Monday, October 24, 2005

Interview with the Savior

Anne Rice has found religion.
"For the last six months," she says, "people have been sending e-mails saying, 'What are you doing next?' And I've told them, 'You may not want what I'm doing next'." We'll know soon. In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. "I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord." It's the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan's "Slow Train Coming" announced that he'd been born again.
I welcome her back to the Catholic faith wholeheartedly.

It's hard not to be cynical about this abrupt turnaround, though. A year ago Rice chastised commenters on Amazon fiercely when they dissed 2003's Blood Canticle.
Getting really close to the subject matter is the achievement of only great art. Now, if it doesn't appeal to you, fine. You don't enjoy it? Read somebody else. But your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander. And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies. I'll never challenge your democratic freedom to do so, and yes, I'm answering you, but for what it's worth, be assured of the utter contempt I feel for you, especially those of you who post anonymously (and perhaps repeatedly?) and how glad I am that this book is the last one in a series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses.
Humility was never Anne Rice's strong point. I liked the first three books of "The Vampire Chronicles," but lost interest, so I never read Blood Canticle, but I feel embarrassment for any artist who bitches because people don't understand the worth of their "great art." She may even be right. The book could be fabulous, but can you imagine, say, Hemingway giving a shit about some fanboy's persnickety rantings on Amazon? Rice herself said that she was forced to respond by suggestions the book suffered from her own health issues or due to the death of her husband.

While less than charitable, I have to question whether this anger and her eventual return to Catholicism was driven by the fact that, while still solid, Rice's readership has been dwindling for some time. I'll read the book and, hopefully, the feeling behind it will show through, answering my doubts. I hope she wasn't just looking at her sales and feeling left behind.


Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Actually, that's not surprising to me. She's been 'writing for the Lord' (be it dark or light) from the beginning. She wants to be SOMEBODY's whipping girl, apparently. Kinda Gibson-like. Seems to love the torn flesh. Great word-stringer though.

3:59 PM  

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