the recent death of Anne Rice

For many GenXers, Anne Rice’s books were a staple of the reading diet. Perhaps the most well-known, Interview with a Vampire was published in 1976, but became even more popular when coupled with 1985’s The Vampire Lestat. It didn’t hurt any that the 1994 film adaptation of Interview with a Vampire starred Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, who were at the peak of their fame. It also didn’t hurt that those mass market paperback reprints, like the copy seen here, were accessible and affordable. (Of course, the 2002 adaptation of 1988’s Queen of the Damned garnered a little more attention to the series, but it came at the end of The Vampire Chronicles’ heyday.)

Anne Rice was born in 1941 in New Orleans and was heavily identified with her hometown. She had left New Orleans in 2004 and moved to California, where she died on December 11, 2021.

During the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, Rice wrote and published the quite a few novels, including Tale of the Body Thief (1992), Memnoch the Devil (1995), and The Vampire Armand (1998) in the Vampire Chronicles series, and the Sleeping Beauty series, which came out under the pseudonym AN Roquelaure.

Despite her prolific output and substantial popularity, though, Rice was often regarded as an author of popular fiction, not as a serious novelist. In December 1985, the Clarion-Ledger‘s book columnist Jim Scafidel described The Vampire Lestat as “an off-beat interview with a down-beat vampire.” Yet, the following month, a feature article in the Hattiesburg American ended on this positive note:

Rice brings into the open our deep-rooted suspicions that there may be more to the vampire legend than what Bela Lugosi has led us to believe.

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