200-year-old vampire Louis confesses his life to a young unnamed reporter on a night in modern San Francisco. Born and raised on a plantation in Louisiana, Louis is distraught after the death of this brother, bitten and transformed by the vampire Lestat, partially because of Louis’ wealthy estate. Louis and Lestat become immortal companions, but Louis struggles to resolve the human concept of murder and Lestat’s pure instinctual lifestyle.
I’ve read many of the modern vampire novels, and am wholly hypnotized with both terror and desire by the Interview, and it’s a wonder this is my first time with Anne Rice’s classic work, written forty years ago. And I absolutely love it!
Above all, Interview is a dark, gothic drama, brimming with moody tragedy, and the obvious source for so much that has followed. The long intense stretches of reminiscent monologue do not follow the traditional easily-readable chapter format, so that the reader is pulled through Louis’ tortured story without breaks, mirroring his own blurring existence. In addition, with Rice’s detailed sensory imagery, the setting is mesmerizing in both place and time, showcasing New Orleans as a main character itself.
The flaws in Louis, Lestat, and Claudia are front and center. I wouldn’t want to be any of them — Louis is plagued by guilt and existential angst (i.e. sullen and boring); Lestat is the life of the party who lives without consequences (i.e. selfish and narcissistic); Claudia is bold and true to her desires, yet intellectual and perceptive, but trapped inside the body of a child that she isn’t (i.e. manipulative and absolutely terrifying). I am appalled, yet, like the reporter, captivated by the potential of immortality, Louis’ own cautionary tale falling on deaf ears.
Not only do I appreciate the deep characterization (especially compared to the 1994 movie), but the plot is surprisingly exciting, despite Louis’ constant brooding. There’s danger and escape, suspense and revenge, and of course, death and loss. There is unrequited love, and the love that is requited is desperate and disturbing.
Highly recommended for fans of gothic horror and tragic immortality!
‘For you see,’ I said to her in that same calm voice, ‘what died tonight in this room was not that woman. It will take her many nights to die, perhaps years. What has died in this room tonight is the last vestige in me of what was human.’