The announcement of Anne Rice’s death is making the news today. As with many weird kids, her Vampire Chronicles books were formative for me during my teen years. My friend Derek Lomas let me read his well-worn copy of The Vampire Lestat one summer at camp in the mid-1990s and it kind of blew my mind? I’d never read anything quite like it before—lurid, violent, sexy, rich—and I’m not sure I’ve read anything quite like it since. I went on to read everything through The Vampire Armand before sort of losing track of the series as one does as an 18 year old.
More recently, I listened to the audio book of The Witching Hour, the first book in her Lives of the Mayfair Witches series. It accompanied me while driving to doctor appointments 2 hours away during Sarah’s pregnancy, then to see the girls in the NICU, and finally to see Olive in the PCICU. It is a massive book and the recording clocks in at more than 50 hours, providing me with a lot to listen to during one of the harder moments in my adult life. Kate Reading’s narration (and amazing Dutch accent) of Anne Rice’s words is an inextricable part of the memory collage of the whole experience. A nice part, as it goes.
So, thank you, Anne Rice, for the escape. First for the escape from aches and pains of being a teenager, and second for the escape from the nightmare around a terminally ill child. Rest easy.