Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Vampire Lestat

I'm reading The Vampire Lestat. Ever read it? I've never read a vampire novel before because, well, they're about vampires! I think I remember Amy saying she really likes vampire novels. My husband is into them. Really he's just into Anne Rice. But he loves any kind of vampire movie. Interview with the Vampire. Van Helsing. Bram Stroker's Dracula.

So we've had these Anne Rice books sitting on our shelf for a while.

Last week I took Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway to an audition to read while I waited...and waited...and waited... And man, was it BORING! I saw the movie, The Hours. It's supposed to be a modern take to this book. But geesh! I mean, reading the book is like decoding a puzzle, the sentences are so convoluted and complicated. And the big deal about Mrs. Dalloway is supposed to be that the author could find something worth telling in the normal going-about-it of one day. Then why tell it in such a complicated way?

I like Hawthorne. I like Steinbeck. I like Charlotte Bronte. I even like Dickens on a good day. They don't write like Hemingway or anything.

But the people around me in my audition room were so much more interesting than deciphering page 2 that I couldn't stop watching them. And people-watching in the audition room's gotta stop. I just get irritated.

So The Vampire Lestat, it is. And woah, am I liking it. It's good! (The drinking blood parts are pretty gross, but so far there hasn't been too much of that.) I'll let you know how it goes. I'm on Part II.


katy said...

I come to you via Brian Seay and Shaun Groves, both old friends of mine. Don't get scared, but perhaps we are somehow connected in the universe because I, too, tried to read Mrs. Dalloway last week, and COULDN'T STAND IT!!! I picked it up for the same reasons you did, but once I started I was like "what the heck?" I pressed on, thinking this has to get better, but it never did. What a waste. Please explain how that is some of the best literature America has to offer. I just didn't get it.

Anyhoo, looking forward to living vicariously through you as you live and do theater in NY; something I can only dream of from Texas.


majorsteve said...

Fancy, now don't be dissin' Hemingway.

FancyPants said...

Katy, welcome! Yes, that's totally it about Mrs. Dalloway! How is this some of the best modern literature? (I think it's Brit lit) I kept thinking the same thing...this has to get better. But I just didn't get into it. I pressed through Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities to the end. And it was worth it. This I'm not so sure.

Major, ooh, sorry. I wasn't dissing Hemingway at all. Although looking back at my post I can see how it sounds like that. Just trying to state how I like reading authors who enjoy long sentences. Hemingway's way more succinct and to-the-point. Just making a comparison. But I will say...I've never gone crazy over Hemingway. Just haven't. I'm hoping to someday. I like him. I've never got the Hemingway bug, though.

FancyPants said...

P.S. I hate that cover, by the way. Ours doesn't look like that. I'm pretty sure that if it did I wouldn't have wanted to read it.

FancyPants said...

Katy, did you pick up Mrs. Dalloway to stop watching people in the audition room, too?! That would be REALLY weird and awesome.

Amy said...

It's been a long time since I've read this book, but I liked it.

Did you know she's contemplating writing a novel to redeem Lestat now that she's more committed to her faith? I'm really interested in that idea. A redemptive vampire novel!

I do like vampires...there's just so much tragedy and heartbreak and possibilities in a well written vampire story.

Super Churchlady said...

No me gusta las vampiras!!

But..I did read Christ the Lord - out of Egypt (also by Anne Rice) and I really enjoyed it. She's very talented.

Fork said...

Ooh! Read the Thursday Next books!

Anonymous said...

Oh, but Fancy, Mrs. Dalloway was a groundbreaking insight into the mind. Literature like that had never been. Woolf's own psychological problems gave her insights into madness, particularly the madness of the ordinary and mundane, that spilled out on paper in near stream-of-consciousness. Her understanding of sanity and psychosis was decades ahead of its time.

It's not candy; it's broccoli. It's good for you.

Seth Ward said...

But broccoli is no fun to eat at the movie theater!

But now I gotta check out Mrs. Dalloway to see what all the hubub is about.

FancyPants said...

Cach, you're right, I do see the greatness. I can understand those explanations as to why Mrs. Dalloway is considered one of the best, and maybe one day I'll have a go at it again, one day when I'm laying on a hammock on a warm spring day or in front of a cozy fire with a glass of wine, (no, scratch the wine, I'd be asleep) Still, the book is much too boring for a day in the audition holding room.

I gotta say, though. I like classic lit, alot. I don't mind a hard read. But Mrs.'s almost too much madness, too much stream-of-consciousness. My thoughts after reading only a short bit: She introduces such a swarm of characters and with them a swarm of perspectives within the first 10 - 20 pages of the book that the mind has nothing to grasp onto, or at least a hard time trying. If that's the whole book, it's hardly bearable. I find it almost maddening myself.

Amy, I didn't know that... I'm only a quarter of the way through, but I love already how she sets up such an inner struggle within Lestat about God's existence, what good actually is....

SC, haven't read it. Seth has and I think he liked it. My dad loved it and wanted more of her stuff. That was before he knew her previous books were all about vampires.

Fork, Thursday Next?

Seth, yeah gimme the Kit Kat and buttered popcorn.

katy said...

Too much stream-of-consciousness, that's it. There aren't even chapters. My brain didn't know when to breathe. I pushed through to the end, and I guess if madness was the point then I got it. But I was just plain bored trying to get there.

I wish I had been at an audition last week; they are few and far between here in San Antonio. Are you doing Beauty and the Beast right now? I saw a pic on your page. Also...are you on facebook? I swear I'm not stalking you...much!

Chaotic Hammer said...

I don't read much fiction these days. My wife has read just about every Anne Rice book ever written.

It's very cool to read about Anne's faith in Jesus these days:

My Trust in My Lord

Anonymous said...

Think about it, though: if you were writing a narration of a day in your life, how many characters swim in and out with little outside reference point? That's how the mind works.

And while Mrs. Dalloway is a classic, it's not by any stretch "classical literature." I love classics too, but wouldn't pick up Woolf with the same expectations of, say, Dumas.

Try again! It's fun!

FancyPants said...


I see we will have words. =-)

Well, some use the words Classic and Classical interchangeably when discussing literature, some draw a line between the two. I haven't thought too much about it, but seeing as I did use the word "classic" lit, I guess we're on the same page here in regards to its label.

if you were writing a narration of a day in your life, how many characters swim in and out with little outside reference point? That's how the mind works.

How the mind works doesn't necessarily make it a readable novel. I see the book as revolutionary, but what purpose does that serve to a reader? I suppose for one studying literature, it would be a great study. And I see how a writer could study Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and take from her technique to advance his/her own, but that writer would most likely use that technique only to an extent. For a reader interested in being told a story, how does this book reasonably deliver?

Fork said...

Heh heh heh...


Heh heh heh...

Roy said...

Have you noticed how often she uses the word "preternatural"?

I liked the books, although I think they went downhill a little.

FancyPants said...

Hi Roy! I haven't noticed the use of the word "preternatural" but I have noticed the use of the word "blood."


Somewhere in the farthest back areas of my brain I was hoping that a vampire book would only allude to the blood and not really talk about it.

Uhhh....not so much. That wouldn't be much of vampire book, would it?

But I'm finding that I can't put the book down.

Seth says the same. That after this book, they're not as good. Too bad.