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Books: Interview With a Vampire

I don't like chess. That is to say, I love the idea of chess -- the idea that it is essentially a mathematical battle, with every move changing the equation of possible moves and strategies -- but I find playing chess a bit of a bore. Apparently I have similar feelings about vampires. I'm a big Buffy buff, and I love the idea of vampires. But when it comes down to reading an entire book about 'em, I get bored quickly. I didn't know this when I picked up Anne Rice's Interview With a Vampire. In fact, 30 pages into it I told my wife that I was already so engrossed that I expected to finish it in a day or two. Three weeks later I trudged to the end.

The problem with Interview With a Vampire is that it is -- surprise! -- about vampires. Not about exciting vampiric adventures, or about people who fight vampires, or about the relationship between vampires and mortals -- no, it's just about run-of-the-mill vampires and their everyday (or, rather, evernight) lives. The whole book revolves around one completely unremarkable vampire, and reads like a biography of some ordinary schmoe off the street, if said schmoe were to suck blood and require sunblock SPF 94.

This is the part in the book review where I generally talk a bit about the plot. But, man, I'm serious here: not a whole lot happens. In fact, if you want a good synopsis of the few bits of action, I'd heartily recommend renting the movie, which I quite enjoyed. The film, bereft of (interminable) internal monologues, is exactly what I'd hoped the book to be. And Tom Cruise is surprisingly good.

So now allow me to qualify everything I've said thus far by adding that Interview is actually a very well-written book. I picked it up expecting a poorly-written pulp novel and found it to be the exact opposite. And if I were really into vampires -- instead of being the goth-poseur that I apparently am -- I would have loved it, would probably be halfway through the third in the series by now. So before opting for Interview, ask yourself this: do you like vampires, or do you just like the idea of vampires? (If you answered "neither" then what the hell are you doing even reading this? Besides, you're a liar: everyone loves the idea of vampires, at the very least.) If you fall into the first category then, by all means, read Interview -- it gets a hearty and sincere recommendation from me. But if you, like me, prefer your vampires one-dimensional and perpetually either on the giving (Blade) or receiving (Buffy) end of an ass-kicking, you may want to steer clear.

For the record: I thought the book Dracula was pretty pointless as well. So my track record with the undead is pretty weak all around.

Posted on August 08, 2002 to Books