Orphan, daughter, victim, monster.
She was the vampire who never should have been ……her very existence an abomination among the creatures of the night. A predator’s lust imprisoned in the body of a child, she moves through the shadows of a world forever beyond her reach.
This is Claudia’s story.
Anne Rice’s ever-popular novel Interview With The Vampire was first published way back in 1976, and spawned a big budget film adaption in 1994 which served to massively increase the popularity of the books (and vampire stories in general for that matter). While the book is still widely known and read, it left me wondering why it has taken until now for this new perspective on the story to be published. Whatever the reason, this release is more of a companion than an addition to the Vampire Chronicles; Claudia’s Story is a graphic novel adaption of the original tale told from the perspective of child vampire Claudia, who I’ll admit was the most interesting character for me from Interview anyway.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Claudia is a young girl orphaned by plague in late eighteenth century New Orleans. She is discovered weeping over the corpse of her dead mother by the vampires Lestat and Louis; despite her youth, Louis is drawn to feed from her in desperation, but in his remorse for attacking a child he lets Lestat “save” her by making Claudia into a vampire. She becomes their daughter, part child and part predator, destined to move in the world of adults whilst never being able to become one herself.
Why do I find Claudia such an interesting creation? Well, think of the vampires that you come across in every other gothic tale around. They are almost exclusively adult males. Historically, the innocence of the child has been as revered as the purity of women; it would be unthinkable for a vampire to fall into either of these two camps in any traditional folk lore. This is probably because of the vampire’s role as an object of fear, and women and children didn’t traditionally scare anyone. But this tradition has given way in more recent scary stories; the image of the child as an object of evil subverts the old rules nicely and has been used successfully by many horror writers to produce chills (not forgetting objects associated with children, of course, as I wrote about in my recent review of Susan Hill’s Dolly: A Ghost Story). But Claudia is not only an interesting character in terms of being scary – she also serves as an interesting study into the potential challenges of child vampires. Children can be greedy and struggle with boundaries, so Claudia over-feeds and kills her victims without meaning to. Children covet expensive toys and have tantrums when they can’t get what they want, while Claudia attacks a doll shop owner to get the doll she cannot afford.
It has been a long time since I read Interview With The Vampire, but Claudia’s Story brought the book back vividly to mind. Although graphic novels aren’t my usual reading material, I enjoyed re-reading this story from the perspective of the character that I enjoyed the most from Interview. Claudia’s Story is an attractively presented hardback book, with illustrations provided by graphic novel debutant Ashley Marie Witter. The artwork is presented in sepia tones with exception of scarlet hues to highlight blood, of which there is a fair amount, and printing is on good quality glossy paper. This is a book that is sure to have great appeal to readers of the Vampire Chronicle series, and to graphic novel fans who like their material to be of a more gothic horror bent.
Interview With The Vampire : Claudia’s Story
Original novel by Anne Rice, adaption and artwork by Ashley Marie Witter
Published by Headline, November 2012
With thanks to the publishers for providing this review copy.
|Buy book online