Bart's Reviews > The Vampire Lestat

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
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May 23, 08

Recommended to Bart by: Todd
Recommended for: Readers in general
Read in May, 2008

A happy surprise indeed. Perhaps it was a result of low expectations or a prior experience with the movie "Interview with the Vampire" that had me so unprepared to enjoy this novel.

The Vampire Lestat is a great read. It may not have all the literary quality of, say, Cormac McCarthy's equally gruesome accounts, but it is more enjoyable on its first reading.

What makes authors great, of course, is how their works hold up on revisits. Knowing the plotting and the conclusion of Anne Rice's novel, I'm unlikely to go back to it. But let that dissuade no one from giving this novel a first reading.

If there are shortcomings in this book, they derive from Rice's tries at ontological philosophy. She's brave to consider questions of immortality, of course, but probably not as wise to record her thoughts. In the first third, she tries to tackle immortality - and how it relates, ultimately, to good and evil - but she sort of loses her way. She has her characters who, for being inexperienced at being immortal, haven't the depth for it, making soliloquies about its consequences.

Later on, though, when she comes to characters that are millennia old, she knows better and concedes the impenetrability of their plight. And along the way, she also kills off about 100 "immortals". This also seems to suggest that maybe all those pages of contemplating immortality should have remained behind in the novel's first draft.

Otherwise, the book is a joy to read. It's lively and well written. For the most part, Rice moves the book at the right pace and proves, once more, that descriptive writing works great when it enhances the plot. Too many inexperienced writers seem to mistake descriptive writing for the plot. All such readers would be encouraged to review the last 15 pages of The Vampire Lestat; after 600 pages, Rice knows when to go full bore into description and make her novel's conclusion memorable.
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