Interview with The Vampire is considered to be classic vampire fiction. It’s been a major inspiration for other vampire fiction writers, such as Stephanie Meyer. For example, both sets of vampires live from animals and abstain from human blood.
The novel is about Louis de Pointe du Lac as he tells his life story to a young reporter. He lived as a plantation owner in 1791 when he was turned by the mysterious vampire Lestat.
As the story is told in the form of an interview it felt different to read than other stories. It was told almost exclusively in the voice of Louis rather than Anne’s voice. Initially, it was hard to imagine the story but I soon got engrossed. You followed Louis completely and we also had the benefit of Louis’ hindsight.
However, the characters got a bit lost somewhat or we saw them through Louis’ bias. We hated Lestat for what he had done to Louis and we loved Claudia but we’re not given a chance to truly understand either. Lestat seemed the more interesting character and I wanted to know the kind of man he was that turned him into the kind of vampire that took such pleasure in killing humans.
The story would have been very different if it had been told from the view of an omniscient narrator. Would have it been better? I cannot say.
His relationship with Claudia was confusing because of the age gap. Louis was 25 when he was turned and Claudia was five. He loved her but what kind of love was it? It wasn’t an erotic love but a desire to be near her, to be in her presence. Love is a running theme throughout the book. It seemed to be a different kind of love, one that we as humans don’t understand but one that only vampires can experience.
Armand makes a poignant speech about immortality. He himself is only 400 years old. He claims to be the oldest vampire in existence. I found it strange in that other vampire novels there’s vampires that are much older.
“How many vampires do you think have the stamina for immortality? They have the most dismal notions of immortality to begin with. For in becoming immortal they want all the forms of their life to be fixed as they are and incorruptible: carriages made in the same dependable fashion, clothing of the cut which suited their prime, men attired and speaking in the manner they have always understood and valued. When, in fact, all things change except the vampire himself; everything except the vampire is subject to constant corruption and distortion. Soon, with an inflexible mind, and often even with the most flexible mind, this immortality becomes a penitential sentence in a madhouse of figures and forms that are hopelessly unintelligible and without value.’
The reason vampires struggle with immortality is because they insist on everything being the same and find it hard to let go. I find that it implies to our own human lives. We’re not immortal, and we only have on average about 80 years on this planet, but it can be detrimental for us to try to cling on to the moment. To try to keep things as they are and not acknowledge change.
The story left a lot to be desired. I wanted to know the other characters more. I wanted to know more about Claudia and how she dealt with her transformation. Who is Armand and how did he make Louis fall for him so deeply? However, a quick research into the sequels shows that I will get what I want in later volumes.
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