Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rant or Rave: Interview With the Vampire

Anne Rice's reinvention of Bram Stoker's Dracula has achieved tremendous commercial success and fair amount of critical acclaim as well. Interview With the Vampire and her subsequent vampire novels have won Rice thousands of devoted fans and inspired a major studio film adaptation starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. And I had always meant to read it, if for no other reason than to see what all the fuss was about, but somehow had never gotten around to it.

So, I took advantage of the Mukwonago Community Library's CD audiobook holding of the book to give it an overdue "read". As with all audiobooks, the reader of the novel is very important, and this particular adaptation features Frank Muller. Frank is a prolific audiobook narrator who does a good, though I would not say great, job with the source material. His voice characterizations are generally good and he is ever reasonably believable as the voice of Claudia, the child vampire.

As a totality, I'd have to say that my review of the book would be neither a rant, nor a rave, though it is a bit more of the former and less of the latter. Rice's re-interpretation of the vampire myths and legends is ingenious, and some of the topics she explores are quite riveting. Particularly the existence of Claudia and her conflicted relationship with her "father", Louis-- the title character of the book.

There are moments in the book that are luxurious and wonderful to experience, but in the end I was left with the feeling of having eaten too much of an overly rich food. The prose is so... prosaic, so elaborate and sensuous that after awhile I grew tired of it, wishing rather that the story would get to its point.

Additionally, I found the themes of ennui, angst and retrospection that Rice explores through the character of Louis to get rather tedious after the first part of the book. In the end, Louis is a bit of a twit. Lestat seems the more interesting individual, so perhaps I will take a look, or listen, to The Vampire Lestat, but I will admit that I am not in a hurry to do so-- much like a rich dessert, I think my palate will be best served by leaving Ms. Rice for a while.

I may also peruse the film one of these days. Mostly because I, like many critics, can't figure out why they cast Pitt as Louis and Cruise as Lestat instead of the other way around. And I'm curious to see Kirsten Dunst in the roll of Claudia.

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