Another Body Snatcher Tale? Close…

Welcome to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Vampires!

Oh, yes, those are combined for a reason. The latest–I say latest when this novel was published in 1985–chapter of the acclaimed Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice is The Tale of the Body Thief–now that has a dark ring to it. In this novel the narcissistic vampire Lestat de Lioncourt wishes for death; he is fed up with the same old blood drinking routine and wants his immortality to cease. So he finds a body thief who offers him his own mortal body…and the action rises from then on.

You’re thinking now: haven’t I read books about body switches? Didn’t I, like countless other children–well, I was a child when it came out–watch Freaky Friday starring Jamie Lee Curtis? And you would be correct…but maybe you skipped on Freaky Friday and watched the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers; on which I blame you not.

But Anne Rice writes Tale of the Body Thief so enticingly; and as Lestat is one of the best first person characters ever to traipse into narrative you forget the classics and embrace the modern–speaking of modern the novel’s setting is the 1980s in Georgetown and Rio and New Orleans in their current states; except everyone uses pay phones and fax machines, so…

In and of itself the premise is hooking. I read the first thirty pages and was enthralled by the serious threat to the main character–a quality difficult to find in most books today. You have no idea why Lestat is giving up his invincible vampire armor for a meat sack he starts to hate after living in it for ten minutes; but while he is experiencing these relatable human situations you cannot contain the giggle in your stomach saying, “Tee-hee, I know the feeling!”

So far my favorite part has been when Lestat eats a plate of spaghetti and burns his tongue.

Ooh, doesn’t look so funny written down in so base a description, which, as always, Anne Rice excels in. The descriptions of the European and American towns are startlingly vivid, here, “…[t]his is South Beach at sunset…clean and thriving and drenched in electric light, the gentle breeze moving in from the placid sea…”(Rice 9).

Beautiful, eh?

Stay tuned to The Tale of the Body Thief.

Think daily, 

A Southpaw



Eating–A Study Of Vampirism

I like vampires.

I also like food; combine those two in such chapters as Nice to Eat with You: Acts Of Communion and Nice to Eat You: Acts Of Vampirism, and magic occurs…

In the 1980s Anne Rice was the undisputed master of the vampire genre; under her literary belt are such titles as Interview with the Vampire; The Vampire Lestat; and The Queen of the Damned; and those all are included in the Vampire Chronicles…an excellent trilogy, by the way; and not strictly about bloodsuckers.

In the opening to The Vampire Lestat, the titular vampire Lestat details his beauteous narcissism: “I’d step into the solar lights before the cameras…reach out and touch with my icy fingers a thousand warm and grasping hands…[and]…I’d lead them to the truth of it…” Lestat hungers for glory and recognition; but neither of those keep him living–it is the blood of his fans which he needs, and the attention of his fans which he desires.

The point: vampires are not base predators–rather they are sophisticated socialites  who classily pursue the cultural trends of a generation before draining them dry in the dead evening; of course it is easy to lure their victims–all they must do is dress currently and speak currently and live currently; the social tycoon offering more than money or a car ride…simply in the times.

All memorable monsters are reflections of ourselves.

Step once more into the dining room…this one is reserved for humans.

Communion, or perhaps the opposite, in dining is expressed brilliantly in The Dead by James Joyce, as cited by Foster; but for me there is the tense scene in the science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert–a quiet dinner between the Atreides Family and the Harkonnen Family on Arrakis.

I admire this scene because of its suspenseful air, the type that grabs you by the throat and squeezes tighter and tighter until the expulsion of pressure; however it is also key to uncovering the relationship between the families and the deceitful nature of each. At dinner are accusations and whispers and spies and tension and arrogance and secrets–so dearly this scene is remembered in my heart as complex; and complex for purposes of union, especially the lack thereof.

The families are biased towards each other and so eat dinner slowly, exchanging accusing statements in between chews. Neither family wishes to be near the other, hence their separated seating–one family member for every other chair. The eyes are watchful, yet their mouths are motionless; and their hands remain on the utensils until a disturbance summons the host away from that minefield and all are relieved their selfish hearts have not imploded.

Eating together can be discordant or unifying; but either way people are communing upon a solitary meal entirely void of the emotions, of benefitting or malevolent intent, sinking into its bare atmosphere.

Think daily,

A Southpaw