The time's now.
We are in a small room with the vampire, face to face, as he speaks, as he pours out the hypnotic, shocking, moving, and erotically charged confessions of his first two hundred years as one of the living dead ...
A provoking book, which starts a rich series...
A vampire named Louis tells his 200-year-long life story to reporter Daniel Molloy (who is only referred to as "the boy" in the novel).
In 1790, Louis was a young indigo plantation owner living south of New Orleans, Louisiana. Distraught with his brother's death, he seeks death in any... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
A vampire named Louis tells his 200-year-long life story to reporter Daniel Molloy (who is only referred to as "the boy" in the novel).
In 1790, Louis was a young indigo plantation owner living south of New Orleans, Louisiana. Distraught with his brother's death, he seeks death in any way possible. Louis is approached by a vampire named Lestat, who desires Louis' company. Lestat turns Louis into a vampire (although initially Louis merely begs to be killed) and the two become immortal companions. Lestat spends some time feeding off the local plantation slaves while Louis, who finds it morally impossible for him to murder humans to survive, feeds from animals.
Louis and Lestat are forced to leave when Louis' slaves begin to fear the monsters with which they live and instigate an uprising. Louis sets his own plantation aflame; he and Lestat exterminate the plantation slaves to keep word from spreading about vampires living in Louisiana. Gradually, Louis bends under Lestat's influence and begins feeding from humans. He slowly comes to terms with his vampire nature but also becomes increasingly repulsed by what he perceives as Lestat's total lack of compassion for the humans he preys upon.
Escaping to New Orleans proper, Louis feeds off a plague-ridden young girl one night, no more than four or five years old, whom he finds next to the corpse of her mother. Louis begins to think of leaving Lestat and going his own way. Fearing that, Lestat then turns the girl into a vampire "daughter" for them, to give Louis a reason to stay. She is then given the name "Claudia".
Initially, Louis is horrified that Lestat has turned a child into a vampire, but instantly cares for Claudia tenderly and dotingly. Claudia takes to killing people easily, but over time begins to hate Lestat as she realizes she can never grow up; although her mind matures into that of an intelligent, assertive woman, her body remains that of a five-year-old girl. After 60 years of living together, Claudia hatches a plot to dispose of Lestat by poisoning him and cutting his throat. Claudia and Louis then dump his body into a nearby swamp. After realizing that they seem to now be the only vampires living in America, Claudia desires to travel to Europe with Louis and seek out "Old World" vampires.
As Louis and Claudia prepare to flee to Europe, Lestat appears, having survived and recovered from Claudia's attack, and attacks them in turn. Louis sets fire to their home and barely escapes with Claudia, leaving a furious Lestat to be consumed by the flames.
Arriving in Europe, Louis and Claudia seek out more of their kind. They travel throughout eastern Europe first and do indeed encounter vampires, but these vampires appear to be nothing more than animated corpses, mindless and unintelligible. It is only when they reach Paris that they encounter vampires like themselves - specifically, the 400-year-old vampire Armand and his coven, the Théâtre des Vampires. Inhabiting an ancient theater, Armand and his vampire coven disguise themselves as humans and feed on live, terrified humans in mock-plays before a live human audience (who think the killings are merely a very realistic performance). Claudia is repulsed by these vampires and what she considers to be their cheap theatrics. Santiago, a prominent figure among the vampire coven, suspects Claudia and Louis of killing their maker. One rule among the vampires is death to any vampire who kills their own kind.
Claudia demands that Louis turn a human Parisian dollmaker, Madeleine, into a vampire to serve as both a mother figure and a replacement for Louis (Claudia is convinced that Louis wants to be with Armand and will leave her). Louis at first refuses but, after realizing Claudia's plight, gives in and makes Madeleine into a vampire. Louis, Madeleine and Claudia live together for a brief time but all three are abducted one night by the Theatre vampires. Lestat has arrived - having survived the fire and attempted murder in New Orleans. His accusations against Louis and Claudia result in Louis being locked in a coffin to starve, while Claudia and Madeleine are locked in an open courtyard. Armand arrives and releases Louis from the coffin, but Madeleine and Claudia are burned to death by the rising sun. Louis finds the ashen remains of Claudia and Madeleine and is devastated. He later returns to the Theatre late the following night, burning it to the ground as the sun rises and killing all the vampires inside, and leaves with Armand.
Louis and Armand then travel across Europe together for several years, but Louis never fully recovers from Claudia's death. Tired of the Old World, Louis eventually returns to America and New Orleans in the early 20th century, living as a loner; he feeds off any humans that cross his path but lives in the shadows and never creates another companion for himself.
Telling the boy of one last (which is described in detail by Lestat in later books) encounter with Lestat in New Orleans, Louis ends his tale; after 200 years, he is weary of immortality as a vampire and all the pain and suffering to which he has had to bear witness. The boy, however, seeing only the great powers granted to a vampire, begs to be made into a vampire himself. Infuriated that his interviewer learned nothing from his story, Louis refuses, and attacks the boy, feeding off him and rendering him unconscious. He then vanishes without a trace.
