Saturday, 13 August 2011

Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice

I should start by saying that I was a bit hesitant to read Interview With The Vampire as the film is one of my all-time favourite films.  Which is weird, as I don't like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise that much, but I've loved the film for years now and was worried the book wouldn't live up to my expectations.

The book opens with a vampire, Louie, telling his story to a young journalist in New Orleans.  It covers him becoming a vampire and his life after, focusing on the moral dilemmas of killing humans and the relationships and power struggles within the vampire community.

Whilst reading it I suffered from that problem you always get when you've seen the film or TV show first - I couldn't picture the characters in my mind as any different from the film.  Louie was Brad Pitt in my head, and Lestat was Tom Cruise.  Which was fine for me, as the film adaptation in this regard did seem faithful to the book, but perhaps I missed some parts of their characters because of this.

The actual story itself was wonderful.  I've read quite a few books with vampires in them and I think Anne Rice strikes the right balance between human and monster; her vampires aren't sparkly and even though they have human emotions they are still vicious killers.  Claudia, who was made a vampire as a little girl, is a truly fascinating character and it's interesting to wonder what it must be like for your mind to become adult but not your body.

The main problem I had with this book was that it was waffly.  A character couldn't take an action without deliberating over it for several pages and then explaining him or herself to everyone in the vicinity over and over again.  Louie was especially guilty of this.  You know that bit at the end of the film where Lestat pops up and is listening to the recording of Louie's interview and he says "for centuries I've listened to this whining!" - that's the way I felt at the end of this book!  Some parts are essentially nothing more than an extended monologue on morality and self-pity, which got very repetitive and boring to read.  Louie wasn't great as the main character.

I think I will read the next one in the series, as Lestat is a much more interesting character than Louie.  I hope it has less whining.

Verdict: Great story but very slow paced
Source: Bought in New Orleans!
Score: 3.5 out of 5


  1. I never saw the movie but I remember having trouble with this book too. It was okay - I was just expecting and hoping for more of a story than an 'interview.'

  2. Trish, you've summed it up perfectly!

  3. Anne Rice is an old fave of mine so I'm glad you enjoyed this book. And the story is enthralling isn't it-- and it gets better as the series goes on-- Rice's writing always makes me feel as if I'm in whichever time the story takes place.

    Funny--- Louis never bored me that I recall. Also, I read the book years before the movie so of course the movie disappointed me-- especially Tom Cruise as Lestat-- The blond hair looked weird and he is way too short for Lestat.

    Oh yes, This series also intersects with the witches series so you might want check that out as well-- The first witch book takes place in the Nola area too. There is an organization in both series that has been watching supernatural phenomenon for 1000s of years-- I love that sort of thing in books.

  4. I've tried reading that book and The Tale of the Body Thief, and I think that whining is the reason I couldn't get through the vampire series. Maybe Anne Rice just isn't the author for me as the only book of hers I've managed to finish has been Ramses the Damned, and that not without its own share of problems.

  5. Great review, I felt the exact same when I read it. Simply too much whining!

  6. Interview WIth the Vampire is very much an introspective piece. Stick with the series as both The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned has a lot more action and slightly less talking - Lestat is very much act first and think later sort. Plus those two are my favourite vampire books that I re-read regularly! :)

    Still I am jealous you got to read Interview while in New Orleans - I've always wanted to go there to see if the atmosphere is similar to Anne's writing!

  7. Interview was much more entertaining as a movie, but the book was better art.

    The vampire lestat is one of my all time favorite books though. its a sure fire 5/5. Its beautiful, action packed, funny and incredibly elaborate. Its in my top 3 favorites.

    Tale of the body thief is also great. Reads like a movie. Dig it!

  8. Don't you see, the point is that Louie is a whiner. Read the books in order and you'll see how Lestat has this love/hate relationship for Louie. And for the person who wanted more of a story than an interview, well, the title kind of tells you that it won't be a story. Tale of the Body Thief is my favorite of all the books. I laughed out loud at Lestat as he tries to be human. I stayed up all night reading it...couldn't put it down.

    What it comes to is that we all have our favorite characters. Louie annoys me (like he does Lestat) because of his whining. But in some respect he didn't choose to be a vampire. However, neither did Lestat but he has managed to make the best of it and then some.

    In the subsequent novels, you'll learn more about Lestat and the other vampires. Each one is so vastly different. I think that's what makes Anne's books stand out from the rest. Her characters aren't "Dracula's." They have more character.

    The character of Armand seems so cruel in Interview but when you get to know him and his story in the subsequent books, you can find some compassion for him.

    I definitely recommend reading the other books and reading them in order. You'll discover a fascinating world of characters. I'd even say read the witches novels in with them so that you fully understand what happens. The tales intertwine and if you read the last vampire novels without reading the witches novels, you'll miss things. The books can definitely be read singularly but I think it adds to them if you've read those that came before. You'll catch bits of things that will make you go, "oh yeah, I remember when that happened."

    Let us know your thoughts if you do read the other books. And just go with Cruise as Lestat and Pitt as Louie. It worked for me as I saw the movie before I read any of the books. Armand was a bit hard to distance myself since in the books he is very young and Antonio Banderas, not so much. But Antonio did do a good job with the character.

