“I lived like a man who wanted to die but had no courage to do it himself.”
‘Twilight’, ‘Daybreakers’, and ‘True Blood’ are all re-imagined, modernised ideas of the trope. Whether glamourised and tame, or the concept of immortality socially conventional, or (and from what I have heard, rather than seen firsthand) enlivened by a sexier version of the idea. ‘Interview with the Vampire’ travels back to the known creepy, sensual, and horror of vampires.
Louis, twenty-five year old man turned vampire, tells the tale of how he came to be, mainly focusing on him and his creator, Lestat. It is told in the form of an interview (hence the title), a lesser known way of storytelling I’ve come across. Although not overly fond of the method, it becomes overwhelmed by the coherent use of tortured characters and grotesque themes.
Love is the prime example, transferring between the twisted sense of family and lover—and despite not being of sexuality, does not remove the question of its nature—between man and a matured mind in a child’s body, to the selfish need for companionship and doing anything to obtain it, and underlying romance between two men. Specifically, the essence of manipulation and game-playing, shown in Lestat’s character, which further establishes Louis’ slow development, from being sickened by the idea of killing, to becoming what is known of vampire: mindless murdering creatures. A detached, anguished narrative that Rice masters.
The sucking mesmerised me; the warm struggling of the man was sooting to the tension of my hands; and there came the beating of the drum again, which was the drumbeat of his heart.
Indeed, like Louis’ first taste of blood, Rice’s style of writing is mesmerising. A balance between setting a hideous scene without crossing the line. In its entirety, the book focuses more on death itself, or the dominance over a relationship, showing the element of obsession and, in my interpretation, need for destruction.
A destruction that ripples throughout the characters, and devastates their lives.
“I took your life,” I said. “He gave it back to you.”
“And here it is,” she said under her breath. “And I hate you both!”
It is clear that happiness is an unfamiliar construct, as Louis describes the conflict he experiences, torn between bloodlust and morality, leaving behind an existence of misery with the ones he holds close, and eventually finishing his story without much change. As he says at one point in the book, “I have failed. . .” it truly highlights how choosing to live a life forever can be an ugly mistake disguised as a gift.
I knew of ‘Interview with the Vampire’ by its film adaption first, but reading the book is something different; something enjoyable, fascinating, and flashing back to the days of creepy vampires.