The Book Cook Look Club is a small Australian based book club combining three much-loved activities: reading, cooking and films. Declan, a member of the club, will be recapping his experience each month right here on The Nerd Daily!
BOOK | One person selects a book for everyone to read over the next month.
COOK | The book selector hosts a dinner party with a themed meal related to the book.
LOOK | We compare the film adaptation to its source material.
Before Edward Cullen was even conceived of, Louis de Pointe du Lac was the world’s favourite sensitive, broody vampire. He was a little whiny, but still likeable enough that Interview with the Vampire quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. Vampires were no longer just the nightmare-inducing monsters born from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. They now reflected aspects of our own humanity.
As the one who chose this book for March’s meeting, Alec cooked up some rare steaks with garlic and red wine sauce as our vampire-themed meal. He told us that what drew him to this book was his interest in the existential dread associated with immortality.
Interview with the Vampire begins with Louis, the two-hundred-year-old vampire, agreeing to be interviewed about his life story by an unnamed boy. He tells of his early vampire life being forced to live with Lestat, his vain, remorseless creator, and Claudia, a vampire forever stuck in the body of a 5-year-old girl. After many adventures, mistakes, and shenanigans, Louis becomes obsessed with the smooth, suave vampire Armand.
Up until this final plot point, there was a general consensus in our group of the book being a pretty decent (albeit sometimes confusing) narrative with beautifully written, engaging characters. But Alec, not knowing any better, decided to throw out a pretty controversial opinion that went something along the lines of:
Louis’ obsession with Armand was completely unjustified.
Or something along those lines, minus a couple of words that, for the sake of keeping this G-rated, I probably shouldn’t mention.
What Alec didn’t take into account was that two of our members attending tonight, Sarah and Gareth, happened to be big fans of The Vampire Chronicles series and both defended Louis’ obsession with Armand to the death. As it turned out, having two huge fans of the book series made the discussion a whole lot more interesting.
Thanks to them, a lot of theories came out. Was Louis responsible for his brother’s death? Are vampires completely soulless from the moment they’re transformed? And was Brad Pitt’s stint as Louis in the film of Interview with the Vampire at least partly responsible for his successful career? Just as we started to breach the topic of the film, Alec served up a bloody, gory dessert.
Chocolate ice cream with a mixed berry topping (sort of supposed to look a bit like blood, I suppose). It was a simple dessert, but chocolate ice cream is always a winner in my eyes.
Interview with the Vampire was adapted into a film in 1994, and while it was a fairly good movie, we all agreed that it was not a flawless interpretation. Kirsten Dunst’s performance as Claudia was a group favourite, as she played the character with both the wisdom of an immortal vampire and the terrifying frustration of a woman trapped in a child’s body.
I am personally not a massive Tom Cruise fan, but his performance does show a little versatility from some of his other movies, notably capturing Lestat’s exhibitionism and pride (the scene where he dances with the dead body was especially horrific). Even Brad Pitt is able to capture Louis’ subdued manner, but in the end we decided it was Antonio Banderas’ dull portrayal of Armand that let the rest of the cast down.
As we started to wrap up the night, Sarah and Gareth did a decent job of selling the rest of the series to us. The sequel, The Vampire Lestat, fills in the gaps of Lestat’s life that weren’t touched on in the first book, and Queen of the Damned follows Lestat’s life as a rock star in the 80’s.
Twilight, The Darren Shan Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments—all of these would not have been made possible if it weren’t for Anne Rice’s literary pioneering in vampire folklore. She turned monstrous vampires into tragic heroes, and so for me personally it was so exciting to see where this trope was rooted.
I may or may not end up reading the rest of The Vampire Chronicles series in the future, but Interview with the Vampire should undoubtedly be one of those classics you get around to reading at some point in your life.
What do you think of Interview With The Vampire? Let us know in the comments below!