  9. I loved the Interview with the Vampire, and the movie. I dont feel that Tom Cruz fits Lestat, Stuart Townsend did a better job. I have collected all of Anne Rice's books and love the vampire chronicles's and the Witching Hour chronicle. I cant wait for her new book. If you keep reading the books in the order she wrote them, you will understand all the vampires individuality and come to love them all.

  10. I also saw the movie in 1993 and loved it before I read the books. I then proceeded to read every book Ann Rice wrote about each and every beautiful and fragile vampire character she created. I'm with Maggie...keep reading and you will be hooked.

    I haven't read an Ann Rice novel in over 10 years. I bought the Jesus series a few years back but just couldn't get into it. I was hoping she would dazzle me with a great storyline of my beloved Saviour..
    but it just didn't work. :-(

  11. Goody Two Shoes said:

    The character of Armand seems so cruel in Interview but when you get to know him and his story in the subsequent books, you can find some compassion for him.

    I say:

    I never saw Armand as a cruel character. Surely he has his pretty vicious moments that gave me shiver, but most of all, he is a lovable dark angel to me. I love this character. The idea of a young boy looking so innocent when in reality he is a predator, is absolutely stunning. I dunno whom I like more - Armand or Lestat. As for Louis - I understand his sorrow, but for God´s sake... he loves his suffering and he whines all the time, and after a while, it´s more than fairly annoying. He reminds me of my last bost, he was such a Louie, too. I even like Claudia better (BTW, the most tragic character in the whole series), because - unless Louis - she is able to take an action and do something with the way she lives. Louis likes to complain but does not do anything for his life to get better. Worse than being a vampire is being and amotional vampire. You know what I mean. I perfectly understand Lestat in this. ANYONE would get angry after listening to Louis´s complaints for such a long time.

  12. My personal favourite book is The vampire Armand. Perhaps because I love the way he looks at Marius.

  13. Some great discussion here everyone!

    I don't mind introspective pieces but did feel that this book was repetitive - I understand Louie was a tortured soul, but the same argument and debate took place throughout the whole book.

    Goody Two Shoes - I do plan on reading the next two books in the series at least, so I will post on them once I've got to them. Armand is an interesting character, but I agree that Antonio Banderas doesn't really 'fit' with him.

    Christy - Hasn't Anne Rice's writing changed since she became a more committed Christian?

    Caluifer - I think Armand was one of the most interesting characters because it's hard to define him as good or evil, he is very much shades of grey. I will definitely read at least the next 2 books in the series.

    Mel - The atmosphere is very similar to the book, especially in the French Quarter. You would love New Orleans and should definitely visit!

  14. I'm not a fan of vampires. Not at all. I've never got to the end of Bram Stoker's Dracula and the only thing I know about Anne Rice is that in her mind Lestat is ... Richard Armitage (my favourite Brit actor). Ah, well, by the way, I read a romance with a vampire as its protagonist, it was ... intriguing: Nocturne by Syrie James.

  15. Like you I read this after seeing the film, and so picture Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt while reading - sometimes that just happens! It's been ages since I've read it and remember thinking it was brilliant, but enjoyed The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned more. Those are the only three of her books I've ever read, I probably should read more but I've never got around to them. Very, very cool that you picked up a copy in NO too :-)

  16. About five, six years passed between me seeing the movie and reading the book, which I think was perfect...everything had faded enough that I was able to read without imagining Brad Pitt in there. I loved the book, though it was slower-moving than I expected. I think that helped freak me out at points, because I knew SOMETHING was coming but you'd have to go through ten pages of description before you got there, then another two hundred pages before much else of note happened. Reading "Interview" also got me a bit worked up about Twilight; Anne Rice did such a fantastic job here with the mindset of a vampire an all the weird sexuality, that to turn vampires into glittering baseball-playing, high school-attending teens feels even more wrong than it did before.

    -- Ellen

  17. Maria - Dracula is one of my favourites as I love gothic literature. The Radleys by Matt Haig is a good vampire book that isn't romance or horror, might be worth a try?

    Mummazappa - I do think I will read The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned at least. I've heard they are both very good.

    Fatbooks - Yes, it didn't help that I last saw the film a few months ago, it was still very fresh in my mind. And I agree so much about Twilight - vampires are supposed to be different and scary!

  18. I read this book 25 years ago and remember being utterly fascinated and repulsed at the same time -- I simply could not stop reading this book, and I went on to read The Vampire Lestat as well.
    Then I read Rice's book Lasher about witches, and I ended up being so scared by it that even though i only had about 30 pages to go I never finished it -- I even gave the book away cause I didn't want to have it in the house, lol.

    Now, I read nothing paranomal.

  19. Like you, I liked Claudia and Lestat more than Louis. He was just too whiny, and he rarely did anything. Lestat, on the other hand, was definitely a man--vampire?--of action. :)

  20. I finally read Interview this year. I loved Claudia (she's so creepy!), but I thought that Louis was disappointingly emo for a vampire. I'm hoping to read the second book in the series soon.