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The Vampire Woman
Describing the mysterious societies of vampires, Anne Rice uses an ornate prose style and her
tragic past to draw readers into her novels. As a contemporary author she has made many positive
contributions to literature.
From the Mayfair house on First Street to the deck of cards that Lestat uses to play Solitaire,
things from Rice's life turn up everywhere in her books. Anne lived in both New Orleans and San Francisco
for quite some time and is very fond of them, and is especially fond of New Orleans where she lives
today. She brings her characters there because of both her fondness and familiarity with the towns. Also,
the plots in many of her novels reflect a series of tragedies which occurred during her life. Her mother
drank herself to death when she was only fourteen. Her daughter Michele died of leukemia at the age of
five. It was Michele's death that inspired Anne to write Interview With The Vampire (Kakutani 16). The
character Claudia,who is the five year old vampire, was based on Anne's daughter. In a way, Rice's novels
have served as a cathartic outlet for her pain.
As a modern author, Rice has contributed many works to literature. Her contribution to literature
is vampire lore, which expands our knowledge with "facts" about vampires. These works are found in the
Vampire Chronicles, a series of books written about vampires. These works include The Vampire Lestat, the
second book in the Vampire Chronicles, which assumes the form of an autobiography, taking the reader
through a history of vampirism from its beginnings in ancient Egypt, to the Renaissance in Italy, to
modern day New Orleans (Johnson 68). The third book, The Quuen of the Damned, narrated by a chorus of
vampires, opens before the second book, and answers many of the questions of how vampires were created
(Johnson 68). Rice also wrote Interview With The Vampire, which is the story of a nightlong interview
with a vampire who tells of how he came to live the endless life of a vampire.
These works have received positive comments from critics who love her novels. Critics have been
fascinated by Rice's use of vampires. Onc critic noted that she had a fresh and powerful imagination
which she brought to vampire lore (Milton 29). These comments praise Rice's brilliant ideas which are
portrayed through her originality. She has been described as a novelist so prolific that she needs two
pseudonyms to distinguish the disparate voices in her books (Kendrick 91). She has won both critical
acclaim and a vast amount of readers. Her novels are of great depth, research, and enchantment.
Commenting on The Feast of All Saints, one critic noted that a book like this is rare, combining a real
story wirh an excellent theme and exquisite literary grace (Miner 32). Rice's writing skill and her use
of words draws readers into her novels, even if they are uninterested in the subject matter.
Despite positive comments by many critics, some write about her novels negatively. Speaking of
Rices's novel Lasher, one critic said the mose well educated readers will not go beyond the first chapter
(West 38). These critics feel that Rice has a good style, but feel that she is wasting her time writing
about vampires. These critics would prefer reading novels about humans. Another critic said, "I like
vampire literature such as Matheson's I Am Legend , but the catastrophes that occur in Interview With The
Vampire are not as awful as the book itself "
(Ferraro 47). These critics, although fans of vampire lore, feel that Rice's novels don't match up to
other vampire works. They claim her books are silly, hypocritical, and unappealing. Although her vampire
works are loved by many, other critics feel her works are dull and not well
Rice excels in writing in that her style is appealing. Her work is describe by readers as an
ornate prose style. Her style of writing has been described as florid, both lurid and lyrical (Ferraro
48). Her novels are full of sensuos detail. She supports her fantasies with superb narrative in which
there is a close attention to detail. Rice has an ability to create a "baroque" feeling in her books
through her use of language. It's not just the subject matter of the books that make them feel this way,
its Rice's sensibility and use of prose. For instance, instead of being able to say he's attracted to a
certain female vampire Lestat says this:
I think for
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Fiction, Literature, The Vampire Chronicles, Interview with the Vampire, Claudia, The Vampire Lestat, Lestat de Lioncourt, Anne Rice, Vampire literature, Vampire, Lestat, Armand
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