Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Before getting to my review I would like say my thoughts are with those who are dealing with Sandy. Please stay safe.

After reading King’s vampire story, ‘Salem’s Lot, I decided to reread Anne Rice’s contribution to vampire novels. Her Interview with the Vampire launched the series, The Vampire Chronicles. Interview was her debut novel, and it has sold over eight million copies. Not a bad debut.

Rice began writing this novel after her daughter died of leukemia at the age of five. This event devastated Rice and her husband, Stan. Both of them started drinking to cope with their loss. Her novel deals with many of the issues that Rice has wrangled with throughout her life, including questions about her Catholic faith and the concepts of good and evil in the world. She denies that Claudia, the young girl who is turned into a vampire, is in any way connected to her daughter who died at such a young age. However, many people, including those close to her, don’t believe this denial.

Interview started off as a short story, which she wrote in the late sixties. After completing the manuscript it was rejected by many publishers. However, perseverance paid off and she finally found a publisher. I wonder if the publishers who passed on her book regret their decision.

The premise of the novel is simple; Louis is telling his life story to an ambitious reporter. What is unusual is that Louis has lived over 200 years and he’s a vampire. In 1791, the vampire named Lestat is lonely. Louis is a wealthy plantation owner who is distraught over his brother’s death. He wants to die. Lestat decides to make Louis his immortal companion. There’s one problem though. Louis, plagued by guilt over his brother’s death, doesn’t like to kill humans to survive. Lestat has no qualms about killing. In fact, he enjoys it. Louis wants to leave Lestat and to see if there are other vampires out there. Lestat doesn’t want to be alone again. What lengths will he go to keep Louis close to him?

This was my second time reading Interview with the Vampire. While I enjoyed it the first time, I think I appreciated it more the second. During my reread I relished Rice’s way with words. She has said, “I loved words. I love to sing them and to speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.” Her descriptions and settings are rich. In fact, this novel and The Witching Hour encouraged me to travel to New Orleans a few years ago to discover the magical place that she describes so well in her books. I was not disappointed when I visited. Actually, I would like to go back after reading this book again. There is something special about the city.

I read this novel for R.I.P. and it’s on my 1001 books you must read before you die list.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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45 Responses to Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

  1. jmgoyder says:

    I didn’t know about Rice’s daughter!

    • TBM says:

      I watched a biography on her and learned that sad fact. How horrible to lose a child at such a young age.

      • jmgoyder says:

        Yes – too terrible. I have never read her work because it isn’t my cup of tea but I do have this book so will have another look. Thank you!

      • TBM says:

        I wonder what you will think of it. It’s an interesting discussion on good v. evil in the world. I wasn’t expecting that from a horror novel.

  2. I read this several years ago, before the movie came out. And then I started learning about Anne Rice and saw an interview with her where she talked about the near crippling depression and how she had to stop writing about such dark subjects for a while because they were dragging her under. She is so brave to open up with such honesty. I’m glad you chose this book. It certainly preceeded any of the current vampire novels.

    • TBM says:

      I’ve often wondered if writers like Rice would succumb to depression since their subject matter can be dark. It would be hard to immerse yourself day after day into a dark world and not feel it. Her writing is quite brave and I can only imagine having a conversation would be enlightening and full of truths.

  3. The Hook says:

    One of the first and best.. Rice should be getting cheques from those Twilight guys…

  4. Vishy says:

    Nice review, TBM! I read ‘Interview with a Vampire’ a few years back when I was read first novels of a few writers one after the other and then saw the movie versions. I liked ‘Interview with a Vampire’ very much. It must have broken new ground in terms of vampire fiction, when it was first published. I haven’t read a second Anne Rice book since, though. Glad to know that you liked it so much. I didn’t know that Anne Rice lost her young daughter. It is sad. It is interesting that the young girl character in the book might have been based on her.

    • Vishy says:

      Forgot to ask you. Have you seen the movie version of ‘Interview with a Vampire’? Did you like it?

      • TBM says:

        I have seen the movie and I enjoyed it. However, I’m one of those that prefers the book and that’s the case with this one. The movie is good. The book is fantastic. I really enjoyed her novel, The Witching Hour. It’s much larger and at times it rambles. Over all though, I think it’s even better than Interview. The only problem with that one is that the continuation of the series isn’t that great. I think I’ll continue with the Vampire Chronicles now. Not all at once, but over the next few years. I really enjoy her writing and fresh take on the supernatural.

  5. ilargia64 says:

    May be that immersion into the dark side, and being able to put it into words, is what helped at the end? Loosing a child is a terrrible experience…
    I have not read the book, but after your great post I will do it!
    Thanks a lot for sharing it!

    • TBM says:

      I can’t imagine the pain a parent goes through when their child dies, especially at such a young age. Life can be cruel and this is one of the cruelest experiences humans can endure I think. I hope writing gave her some solace. Happy reading!

  6. Redhead says:

    I read this back when the movie came out. I was far too young to understand the underlying plots of the book, I was just some teenager reading it because the movie was very pretty. hokey, I know, but hey, I was a teen.

    Anne Rice has really been through the ringer. I had no idea about her daughter, and now I’m looking at her in a whole new light. I’m sure much of her writing was dealing with what happened, and a fight with her faith. she ended up making something that is very private and personal into something public.

    It’s been 15 years since I read an Anne Rice. She deserves another look.

    • TBM says:

      I think if I read this book years ago I would have missed all the subtext and I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much. There is so much more to the novel than just horror and vampires. I remember that she actually left the Catholic Church. I’m not 100% sure about that fact, but I remember reading something about it. It’s very daring for a writer to write about such private matters, but it also makes for honest writing. You can feel her pain in her words.

