Book Reviews
Memnoch the Devil: Anne Rice
16th Mar 2010Posted in: Book Reviews Comments Off on Memnoch the Devil: Anne Rice
Memnoch the Devil: Anne Rice

The last in the series of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, but the first I’ve read. An extraordinarily ambitious novel in which the author attempts to describe and explain not only Creation but Heaven and Hell; Memnoch < The Devil > is told in the words of the Vampire Lestat, a brilliant device in itself. The novel begins with Lestat stalking a prospective victim and becoming aware that he himself is being stalked. This first section features some characters from the previous books in the series and unfolds fairly slowly; the author drops in many references to past events – perhaps too many – I wondered at one point if she was trying to hook new readers into buying previous books.

The Victim and his daughter, Dora, a televangelist, are both wonderfully over-the-top and well imagined, and Lestat himself manages to be engaging in spite of the horror of his acts. But it’s the wondrously imagined and worked out central section of the book – Lestat’s guided tour of Heaven and Hell by Memnoch (and a contemporary Divine Comedy) that kept me turning the pages, and I had the feeling that this was the heart of the novel and could almost have stood alone, that the beginning and end of the story were there merely to serve it, and might even have been written quite separately at a later date.

Memnoch himself is wonderfully seductive, far more so than God, but both are ambiguous; this is an incredibly clever novel that actually offers answers to those persistent questions and contradictions about the nature and existence of God himself – no mean feat.

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