Monday, January 03, 2005


oooo, look. the counter's gone round to another digit on the end. it's a new year, whoopee. same as the old year, or quite possibly much, much worse.

thankfully, there are distractions from the abyss ... wonderful dark truffles such as anne rice's blood canticle -- allegedly the last of her vampire chronicles, boo-hoo. it was great fun. i read that some fans complained about it, and she apparently got riled up about the criticism ... i didn't follow it too closely, but some of it had to do with lestat using modern vernacular slang and falling in love with a human, i think. which ... i dunno. seemed very lestat to moi, but i've only read all the vamp chrons, so who am i to say?

except, yeah, i've read them all (although not all the mayfair books -- in fact, none of them unless merrick counts as a mayfair book -- whose mythology also figures in canticle). i don't find it incongruous that a 19th-century vampire who wanted to be a rock star in the 20th century would suddenly develop a taste for "dude" and the like in the 21st. besides, rice virtually spells it out in the narrative, that lestat is breaking the conventions of "his" previous chronicles, stripping away the "artifice" of certain descriptions or ways of setting a scene or introducing characters ... and thus is the actual author doing as well. why she is doing it is less clear, maybe. but this is an end, if it really will be the last vampire chronicle. and yet there is a sense of starting over ... not necessarily of lestat beginning again, more like a cycle being repeated, a tale continuing in a similar, if variant, vein (no pun intended ... much). it's in the fledgling he makes, mona mayfair. although i also do feel like lestat was more of himself -- if undeniably older and wiser -- than he's been of late. (yes, but i think he was unconscious until recently ... .) his illusions of grandeur only get grander, in their own mundane human way -- a saint, lestat? reallllly. you are such a simple lad, after all.

most of the drama was melodrama, however. supernatural mamas searching for their supernatural babies, what-will-become-of-the-farm hair-tearing, unfinished business with ghosts from the last novel. a veritable bloodsuckers' soap opera. eh, but so? at this point, lestat is so powerful and knowledgeable and such that he suffers a little bit of superman syndrome: it's hard to fear for his life. (not to mention, he's come back from certain demise quite a lot.) so why even bother putting him through a wringer? let him play out his vampire-watcher trip. in fact, his desire for this most catholic of redemptions made me laugh and think of the jossverse's star nosferatu, angel and spike. all these tormented undead fops who just wanna be real boys ... pop culture is blessedly plagued with them.

i liked the interplay of creator and creation in blood canticle. i thought rice streamlined certain things quite cleverly. having lestat offer different little self-mocking asides about his copious descriptions of end tables and such made me giggle, b/c i definitely find her loving attention to detail clashes with my desire to get on with it and find out what happens. (i know -- cretin!) he seems both less and more human than ever in this book. it feels like the writer and the writee at times are engaged in a private dialogue, one that could render lestat momentarily near-incoherent, the way his thoughts truncate and shift, swallowing each other like ouroboros. in one or two moments the character gets so meta he risks eating himself -- are we supposed to see that, lestat slightly askew, without the fancy language, the charms that dazzle and bewitch us? b/c in reality, stripped of artifice, how would he look to us? what we see here is not exactly an ugly picture, just more "real" (as in modern), i suppose. scratch a lestat, you get a spike. less distance b/w the narrator and his tale. yet, somehow, more distance b/w mssr. ex-rockstar and his beloved humans.

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