Article by Depi Tzini
A few words about Anne Rice
Born in New Orleans, Anne Rice is of Irish descent and grew up to the standards of the Catholic Church. Her real name is Howard Allen Frances O’Brien. Howard was the name of her father and she decided to call herself “Anne” when she joined the first grade of the Catholic “Redemptorist” school.
Anne married the poet and painter Stan Rice and brought to life two children, Michele and Christopher. This article is more about her writing work rather than her personal life therefore we will concentrate on that. New Orleans, where she was born, is the largest city in the state of Louisiana and one of the most important cities in the United States. My personal view is that New Orleans is a city characterized by its multidimensionality; it is a magnificent crossroads of many cultures. French, Spanish, Italian, Caribbean, African as well as locals co-exist in New Orleans. The different elements that prevail in this city are admirable and it is the dream of every tourist who wants to live strongly influenced by its extrovert inhabitants. Their culture is dominated by Voodoo and Jazz, but there are equally admirable things to get to know and see, such as the architecture of buildings, gardens, museums and antique shops. This city provided inspiration for her writings.
The Vampire Chronicles: An overview of Lestat’s story
Her most famous work is “The Vampire Chronicles” which revolves around the vampire Lestat. Lestat is a creature of the night that lives among people and is totally different from the image of macabre vampires we have seen so far. Anne Rice has managed to capture the complexity of Lestat’s character through her works.
He was born in Paris in the 18th century and goes to mysterious Egypt, Britain, Rome, but also to the frenzied life of the 20th century American cities, where the rock stars are worshiped like gods. Unconventional and impulsive, thirsty for life and new experiences, Lestat seeks his purpose for existence and tries to survive the fury of the living and the wrath of the dead in a shocking chronicle that brings life to the most mysterious periods of world history.
Other characters prominent in “The Vampire Chronicles” are Magnus, Gabrielle, Nicki, Armand, Marius, Louis and finally Akasha and Enkil, who are the ancestors of all the vampires. Anne Rice’s vampires are immortal, they have supernatural powers, fast reflexes, sharp eyes that can detect even the smallest detail, see in the darkest of the night, acute hearing to the point where they can isolate a sound even in the most noisy places. They also have the ability to read the thoughts of mortals and weak vampires.
Anne Rice’s Vampires
Sunlight can destroy a younger vampire (a vampire that has only a few years since it was transformed into a vampire), but as they grow older, their resistance to the sun reaches the point that after thousands of years when it cannot hurt them at all. They may be temporarily incapacitated by poisons, making them unable to defend themselves, but they don’t die. The natural aging process ends when a person becomes a vampire, however as the skin ages, it becomes smoother and whiter.
Older vampires (that is, vampires who have hundreds or thousands of years as vampires) have marble-like bodies. Their eyes become bright, their skin pale and cold to the touch, as their bodies don’t produce internal heat. Their nails are like glass. If their hair or nails are cut, they will grow up quickly as they were at the time of their human death. One of their characteristics is that they feel more alive than ever – even compared to the time when they were still humans – and can be overly emotional and sensitive.
The transformation from human to vampire increases the beauty of that person, removes all imperfections and enhances the voice as well, allowing the vampire to lure its prey. Vampires crave and have to drink human blood, but as they age they may require less and can even survive by the blood of the animals if necessary (although the latter is much less attractive than human blood and doesn’t give them the power which the human blood gives them).
Moreover, the act of feeding is an intense and erotic experience for both the vampire and its victim, similar to both love and orgasm. They usually sleep in coffins and crypts, although some prefer to sleep in caves or on the ground. A vampire’s sleep differs from “human sleep” as they cannot wake up until the sun sets. Dawn triggers their sleep inadvertently if they are hidden from the sun. Vampires become stronger and more mysteriously powerful when they drink the blood of older vampires, especially those made directly by the mother of the vampires Akasha.
Rice’s most important works from “The Vampire Chronicles”
- “Interview with the Vampire” – released in 1976 and turned into a movie in 1994, starring Tom Cruise in the role of Lestat and Brad Pitt as Louis.
- “Vampire Lestat” – released in 1985.
- “Queen of the Dammed” – released in 1988 and the respective movie in 2002 with Aaliyah Dana Haughton as Queen Akasha and Stuart Townsend as Lestat.
- “The Tale of the Body Thief” – released in 1992.
- “Memnoch the Devil” – released in 1995
- “Vampire Armand” – released in 1998.
- “Merrick” – released in 2000.
- “Blood and Gold” – released in 2001.
- “Blackwood Farm” – released in 2002.
- “Blood Canticle” – released in 2003.
- “Prince Lestat” – released in 2014.
- “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis” – released in 2016.
Other vampire stories by Anne Rice
- “Pandorra” – released in 1998.
- “Vittorio the Vampire” – released in 1999.
Coming up, we’ll have a dedicated article to Rice’s latest book entitled “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis”. Stay tuned!