I have just finished reading Blackwood Farm, by Anne Rice (http://www.annerice.com/). Has any of you ever read her vampire books? I hadn’t until now. Funnily enough, I didn’t start with the first one in the series (“Interview with the Vampire“), but with the last-but-one (Blackwood Farm). The reason is that I wanted to read it in e-book format (on Amazon’s Kindle) and Blackwood Farm was available but not the first one in the series. Rice’s vampire novels are epics which take us into a world of their own. I didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. The writing is great. Rice is able to paint vivid, colourful pictures in her readers’ minds. The setting for Blackwood Farm is Louisiana, and after reading the book, I find I want to go there! Blackwood Farm tells the story of the Blackwood family, from the initial ancestor Manfred Blackwood and his first, beloved wife Virginia Lee, to Tarquin Blackwood (Quinn), the last one in the family, who also happens to be the narrator and the vampire. What I really liked is that there is very little blood drinking. It is in fact a subtle mix of supernatural characters (the vampires, the witches, the spirits and the ghosts) and totally ordinary citizens leading ordinary (or not always so ordinary) lives. You can’t help falling in love with the Blackwood family and its unusual fate, and in particular sweet Aunt Queen. The plot is solid and you find you have to turn the pages until all is revealed – and there is a lot to reveal, trust me. I found myself so drawn into the story that I have already purchased the sequel (and last one in the series), Blood Canticle.
Incidently Anne Rice has been in the media again recently. She is a fascinating character, who is not afraid to publicise her points of view on various things, and religion in particular. She was raised as a catholic, but left religion for years (She went through difficult times after losing a five-year old daughter to leukaemia, and recently losing her husband.) A decade ago, she decided to embrace Christianity again, and that’s when she left vampires for angels and other celestial beings. Now, it seems she’s backtracking from that. Here is what she recently wrote on Facebook: “Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deservedly infamous group. For 10 years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else…. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”
I am a big fan of religions (please note the “s” at the end of the word) and of personal beliefs, and have always shied away from churches and religious institutions, which far too often seem to be more interested in power and control than in doing and saying the right things. Rice’s son Christopher (a writer in his own right) is gay, and I can fully understand why Anne Rice can’t stand the recent attacks on gays and lesbians in the US (I’m 100% with her on that one). I’m not entirely sure why Rice felt the need to publicise her new love for Christianity in the first place, but I like her latest stance on the matter. In any case, it makes her an interesting character.
On another note, I am writing this post from London, which I will be leaving tomorrow for Paris and country France. As a consequence, you may not hear from me for a while. I will have no Internet connection! I am sure it’s going to feel weird, but what better way to disconnect? I am however taking lots of books with me, so I’ll have many reviews to post when I come back to the world of the living. Watch this space!