Recovering from the attack, the boy notes the address of the house where Louis last saw Lestat in New Orleans, and then leaves to track down Lestat for himself.
“Aber was ist der Unterschied? Es ist für uns alle doch nur eine Sache der Jahre, das Sterben. Sie hat nur anschaulicher gesehen, was alle Menschen wissen: daß der Tod unvermeintlich kommt, es sei denn - man wählt dies!”
“Feuer reinigt ..." sagte Claudia. Und ich antwortete: " Nein, Feuer vernichtet nur ...”Claudia / Louis
“I wanted those waters to be blue, but they were black. Night-time waters.”Louis
“And taking Claudia's playful hand I understand for the first time in my life what she feels when she forgive me for being myself, from whom she says she hates and love: she feels almost nothing!”Louis
“There's a simple answer to that. I think I want to tell the real story...”Louis
“How pathetic it is to describe these things which can't be truly described.”Louis
“And you decided to become a vampire?" "Decided. It doesn't seem the right word. Yet I cannot say it was inevitable from the moment that he stepped into that room. No, indeed, it was inevitable. Yet I can't say I decided.”The boy / Louis
“My last sunrise. That morning, I was not yet a vampire. And I saw my last sunrise. I remember it completely; yet I do not think I remember any other sunrise before it.”Louis
“Do you understand me when I say I did not wish to rush headlong into experience, that what I'd felt as a vampire was far too powerful to be wasted?" "Yes. It sounds as if it was like being in love.”Louis / The boy
“There was no city in America like New Orleans. It was filled not only with French and Spanish of all classes who had not had formed in part its peculiar aristocracy, but later with immigrants of all kinds, the Irish and the German in particular.”Louis
“The strong overpowering emotions of detached persons in whom emotion and will are one.”Louis
“I have to leave him or die, I thought. It would be sweet to die, I thought. Yes, die. I wanted to die before. Now I wish to die. I saw it with such sweet clarity, such dead calm.”Louis
“What do you think a vampire is?" "I don't pretend to know. You pretend to know. What is it?”Lestat / Louis
“You do dream!" "Often. I wish sometimes that I did not. For such dreams, such long and clear dreams I never had as a mortal; and such twisted nightmares I never had either.”The boy / Louis
“He'd done this to the little girl just to keep you with him?" "That is difficult to say. It was a statement. I'm convinced that Lestat was a person who preferred not to think or talk about his motives or beliefs, even to himself. One of these people who must act. Such a person must be pushed considerably before he will open up and confess that there is method and thought to the way he lives.”The boy / Louis
“You speak of him as if he were dead. You say Lestat was this or was that. Is he dead?”The boy
“Claudia was mystery. It was not possible to know what she knew or did not know. And to watch her kill was chilling.”Louis
“You gave me your immortal kiss. You loved me with your vampire nature." "I love you now with my human nature, if ever I had it.”Claudia / Louis
“He made me then ... to be your companion. No chains could have held you in your loneliness, and he could give you nothing. He gives me nothing ... I used to think him charming. But I no longer him charming. And you never have. And we've been his puppets, ypu and I; you remaining to take care of him, and I your saving companion. Now it's time to end it, Louis. Now is time to live him.”Claudia
“And I was almost to the railing of the steps when I heard a strange sound. Never in all the years of our life together had I heard this sound. Never since the night long ago when I first found her, a mortal child, clinging to her mother. It drew me back now against my will. Yet it sounded so unconscious, so hopeless, as though she meant no one to hear it, or didn't care if it were heard by the whole world.”Louis
“What does it mean to die when you can live until the end of the world? A what is 'the end of the world' except a phrase, because who knows even what is the world itself?”Louis
“Do you think I am playing with you?" "No. I know better than to ask you any more questions. You'll tell me everything in your own time.”Louis / The boy
“And it was a strange country. Lonely, dark, as rural country is always dark, its castles and ruins often obscured when the moon passed behind the clouds <...>. And the people themselves were no relief.”Louis
“Never in New Orleans had the kill to be disguised. But here we had to go to great lengths to make the kill unnoticed. Because these simple country people, <...>, believed completely that the dead did walk and did drink blood of the living. They knew our names: vampire, devil.”Louis
“We had met the European vampire, the creature of the Old World.”Louis
“But what were these creatures? Why were they like this? I don't understand. How could they be so different from you and Claudia, yet exist?”The boy
“I think the very name of Paris brought a rush of pleasure to me that was extraordinary, a relief so near to well-being that I was amazed, not only that I could feel it, but that I'd do nearly forgotten it.”Louis
“Why does that make you as evil as any vampire? Aren't these gradations of evil? Is evil a great perilous gulf into which one falls with the first sin, plummeting to the depth?”Armand
“And weak vampires are feared; I should say this also. That you are flawed is obvious to them: you feel to much, you think too much. As you said yourself, vampire detachment is not of great value to you.”Armand
“I don't understand my own feelings. Perhaps they are clearer to you than they are to me..." "You don't begin to know what a mystery you are.”Louis / Armand
