most boring vampire...


Excellent, now that our obligatory Twilight reference is out of the way, we can get on with the review!

We've come a long way from the original publication of Interview With a Vampire. Previous to this novel, a story about Vampires was generally a horror novel and nobody expected Vampires to turn out to be the good guys. Now they are almost guaranteed to be, at the most, misunderstood.

Like our current generation of teenagers...

emo in Mum's minivan

As far as I can see in my research, this seems to be the place where Vampire Empathizing began or at least was made popular. I wanted to know if The Lost Boys, Blade, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Anita Blake, Vampire Diaries, Twilight et al owe their existence to Interview With A Vampire and if they've done it justice.

Well, I've been searching for a Vampire novel or movie that is as much of a pop culture icon, that displays tenets of Vampire Empathizing and which predates Interview With a Vampire but so far my search hasn't revealed much.

As for how this novels stands up to the wealth of vampire media that followed it? Well, in some aspects I think it is a vast improvement. The idea of Vampires being the dark seducer isn't new and using them to represent repressed sexuality has become stock standard.

However this book deals with those two themes in a very different way. The dark seducer, Lestat, and the repressed sexual being, Claudia, both destroy Louis in vastly different ways and it's a nice, depressing change from the usual state of affairs.

But still, on its own, it's not a fantastic book. It may have popularized Vampire Empathizing, but it's probably also responsible for a lot of terrible gothic poetry.

And in case you're wondering if the movie is better than the book? In this instance, yes. Though I can't say why...

Louis

I'm not sure what the movie has that the book doesn't...

Lestat

Or what makes the movie more intriguing...

Armand

But it sure is SOMETHING!

Christian Slater
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02/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-37 of 37) (37 new)

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Nerdie Oooh, can't wait to see your review on this one. XD


message 2: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Just think - Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Christian Slater, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst...


message 3: by Alkyoni (new)

Alkyoni I read this book when I was still in school, right before the movie was released. I wanted to read it before watching the movie and I knew that I would be watching it since River Phoenix would be playing the reporter (the boy). I don’t think that I had ever read anything about vampires before, so maybe that’s why I couldn’t put it down. If GR had been around at the time, I’m pretty sure I would have given it 5 stars. Now, I have no idea. Nice review Kat.


Kat Kennedy Err... Christian Slater is the reporter?


message 5: by Alkyoni (new)

Alkyoni Yes. Phoenix was cast as the reporter but then he died. Slater replaced him.


Kat Kennedy Oh! That makes so much more sense!

I was quite young when the movie came out. I would have been around the same age as Kirsten Dunce I think?


Kat Kennedy Oops, no, I'm four years younger...


message 8: by Alkyoni (last edited Sep 01, 2011 12:21AM) (new)

Alkyoni It was 1994, so I guess you must had been quite young, maybe even younger than Dunst :) She was amazing in this movie. It is still one of my favorites of all time I think.


message 9: by Andrea (last edited Sep 01, 2011 02:13AM) (new) - added it

Andrea If you're on a vampire kick at the moment, have you read Barbara Hambly's early Vampire books - Those Who Hunt the Night, Traveling with the Dead?

It's kind of spy, detective, semi-Holmesian.


Kat Kennedy No, I haven't read those two books. Considering the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance drama - how unique would you rate the vampire mythos in these books? Do the differentiate from the masses? Do they stand out? Do they have a fresh perspective?


message 11: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Great review, Kat. It's been a long time since I read this book. I think her later books were better. I think there's one where Lestat becomes a rock star (not sure which book - Maybe The Vampire Lestat? They all feel the same after a while).

I think the movie might have been better than the book, just because it launched a few careers and eyecandy.


message 12: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea Well, I don't know how 'fresh' books from the 1980s can be. They have both urbane and monstrous vampires, any romance which happens (in book 1) is between a married couple, and they're thorough-going detective stories from someone who knows a fair bit of history. I wouldn't say you'd find anything unique in them - just nicely written characters and teckery.


message 13: by Cory (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cory I couldn't finish the book, but the movie? It's one of my favorites.

And yes, without Anne Rice, we might've been spared the horror of her latter day wannabes.


Spider the Doof Warrior I like the Vampire Lestat way better.

Louis is a whiny bitch and he annoys me.


Brandi ;) I completely agree, Vampire Lestat is way above this one. Lestat is a much better story teller and a hell of a lot less whiny. I think that's why Anne Rice stuck with his point of view for the majority of the other books.


Miriam I recommend Those Who Hunt the Night as well, but definitely don't go into it expecting Paranormal Romance. As Andrea says, it is much more a historical detective novel with vampires. The vampires don't have sex and are only seductive to people they want to eat. The main character is a middle aged married professor. There is fun dialogue, good character development, and a very well done Victorian setting, but it is not much like what gets published as Urban Fantasy nowadays. It is not steampunk, either, it's just 1900 with vampires.


Sylvia How can u prefer lestat?? He was awful! Heartless, cold, horrid thing. Louis was whiny because he was sad. That tends to make u whine. I loved him. He was just so hopeless.


