Friday, May 4, 2012

In Lieu Of

I've got to finish up The Wolf Gift so I can return it to the library.

Reading it has made me remember why I fell in love with Anne Rice's writing in the first place -- but not in a good way.  It's an ok story, but the struggle with philosophical and spiritual issues isn't really there.  It's shallow.  It's fluff.  And while that's all fine and good, I wasn't expecting that from her, and I am disappointed.  Not because I don't think she should write fluff if she wants to -- but because I know what she's capable of and I want THAT.

So I'm posting some quotes from one of my favorite books from her, Interview With A Vampire:

"It seemed at moments, when I sat alone in the dark stateroom, that the sky had come down to meet the sea and that some great secret was to be revealed in that meeting, some great gulf miraculously closed forever. But who was to make this revelation when the sky and sea became indistinguishable and neither any longer was chaos? God? Or Satan? It struck me suddenly what consolation it would be to know Satan, to look upon his face, no matter how terrible that countenance was, to know that I belonged to him totally, and thus put to rest forever the torment of this ignorance. To step through some veil that would forever separate me from all that I called human nature.

I felt the ship moving closer and closer to this secret. There was no visible end to the firmament; it closed about us with breathtaking beauty and silence. But then the words 'put to rest' became horrible. Because there would be no rest in damnation, could be no rest; and what was this torment compared to the restless fires of hell? The sea rocking beneath those constant stars - those stars themselves - what had this to do with Satan? And those images which sound so static to us in childhood when we are all so taken up with mortal frenzy that we can scarce imagine them desirable: seraphim gazing forever upon the face of God - and the face of God itself - this was rest eternal, of which this gentle, cradling sea was only the faintest promise."


How incredible is that?  It gives me chills every time.  It's astounding.  And knowing her personal journey makes it all the more real, deep and intimate.  

And here are some others:

"People who cease to believe in God or goodness altogether still believe in the devil. I don't know why. No, I do indeed know why. Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult."


(Louis is the MC. He's having a conversation with Armand, who begins)

"Aren't there gradations of evil? Is evil a great perilous gulf into which one falls with the first sin, plummeting to the depth?"

"Yes, I think it is," I said to him. "It's not logical, as you would make it sound. But it's that dark, that empty. And it is without consolation."

"But you're not being fair," he said with the first glimmer of expression in his voice. "Surely you attribute great degrees and variations to goodness. There is the goodness of the child which is innocence, and then...there is the goodness of good housewives. Are all these the same?"

"No. But equally and infinitely different from evil." I answered. (pg. 188)


"That passivity in me has been the core of it all, the real evil. That weakness, that refusal to compromise a fractured and stupid morality, that awful pride! For that, I let myself become the thing I am, when I knew it was wrong." (pg. 245)


"I wanted love and goodness in this which is living death," I said. "It was impossible from the beginning, because you cannot have love and goodness when you do what you know to be evil, what you know to be wrong. You can only have the desperate confusion and longing and the chasing of phantom goodness in its human form." (pg. 269)


This is what I love about Anne Rice.  This vast and curious search for the truth.

It's missing from The Wolf Gift, which makes me wonder if she's lost her way.

If you've read Anne Rice, what is your favorite book by her?  And if you haven't read her, what other books have you read that struggle with philosophical and spiritual questions in a wonderful, interesting or powerful way?

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