Sunday, November 13, 2005

Yay for Anne Rice

You can't escape the news. It's all over the papers and magazines and talk shows. War? Politics?

No--Anne Rice has switched gears in her career, and everyone is chatting about it.

Basically every single person who's in touch with books or media in general knows about Rice. Her Vampire Chronicles are huge bestsellers; they redefined the vamp genre and created an army of fans who paid respects to Rice's Garden District home, attended her Mardi Gras parties, and worshipped at the altar of Lestat. Personally, I loved the first few books, as well as the first couple of Mayfair Witches novels; the fictional worlds Rice created seem so real--built upon layers and layers of physical details and philosophical musings--that you can't hardly blame people for believing in their existence. (I refer to only one "existence" because the vamps and the witches came together in a fictional realm at one point.) Personally, I've seen Rice's house during walking tours, and a few years ago, I even visited the brick ex-orphanage that she bought to house her massive collection of dolls (I'm told that the building was sold and turned into condos. Figures.) . So I do count myself as an admirer of hers.

But, lately, there seems to be a huge disconnect between Rice and some of her fans. And you can guess why. She's decided to stop writing about "the dark side" and concentrate on a subject that's actually closer to her other writing than many of the unitiated would think: She's now writing about Jesus Christ, starting with a novel that takes place when he was a child.

I'm not that surprised. As Rice's career spun itself out over the years, her work became very self-exploratory and philosophical, weaving questions of faith and religion into the lives of her "monsters." It was obvious that the subjects were weighing heavily on her mind. Thus, the transition she's made into exploring the life of Jesus isn't a complete turnaround. It'll be interesting to see what she's come up with, I think; Rice is a stickler for research, so the book should have the same "lived in" feel of her others.

At any rate, I wish her luck and peace. I takes a lot of bravery to deviate from an ultra-successful career and to venture into such lightning-rod territory. All the best, Ms. Rice.

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