Kat Kennedy I should preface any explanation of my preference for Lestat. Y explaining that I'm quite evil.


message 19: by Anachronist (new)

Anachronist I think I should read this one on my own. I hated Tom Cruise/Lestat in the movie. Who knows, perhaps the book will change my mind.


Noran Miss Pumkin I read this as a teen, who read about bizarre such, while others read romance novels. I read everything on vampires, werewolfie, and ghost I could get my greedy little mitts on. I mean anything historical, or claimed they my be real. All films watched, from the silent era through Hammer time! lol
This book was amazing to me then-so my rating. Then to see many years later to find a huge new following, and sequel books that sucked worse then the vamp's bite. Never seen the film, nor hardy any vampire films since the 80's.


Sylvia I just started the book and i prefer it to the movie so far. I'm still yet to find any reason to admire Lestat. I hate him even more.


Martina Great review. when I read this I felt sorry for Louis & annoyed by his constant whinning (sp?). In this book I could not stand Lestat but now in reading the 2nd book in the series I love Lestat and understand him so much more now. Also yes I am evil & like the bad guys haha Now I just need to watch this movie for some eye candy.


message 23: by Lulu (new) - added it

Lulu I agree with other commenters - you should check out the Vampire Lestat, which is my favourite in the series (I'm currently on book 5) by leaps and bounds. Before Lestat becomes as whiny as Louis, and before Rice has fallen so much in love with her own character that every book is pretty masturbatory.


Silent_count Hi Kat.
I do believe you're right about 'Interview With a Vampire' being a kind-of turning point in the depiction of vampires.

With the benefit of hindsight, surely someone could have gotten Mark Chapman to swing by Anne Rice's house, and the world would have been a better (read: Cullen free) place.


Irene Lestat is one of the best charecters ever. Although I must admit that he gets awesome starting from book 2: here he's just the ultimate jerk

I find it funny that you might prefer the movie to the book. I guess it comes from having seen the movie first.
I read the book long before watchning the movie and I remember hating the movie's casting with a passion, since it was all backwards.


Sasha  Mizaree (Reviews) I did enjoy the book imensely but ill admit, liked the movie better.


message 27: by Tan (new)

Tan Stanton-britton while interview is not a great book. as a big fan of anbe rice i hate saying that, but it is not a great read. please try the rest of the vampire chronicals. there were many years between the writing of book one and two and anne grows wonderfully and the characters (louis aside) become friends how's antics are almost like a drug!


Nicole Goff i agree that the movie is better than the book. it took me forever (not really only 10 days) to read the book. i would much rather watch the movie :)


Jennifer Marshburn The movie is definitely better and for all the reasons you "state". By the way, thanks for the series of "statements". :)


message 30: by Aawi (new)

Aawi While I respect your opinion I have to say I loved and still love this book. It seemed very honest to me and although Louis is a tad "whiny" I felt that it was to be expected from someone who genuinely dislikes being undead and still feels human emotions. I also enjoyed Lestat's character in the book and the contrast of him as a caring son with him as a bloodlusting vampire.


message 31: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay Kay I have to agree with someone above, interview may not have been the best, but when you read the whole series (yes there us a few if them) the characters really dine through, I own nearly every single Anne rice book, loved the movie interview hated the queen of the damned movie, (the difference... Anne rice helped with the first but was left out of the second movie).

I do love the books though, I think I have read these and the witching hour series several times.


message 32: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay Kay And please forgive spelling errors, using Android app on phone so it is changing words on me :-)


Nicole Goff i had to take a break from the series. it was a struggle just to read them i would be on the same book for like 2 weeks. so i put them down after reading the queen of the damned i started another series and so far the books take me like a day to read. so who knows when ill get back to them


Tamara I had read Interview and The Vampire Lestat YEARS ago ... I just never started the next one. Then, I got a Kindle PaperWhite for Winter Solstice and I read Rice's The Witching Hour trilogy. That got me back in a Rice vibe. I already had half the Vampire Chronicles in mass-market paperback, so I bought the rest of the series used-LIKE NEW for .01ç each! I am now re-reading Interview (and gonna read all The Vampire Chronicles. Rice can be VERY descriptive; it's more a good thing, but can get tired. I also LOVED her book (under another pen name) Belinda ...


Siobhán Carlson I'm curious Kat as to what capacity you are researching vampire literature? I am I'm the process of writing my masters thesis on vampire literature! I'm not convinced I agree completely with your assessment (although I truly enjoyed the sulky teenager part!!), but your review has given me some food for thought.


message 36: by Kate (new)

Kate I'm not quite sure how this would fit into your research, but the original Dark Shadows soap opera (which ran from 1966 to 1971) had a very good "reluctant vampire" in Barnabas Collins. He was pretty sympathetic.


message 37: by Keegan (new) - added it

Keegan RARG! I'm trying really hard to fight the impulse I have to curse at you but I believe in the right that everyone has the right to their own opinion even if that opinion is incredibility wrong (which in this case yours is) but I guess will just have to agree to disagree



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