Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles – you should have heard the name, and there is no reason why you won’t have, because I have been writing something or talking about the same for around eight to ten years now. Based on the work of the same name by Anne Rice, published in 1976, the movie based on the same and starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas released in 1994. This has also been the main pillar for my thesis for MA English Language and Literature.
One thing which is certain about this work is that Anne Rice has never created a better work after this one, and this first book from her remains her best. Created right after the death of her little daughter and bringing up the idea of the child vampire (something of depressing beauty), there are not many surprises about that. It also has Louis de Pointe du Lac, the most humane vampire as its main protagonist, as the creature with so much of conscience and a big amount of philosophy as he denies his own existence as the creature of the night and struggle with himself being “the other”.
Anne Rice has successfully used the history from different ages and locations to supplement her story. There is the relation of the characters with the time period of their existence, and for vampires, they belong to more than one age and with the new birth, they are not people one place or even one nation. As they belong to the universe of immortality, history and cultures begins to be part of them, and they would experienced most of it without reading one single book. History remains the background here.
The major incidents of the world do make changes on the vampires, and the human world around them gets affected by the vampires as much as they do in return. The novel itself was written during the time of the hippies, and at the same time period, Anne Rice brings this novel on vampires to the light. Even Louis chooses San Franciso, the centre of all these. The vampires come to us as people who are different and are mostly confused, except for those vampires who have lived through centuries and have a lot of experience to deal with situations. Some of them are already part of many cultures.
We can even see a certain amount of the Cold War between capitalism and communism between the two protagonists of the novel as even though they never really drops the nuke, the tension is high due to the difference in their thought processes and ideologies. The city where the flashback begins is also at New Orleans, home to the cities of the dead. There is so much of the mystery which surrounds that world and happens to be the perfect place to discover a vampire.
Louis’ rebirth into vampirism also occurs in 1791 after the French Revolution begins. The doubt in Louis’ mind only increases, and he moves towards finding his own ideology as the grasp of the religious institutions lessens and morality also goes down. There are some interesting quotes which are made by the characters about the same, like evil being a point of view, God also kills and on goodness being too difficult. It remains a period of doubt for both humans as well as vampires. You see changes with the vampires of Paris and those of other parts of Europe.
The vampire characters are given not just the human feelings here, and the relation in not just through the emotions, but through a certain shared history which reflects sometimes as the background for the characters and at other times, in relation to the times of the author when she wrote it. This makes the novel more related to humanity rather than adding trivial things like romance as in many other vampire works. It becomes part of the cultures of different parts of the world for centuries. For the movie, the cast takes the whole thing to another level.
***The images used in this blog post are from the Facebook Page of Interview with the Vampire. The ideas presented here are further extended from my reading while working for my Post-graduation thesis, and most of these are also part of the same in another way.