Memnoch the Devil (Anglais) Poche – 28 mai 1997
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I was on the stairway. The grand stairway, one might say. It was one of those very opulent old hotels, divinely overdone, full of crimson and gold, and rather pleasant. My victim had picked it. I hadn't. My victim was dining with his daughter. And I'd picked up from my victim's mind that this was where he always met his daughter in New York, for the simple reason that St. Patrick's Cathedral was across the street.
David saw me at once--a slouching, blond, long-haired youth, bronze face and hands, the usual deep violet sunglasses over my eyes, hair presentably combed for once, body tricked out in a dark-blue, double-breasted Brooks Brothers suit.
I saw him smile before he could stop himself. He knew my vanity, and he probably knew that in the early nineties of the twentieth century, Italian fashion had flooded the market with so much shapeless, hangy, bulky, formless attire that one of the most erotic and flattering garments a man could choose was the well-tailored navy-blue Brooks Brothers suit.
Besides, a mop of flowing hair and expert tailoring are always a potent combination. Who knows that better than I?
I didn't mean to harp on the clothes! To hell with the clothes. It's just I was so proud of myself for being spiffed up and full of gorgeous contradictions--a picture of long locks, the impeccable tailoring, and a regal manner of slumping against the railing and sort of blocking the stairs.
He came up to me at once. He smelled like the deep winter outside, where people were slipping in the frozen streets, and snow had turned to filth in the gutters. His face had the subtle preternatural gleam which only I could detect, and love, and properly appreciate, and eventually kiss.
We walked together onto the carpeted mezzanine.
Momentarily, I hated it that he was two inches taller than me. But I was so glad to see him, so glad to be near him. And it was warm in here, and shadowy and vast, one of the places where people do not stare at others.
"You've come," I said. "I didn't think you would."
"Of course," he scolded, the gracious British accent breaking softly from the young dark face, giving me the usual shock. This was an old man in a young man's body, recently made a vampire, and by me, one of the most powerful of our remaining kind.
"What did you expect?" he said, tete-a-tete. "Armand told me you were calling me. Maharet told me."
"Ah, that answers my first question." I wanted to kiss him, and suddenly I did put out my arms, rather tentatively and politely so that he could get away if he wanted, and when he let me hug him, when he returned the warmth, I felt a happiness I hadn't experienced in months.
Perhaps I hadn't experienced it since I had left him, with Louis. We had been in some nameless jungle place, the three of us, when we agreed to part, and that had been a year ago.
"Your first question?" he asked, peering at me very closely, sizing me up perhaps, doing everything a vampire can do to measure the mood and mind of his maker, because a vampire cannot read his maker's mind, any more than the maker can read the mind of the fledgling.
And there we stood divided, laden with preternatural gifts, both fit and rather full of emotion, and unable to communicate except in the simplest and best way, perhaps--with words.
"My first question," I began to explain, to answer, "was simply going to be: Where have you been, and have you found the others, and did they try to hurt you? All that rot, you know--how I broke the rules when I made you, et cetera."
"All that rot," he mocked me, the French accent I still possessed, now couple with something definitely American.
"Come on," I said. "Let's go into the bar there and talk. Obviously no one has done anything to you. I didn't' think they could or they would, or that they'd dare. I wouldn't have let you slip off into the world if I'd thought you were in danger."
He smiled, his brown eyes full of gold light for just an instant.
"Didn't you tell me this twenty-five times, more or less, before we parted company?"
We found a small table, cleaving to the wall. The place was half crowded the perfect proportion exactly. What did we look like? A couple of young men on the make for mortal men or women? I don't care.
"No one has harmed me," he said, "and no one has shown the slightest interest in it."
Someone was playing a piano, very tenderly for a hotel bar, I thought. And it was something by Erik Satie. What luck.
"The tie," he said, leaning forward, white teeth flashing, fangs completely hidden, of course. "This, this big mass of silk around your neck! This is not Brooks Brothers!" He gave a soft teasing laugh. "Look at you, and the wing-tip shoes! My, my. What's going on in your mind? And what is this all about?"
The bartender threw a hefty shadow over the small table, and murmured predictable phrases that were lost to me in my excitement and in the noise.
"Something hot," David said. It didn't surprise me. "You know, rum punch or some such, whatever you can heat up."
I nodded and made a little gesture to the indifferent fellow that I would take the same thing.
Vampires always ordered hot drinks. They aren't going to drink them; but they can feel the warmth and smell them if they're hot, and that is so good.
David looked at me again. Or rather this familiar body with David inside looked at me. Because for me, David would always be the elderly human I'd known and treasured, as well as this magnificent burnished shell of stolen flesh that was slowly being shaped by his expressions and manner and mood.
Dear Reader, he switched human bodies before I made him a vampire, worry no more. It has nothing to do with this story.
"Something's following you again?" he asked. "This is what Armand told me. So did Jesse."
"Where did you see them?"
"Armand?" he asked. "A complete accident. In Paris. He was just walking on the street. He was the first one I saw."
"He didn't make any move to hurt you?"
"Why would he? Why were you calling to me? Who's stalking you? What is all this?
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A lire : La divine Comédie de Dante (un peu longuet mais pour un voyage initiatique c'est normal)
Le paradis Perdu de John Milton ( une oeuvre extraordinaire que je ne me lasse pas de relire)
exquis & redoutable..et surtout du grand Anne Rice!
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
The reason for this was I wanted to give it to others so they can understand why it captured me so.
This book made me question a lot of things when I first read it about 15 years ago. It challenged what I thought I knew about religion, life, and everything anyone has ever told me was true. It led me down a path of spiritual enlightenment, questioning and self reflection that ultimately led me to a place where I finally feel at peace with such things. I feel this is much like Anne Rice herself has done throughout her life.