“I knew that was wrong! Well, I tell you I am no longer that passive, weak creature that has spun evil from evil till the web is vast and thick while I remain its stultified victim. It's over. I know now what I must do.”Louis
“You care about nothing... I thought you would at least care about that. I thought you would feel the old passion, the old anger if you were to see him again. I thought something would quicken and come alive in you if you saw him... if you returned to this place." "That I would come back to life?”Armand / Louis
“It didn't have to end like that. <...> It didn't have to end, not in this, not in despair. Because that's what it is, isn't it? Despair!”The boy
“You don't know what humans life is like! You've forgotten. You don't even understand the meaning of your own story, what it means to a human being like me.”The boy
“What does it mean to die when you can live until the end of the world? And what is the ‘end of the world’ except a phrase, because who knows even what is the world itself?”Louis
“Louis, your quest is for darkness only. This sea is not your sea. The myths of men are not your myths. Men’s treasures are not yours.”Claudia
“I wanted to be where there was nothing familiar to me. And nothing mattered.”Louis
“And what constitutes evil, real evil, is the taking of a single human life. Whether a man would have died tomorrow or the day after or eventually… it doesn't matter. Because if God does not exist, this life… every second of it… is all we have.”Louis
“That is, how would you say today...bullshit?”Louis
“How many vampires do you think have the stamina for immortality? They have the most dismal notions of immortality to begin with. For in becoming immortal they want all the forms of their life to be fixed as they are and incorruptible: carriages made in the same dependable fashion, clothing of the cut which suited their prime, men attired and speaking in the manner they have always understood and valued. When, in fact, all things change except the vampire himself; everything except the vampire is subject to constant corruption and distortion. Soon, with an inflexible mind, and often even with the most flexible mind, this immortality becomes a penitential sentence in a madhouse of figures and forms that are hopelessly unintelligible and without value.”Louis
“Vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires... How avant-garde!”
“Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”
“The world changes, we do not, therein lies the irony that kills us.”
“The only power that exists is inside ourselves.”
“Evil is a point of view. We are immortal. And what we have before us are the rich feasts that conscience cannot appreciate and mortal men cannot know without regret. God kills, and so shall we; indiscriminately He takes the richest and the poorest, and so shall we; for no creatures under God are as we are, none so like Him as ourselves, dark angels not confined to the stinking limits of hell but wandering His earth and all its kingdoms.”
“How pathetic it is to describe these things which can't truly be described.”
“Every moment must be first known and then savored.”
“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.Highlighted by 156 Kindle customers
I lived like a man who wanted to die but who had no courage to do it himself.Highlighted by 108 Kindle customers
Like all strong people, she suffered always a measure of loneliness; she was a marginal outsider, a secret infidel of a certain sort.Highlighted by 72 Kindle customers
“ ‘That’s not true. Because if God doesn’t exist we are the creatures of highest consciousness in the universe. We alone understand the passage of time and the value of every minute of human life. And what constitutes evil, real evil, is the taking of a single human life. Whether a man would have died tomorrow or the day after or eventually…it doesn’t matter. Because if God does not exist, this life…every second of it…is all we have.’Highlighted by 67 Kindle customers
You are like an adult who, looking back on his childhood, realizes that he never appreciated it. You cannot, as a man, go back to the nursery and play with your toys, asking for the love and care to be showered on you again simply because now you know their worth.Highlighted by 64 Kindle customers
God kills, and so shall we; indiscriminately He takes the richest and the poorest, and so shall we; for no creatures under God are as we are, none so like Him as ourselves, dark angels not confined to the stinking limits of hell but wandering His earth and all its kingdoms.Highlighted by 60 Kindle customers
I never laugh at death, no matter how often and regularly I am the cause of it.Highlighted by 52 Kindle customers
It was as if this night were only one of thousands of nights, world without end, night curving into night to make a great arching line of which I couldn’t see the end, a night in which I roamed alone under cold, mindless stars.Highlighted by 47 Kindle customers
the moment I saw him, saw his extraordinary aura and knew him to be no creature I’d ever known, I was reduced to nothing. That ego which could not accept the presence of an extraordinary human being in its midst was crushed. All my conceptions, even my guilt and wish to die, seemed utterly unimportant. I completely forgot myself!”Highlighted by 43 Kindle customers
“I can’t tell you exactly,” said the vampire. “I can tell you about it, enclose it with words that will make the value of it to me evident to you. But I can’t tell you exactly, any more than I could tell you exactly what is the experience of sex if you have never had it.”Highlighted by 33 Kindle customers
Followed by The Vampire Lestat.
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