A Retrospective Letter to Anne Rice

Dear Anne Rice,

It is because of you that I’ve become insufferable.

I like to think I’m good at compartmentalizing my reading and my life, but the truth is what I read inevitably impacts me. With most books, this impact is limited– a random thought in the middle of class or trying to remember a particularly good quote– with “Interview with the Vampire” this line has been blurred significantly. I find the story has lingered in my mind; at the edge of my thoughts and the tip of my tongue.

There’s part of me that wishes I’d found it earlier, so that I could have appreciated the art and the artist at the same time. Simultaneously, however, so much of falling in love with a book is finding it at the right time, and I don’t think there could have been a better time for “Interview.” Hopefully, I would have been mature enough to value the narrative content of the story even if I’d read it when I was younger, but reading it now I was able to connect to the emotional value as well– without which, the beauty of the story is lost.

“Interview” has given me many things since my initial reading. It helped me understand the vampire as it pertains to pop culture in a new way, showed me the unlimited nature of the paranormal and changed my perception of what ‘literary’ fiction has to look like. It also gave me a greater insight into myself– not to equate myself to Louis, but to say that some of what he struggles with, I have wondered myself. 

It allowed me to question myself without demanding answers. I see the beauty of asking and waiting for the answer to come rather than trying to sort all things and experiences into boxes or easy categories. So much of your writing in that book is understanding that life does not often subscribe to the rules we try to live by; there are things we can’t understand, and that is inevitable. People exist in a gray space– neither good nor bad, and trying to assign them to these boxes is pointless and undermining.

Beyond me, your work has had a positive impact on people as a whole.

“Interview” unabashedly embraced the LGBTQ+ community and created a more explicit space for explorations of those identities. From the queer-coded (subtextual indicators of a character’s LGBTQ+ identity) relationship at the center of the novel, to the androgyny of anti-hero and later series protagonist Lestat, you helped carve a space for the forgotten and often ostracized. Your vampires were complex creatures that exhibit monstrous behavior and were also the target of society’s monstrous assumptions– the scapegoat to larger problems. Your allegory showed the isolating– and often demeaning– effect of this blame while not absolving your characters of their often irresponsible and immoral decisions.

This allowance of complexity and internal-contradiction is what continues to propel your work into the modern age. There is still relevance to these ideas and topics, especially when presented in a non-judgemental way.

What I carry with me from “Interview” is an enduring reminder to live without apathy and with greater understanding of the millions of forces at play. I am not one person in isolation; I belong to a family, a community, groups, but most importantly, I belong to myself.

We must all know ourselves before we can live meaningfully. We must know ourselves to the best of our ability, and never stop questioning ourselves and our motives and our feelings. 

So thank you, Anne Rice, for leaving me with these questions, with a barrier-pushing story, and for humanizing the contradictions innate to all of us.


E.V. Beyers