Anne Rice goes Fully for Jesus
Posted: 02 November 2008 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1183
Joined  2007-08-07

Link

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP)—It’s Halloween, and Anne Rice has a new book—a memoir, in fact—that’s climbing best-seller lists. Everything is normal, then.

Anne Rice says she hopes to take her skills writing vampire books and “redeem myself.”

Anne Rice says she hopes to take her skills writing vampire books and “redeem myself.”

Normal if it were 1994—the height of Rice’s megaselling fame as a queen of Southern Gothic pulp.

For those who haven’t been paying attention lately to vampire lit, America’s most famous chronicler of bloodsuckers doesn’t live in New Orleans anymore—and hasn’t since before Hurricane Katrina hit—and she’s riding new waves of enthusiasm: the memoir and Christian lit.

Her memoir, “Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession,” is the latest piece of evidence that Rice is reinventing herself in an attempt to build a reputation as a serious Christian writer.

In the memoir, the 67-year-old writer doesn’t disavow the two decades she spent churning out books on vampires, demons and witches—with a batch of S&M;erotica thrown in—following the breakout success of her first novel in 1976, “Interview With the Vampire.”

But she’s clearly moved on.

In a telephone interview from her mountain home in Rancho Mirage, California, Rice laid out her goal:

“To be able to take the tools, the apprenticeship, whatever I learned from being a vampire writer, or whatever I was—to be able to take those tools now and put them in the service of God is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful opportunity,” she said. “And I hope I can redeem myself in that way. I hope that the Lord will accept the books I am writing now.”

The memoir follows the release of two books in a planned four-part, first-person chronicle of the life of Jesus.

And in this new 245-page memoir, Rice presents her former life as vampire writer as that of a soul-searching wanderer in the deserts of atheism; as someone akin to her most famous literary creations—Lestat, her “dark search engine,” Louis the aristocrat-turned-vampire and Egyptian Queen Akasha, “the mother of all vampires.”

“I do think that those dark books were always talking about religion in their own way. They were talking about the grief for a lost faith,” she said.

In 2002, Rice broke away completely from atheism—nearly four decades after she gave up her Roman Catholic faith as the 1960s started. It happened when she went off to college and found her peers talking about existentialism—Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre. Religion, she writes, was too restrictive to the young Rice. Too out of step.

Yet, religion had to come back into her life, she writes. For her, it was something she’d have to face up to again like an absent parent or a long-lost love child or Banquo the ghost in “Macbeth.”

By the late 1990s, when she went back to Mass, Rice—the author whose books sold in the tens of millions and who had recharged Hollywood’s appetite for vampire-inspired horror—had fallen on hard times.

Her husband, poet and artist Stan Rice, died of a brain tumor in 2002. And she had become victim to diabetes.

Always over-the-top and beyond the rational, she writes that her return of faith was preceded by a series of epiphanies—many while on travels to Europe’s cathedrals, Israel and Brazil. In one episode, when she visited the giant Jesus statue above Rio de Janeiro, she writes that she felt “delirium” as the clouds broke and revealed the statue.

Her professed revelations recall the religious intoxication she describes of her childhood.

When she was 12, she had her father turn a room on the back porch of the family’s Uptown home in New Orleans into an oratory modeled after St. Rose of Lima—the saint Catholics believe turned roses into floating crosses. She wanted to be a saint, she writes.

In the memoir, Rice describes a familiar Catholic upbringing imbued with opulence and mystery. The incense. The statuary. The stained glass. The darkness. She learned the world, she writes, through her senses, through a “preliterate” understanding of the world. She writes that she possessed “an internal gallery of pictorial images” that, lamentably, was replaced “by the alphabetic letters” she learned later.

“You might call it the Mozart effect, but it was the Catholic effect on me,” she said.

In a sense, the memoir also is a confessional about her struggle as a writer to be a reader, a thinker and an author with a distinct literary style. Her stories often are reveries with no end in sight—and all too often ugly with pedantic unwinding, numbing in detail and overly simplistic, a pastiche of cliches.

Her turn in direction—from vampire fiction to Christian musings—still isn’t winning the critics over.

In The New York Times, Christopher Buckley slammed Rice’s memoir as “a crashing, mind-numbing bore. This is the literary equivalent of waterboarding.”

And the bar is high when it comes to writing about Jesus.

“The best may be Nikos Kazantzakis’ ‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’ ” said Jason Berry, a novelist and journalist who has written extensively on the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal. “But also (G.K.) Chesterton, Norman Mailer. ... A lot of narrative artists in both literature and film have taken on Jesus, so to speak.”

Rice isn’t out to impress the critics, though.

“My objective is simple: It’s to write books about our Lord living on Earth that make him real to people who don’t believe in him; or people who have never really tried to believe in him,” she said.

She pressed the point: “I mean, I’ve made vampires believable to grown women. Now, if I can do that, I can make our Lord Jesus Christ believable to people who’ve never believed in him. I hope and pray.”

For her devotees, whatever she writes invariably goes down like a smooth bloodbath, that favorite Goth beverage sometimes made with raspberry liqueur, red wine and cranberry juice.