  7. Caroline says:

    A book I like a lot but a bit less than The Witching Hour and since I read them I wanted to visit New Orleans. I could imgine that reading this again would improve it. I wonder have the sequels are. I just bought her The Wolf Gift. It has received mixed reviews but I’m still curious…

    • TBM says:

      The Witching Hour is the one the drove me to New Orleans. That book and its descriptions of the Garden District were so beautiful and haunting all at once. I loved The Witching Hour–not so much the rest of the series. I hope to forge ahead with the rest of the vampire novels and I’m also curious about the Wolf Gift. I’ve heard good and bad, but I would love to know what you think of it once you have the time to read it.

  8. I actually never read “Interview,” but I saw the movie and read “Lestat” and “Queen.” The movies were good. The books were good. Would like to go back and read the whole series again, one of these days.

  9. paulaacton says:

    I have the whole series and I have to say they are right up there with my all time favourite books, I didn’t really like her recent religious series as much and actually feel she reaches out far more on a spiritual level with her supernatural works, the most recent The Wolf gift was a return to what she does best – questioning humanity and what it really means to be human. I have heard rumours Lestat may make a return I can only hope this is true

  10. lynnsbooks says:

    I really enjoyed this on my recent read. I never realised about Anne Rice’s sad past. That’s really terrible and it does sort of make you view her work in a different light. I’ve only read the two novels by her, this and the werewolf one fairly recently and she does include the theme of good versus evil and quite a lot of discussion about theology.
    I do think she has a very captivating writing style.
    Lynn 😀

  11. Fergiemoto says:

    Coincidentally, I caught part of the movie this past weekend on tv. I tried reading this book and have a few more of her novels, but I found it difficult to stay with. Perhaps I will give it another go.

  12. Jo Bryant says:

    I love it when someone gets a book I love. I have just finished The Vampire Armand…I loved it. Anne Rice is such an interesting woman – I follow her page on facebook and she is so open and interested in so many subjects.

    • TBM says:

      It’s her honesty that draws me into her stories. You can tell she isn’t forcing the emotions, but she has felt them.

      • Jo Bryant says:

        True. She is like that on her facebook page as well. And she has the two cutest white kittens that she shows off. her son took her to task on it recently. Said there were more photos of the kittens than him…he should have kept his mouth shut. I don’t know of many other authors who use their fb pages like their fans are friends. I really like her not just her books.

      • TBM says:

        Kittens are adorable though! I’m on her side. She seems like such a genuine person–someone I could have dinner with and not have to struggle to find things to talk about.

  13. sakura says:

    I love Anne Rice’s Vampire chronicles, especially the earlier volumes, and still feel they are some of the best vampire fiction around. Your post has made me want to revisit them!

  14. I didn’t know about the daughter either. How terrible. Can’t stand vampire stories, but know many people who love Rice’s work. The publishers who turned her down must kick themselves every single day!

    • TBM says:

      I hope so. I know publishers can’t publish everything, but sometimes when you hear they turned down some works I have to wonder what does it take to get published.

      • Yes, to think publishers turned down Harry Potter! Luck and timing probably have a lot to do with it too.

      • TBM says:

        Turning down Harry Potter still astounds me. Do you think that person still has a job? It’s hard to know at the time which series will take off. And Potter sure took off!

  15. cindy knoke says:

    I’ve read all her books. Liked your post.

  16. Iamrcc says:

    Thanks for relating this heart wrenching information about Ann Rice’s daughter. I am old and old school. Bela Lugosi’s vampire is the only one that I can truly appreciate. Thank you for visiting my site and liking my post “Still Colorful in November”.

  17. I read this book many years ago, and I really enjoyed it (and then was very prepared to NOT like the movie at all, but enjoyed that too :)) Far cry for the current vampire trends 😛

  18. archipelagojewelry says:

    I read The Vampire Chrionicles a long time ago & was completely enthralled by them. Also read The Witching Hour. I know I have some of Anne Rice’s books around so may have to reread as suggested. I remember thinking that AR must know more than us mere mortals because of her detailed writing. I am totally not interested in all of the new vampire literature, movies, etc. & kind of chucke thinking about how Rice was the first one but with a huge gap between. BTW, she also wrote erotic novels under a pseudonym.

    • TBM says:

      I did know about her pseudonym, but I haven’t read any of them yet. Maybe I should explore some of them 🙂 I loved The Witching Hour. That book inspired my trip to New Orleans two years ago.

  19. I haven’t read the book but I saw the movie. There was a man in the front row and a mom with two little ones in the row behind me. That was it. When the movie started and the actors started munching and crunching on rats, the two little ones behind me started crying and the mom decided to leave. (Thank God!) So, it was just me and the guy in the first row. I thought since it was making me a bit nauseous, surely they wouldn’t be crunching on rats throughout the film, but I was wrong. I hung in there and I’m glad I did. I thought the acting was fantastic! This film was a complete departure from anything I’ve seen before. I was totally transported to the time and place. It just blew me away. I don’t think I could enjoy the book since I enjoyed the movie so much! That has to be a first!

    • TBM says:

      That’s one of the disappointing aspects of vampires, they must have blood. I’m not big into horror so their eating habits gets to me as well. I enjoyed this movie, but I have to say I like the book more. The book goes more into Louis’s history and the time periods more. But since you loved the film so much I can see your hesitation, it might not live up to your expectations.

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