My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have the audible audiobook version as it took me many years to get round to finally ‘reading’ this book, but I loved it. I think it has so many great characters and ideas and the prose is so atmospheric and alive, helped here by a good reading by Simon Vance.
The characters are paradoxically human in their dilemmas and concerns with death, immortality, morality, and the truth of life. I loved the way Louis describes things, especially his many description of heightened emotional or altered states. The details of his becoming a vampire, drinking blood, pushing himself to starvation, the grief of losing his friends, lovers and a child are all so vivid and full of blazing detail. In some passages it felt like it was grasping to describe the kind of awareness you would only get in a clear enlightened state, a pure moment of awareness of life – and this is maybe part the metaphor of the vampirism – the feeling of life vs the idea of it propagated by religion or humanity.
All of these scenarios and themes are woven into an exciting and engaging story. The closeness to the characters’ texture and emotions is so strong you really do feel as if you know them, and yet they are larger than life, these are bigger versions of human situations and relationships, reflected through this prism of vampires. Sometimes things do become a little soapy or baroque but on the whole the characters are so engaging and involving that you almost believe they could exist. That’s the end of my review and it came out a lot more gushing than I intended, but I really did love the book!