If you are looking for a typical vampire novel, this isn't what you want. This is something much different and unexpectedly placed withing the vampire chronicles. The character of Lestat is the perfect creature to meet with the devil and go through this adventure however, and his unique lavish selfishness, and the depictions of hell and Memnoch's story about "the truth behind the devil" really conflict with Lestat at this point in the story. After the events of the Queen of the damned, where the main characters face creatures of unbelievable power and cruelty Memnoch the Devil offers readers another confrontation with the all powerful, and one that not only deeply affects the character, but the reader as well.
Not for the weak of will.
First, let's take the notions that this isn't a vampire novel, that it isn't Lestat, and that his behavior is out of character, and dispense with them right off. One: It seems to me that this is a vampire novel, as it does have its share of vampires haunting the pages. Two: If you study the overall arc of Lestat's character, from Interview through to Memnoch, the overall effect is a softening of Lestat's hard, conscienceless demeanor -- The Tale of the Body Thief really brings this to the fore, in fact; read it again and see if I'm wrong. Memnoch's characterization of Lestat in my mind is perfectly in keeping with what's gone before. As to the idea that the characters do not act in keeping with their usual presentations in Rice's previous vampire novels, well, ask yourself this: If you met, in the span of a few hours, both God and Satan, and had your mind blown by both Heaven and Hell, AND had your entire belief system turned upside-rightside-inside-out, how rationally would YOU act? My guess is not very, and that was part of the point Rice was trying to make: we're far too comfortable in our various faiths, and that kind of complacency is very dangerous. We need to question more, Rice is saying. We need to ask hard questions -- even if we don't like the answers.
Which brings us nicely to addressing what a lot of people say about this novel: That it's offensive, that it portrays God as a bumbling incompetent and Lucifer as the wronged party...and worse, that he's attractive to boot. Well, let me just say this about that: This is a work of FICTION, folks. A novel. A big fat lie, told to amuse and amaze you in your unoccupied moments, nothing more. If you're offended by the notion of a fictional vampire sinking his teeth into the fictional neck of a fictional Christ on the cross (note that Lestat makes no appearances in the Bible!), then maybe your faith isn't as strong as you think it is. At the very least you need to get out more often. And so Memnoch is handsome, attractive and persuasive. So what? Isn't that what makes evil such a siren call -- that so much of the time it is attractive, tempting, seductive? Would Eve ever have been tempted if the serpent hadn't used honeyed words and gentle persuasion? Finally, God is not presented as a bumbler here so much as he is cold and indifferent to his own creation -- and haven't many of us suffered from that suspicion in our darkest moments? "Where were you when I made the world?" God asks Job when Job questions him -- in other words, I have a plan and you don't know the half of it, pal. The thought that God knows what he's doing, but doesn't trust us enough to let us know too, has driven plenty of people to question, even doubt, their own faith. (And I'll fill you in on a little secret, too. It's all right to question and doubt. I'm sure God has his doubts about us sometimes. It's when you let those doubts drive you from God that you become endangered.)
Okay, what's next? Is Memnoch boring? Well, maybe -- if you have the attention span of a gnat. (Thought I was going to be polite here; oh well...) If you go into this novel expecting typical Lestat-type adventures, you will be disappointed. If, however, you pry that cover open without any expectations other than reading a well-told, intelligently-thought-out tale, you may just be in for a treat. Yes, it is a tale that's been told before, notably by Milton in Paradise Lost ("It is better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven"), but Rice comes up with a few wrinkles even Milton never thought of. This is not your average chapter of the Vampire chronicles (thank goodness)...which brings me back around to my original question. If Rice had written a more typical Lestat adventure, I'd be willing to bet that the reviews on this page would be even more scathing: "We've read this before! How about something new? It's the same thing over and over again!" etc. It's easy -- far too easy -- to tell the same story over and over again, as witness the novels of Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, and (God save us and preserve us) Barbara Cartland. Rice could make a comfortable living doing that -- but instead she comes at us (or at the very least tries to) with a different perspective nearly every time, with a different story to tell. This is how writers become better at the craft: they try new things, explore new ideas, stake out new territory in their lives and minds. This, by the way, is also how people expand their horizons, by leaving behind the old and familiar for the new and uncharted. I'm proud to say my horizons were expanded by Anne Rice's bold, daring departure from her usual fare, and hope for more of the same in the future.
P.S.: You want to read a really boring novel? Try something by Sheldon & co. I guarantee a fast cure for insomnia. Remain In Light -- Phrodoe.
im eager to hear what you think of this.
If those reviewers were looking for a straight up vampire novel, then yes, they were most likely disappointed then for that aspect. If the highly religious read this book and are the type that can’t separate their personal beliefs from reading a work of fiction, then yes, they were also probably highly offended by this book and would in turn not find any kind of enjoyment out of it either.
MEMNOCH THE DEVIL is a controversial work, without question, as it takes us on an examination of the Christian religion, with Lestat being the central character that is faced with his grandest moment yet of self reflection and questioning of everything he ever thought true in his 200+ years of existence as the Devil himself takes him through the story of God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell and creation.
Do I agree with the views in this book? Do I think this book is a revelation of what is REALLY going on in the spiritual world? The answer to both of those questions would be no. I do however think that Anne Rice wrote an extraordinarily deep work of fiction, so deep that if one finds themselves open-minded enough, it may in fact place some imaginative wonder into your thinking about just how little we really know of the afterlife, creation, how we got here etc; the likes of which you may have never pondered before. And to me, stories like that, are the very best written works you can possibly read!
To those doubting this book….just read it! You may find yourself being very impressed like I was. I enjoyed this book immensely, so much in fact that it may be my favorite one of the series so far!
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