“There are so many people dedicated to her. They want her to write more vampire books,” said Marta Acosta, author of the popular “Casa Dracula” series, a “comedy of manners” that plays on vampire themes. She also runs the Vampire Wire, a book blog for fans of gore and the undead.

As for her, Acosta couldn’t care less if Rice sinks back into the vampire vein.

“People think it’s sexual, but it’s not. It’s suppressed stuff. Southern Gothic,” Acosta said. “How many centuries is Louis (played by Brad Pitt in the movie ‘Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles’) going to whine?”

Never again, it seems.

Rice is busy writing about Jesus as a minister. And that’s a tall order, Rice said.

 Signature 

Faith-free since 1985

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2008 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24

I guess it’s a risk of dabbling without the inoculation of a truly critical mind.

She’s got The Crazy!

Byron

 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2008 08:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  254
Joined  2008-09-06

So she lost her only child.
She lost her husband.
She lost her skills.
She lost her health.

And we should be surprised that she went a little funny and returned to her early conditioning?

Everyone has a breaking point. She reached hers. I am sorry that she was put through more than she could bear and hope that she can find some peace and the strength to soldier on.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2008 01:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  951
Joined  2007-06-23
telner - 03 November 2008 01:04 AM

So she lost her only child.
She lost her husband.
She lost her skills.
She lost her health.

And we should be surprised that she went a little funny and returned to her early conditioning?

Everyone has a breaking point.

Mine was somewhere in the middle of “Queen of the Damned”.

Yechhh…

Agreed telner, that she has suffered immense personal tragedy and deserves sympathy but I object strongly to the “breaking point” concept. Are so many of us a few tough breaks away from full conversion? What a fragile position we must hold.

 Signature 

He who is not a misanthrope at forty can never have loved mankind  -Chamfort

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2008 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24
telner - 03 November 2008 01:04 AM

So she lost her only child.
She lost her husband.
She lost her skills.
She lost her health.

And we should be surprised that she went a little funny and returned to her early conditioning?

Everyone has a breaking point. She reached hers. I am sorry that she was put through more than she could bear and hope that she can find some peace and the strength to soldier on.

Given all of that, I agree—can’t fault her for seeking comfort and solace.

This is the kind of thing I think of when people call religion a crutch. Sometimes it really is, and it would be pretty fucking cold to judge someone harshly for the need, and much more so to try and kick a crutch out from under someone who was really using it!

Byron

 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2008 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  254
Joined  2008-09-06
mpbrockman - 03 November 2008 06:02 AM

Agreed telner, that she has suffered immense personal tragedy and deserves sympathy but I object strongly to the “breaking point” concept. Are so many of us a few tough breaks away from full conversion? What a fragile position we must hold.

Full conversion? No, not for everyone. Some people aren’t wired that way.

But everyone has physical and emotional limits beyond which he or she simply can not function. We all have hidden reserves but only human ones. They can be exhausted. When they are we either break or find something other way of sustaining ourselves.

Choose your version, secular or sacred.

If you don’t think a man will kill for a can of tomatoes you’ve never been hungry

and

8: And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9: Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10: Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11: But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

4: And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
5: But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

The ways we carry on are as varied as the ways we fall apart.

Stoicism, community, philosophy, personal growth and finding ways to change the situation are found on one side. Sometimes they are enough.

Despair, drugs, madness, physical collapse and the ablation of human decency sit on the other. Sometimes they can be held at bay. Sooner or later, and nobody knows when that will happen, anyone can be pushed into them.

Faith and hope are the swing voters courted by both psychic Parties. They can make people march off a cliff or do horrible things because they believe it’s right. But they can keep a person going when nothing else will work, when the rational thing to do would be to lie down and die. And they can let someone face the inevitable with grace and dignity.

Until you get tested past failure you’ll never know how you’ll react or what you’ll reach for.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2008 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1814
Joined  2006-11-10

‘Anne Rice goes for Jeebus.’

Fine with me, she is a shitty writer anyway.
I’ve tried to read two of her books and found them utterly boring.

For those of you who like your vamps mean and bloody, check out Poppy Z Brite’s early work.

Not only is she a far better writer, she had the good taste to stay in her beloved New Orleans even when things got a bit rough.

 Signature 

“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 November 2008 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  306
Joined  2007-10-24

[quote=Sander]For those of you who like your vamps mean and bloody, check out Poppy Z Brite’s early work.

Not only is she a far better writer, she had the good taste to stay in her beloved New Orleans even when things got a bit rough.

Yeah, Anne Rice books left me feeling empty and unsatisfied.

I highly recommend the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.  Her books are hard to put down - vamps, zombies, shape-shifters, power struggles, lots of kinky sex and graphic violence… what’s not to love?

 Signature 

Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.
          —Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 November 2008 12:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  951
Joined  2007-06-23
telner - 03 November 2008 06:50 PM

The ways we carry on are as varied as the ways we fall apart.

Agreed there.

I should have been more specific in my response. It wasn’t the “breaking point” concept in general; it was the idea that enough tragedy leads one inevitably to theism (at least for anyone with such a background).

I think I may have read too much into your first post.

 Signature 

He who is not a misanthrope at forty can never have loved mankind  -Chamfort

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed