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The Vampire Tapestry

Novel by Suzy McKee Charnas 1980.

Surprisingly poor for such an influential book, this has little to recommend it to a reader who can turn instead to Nancy Collins, Anne Rice or Laurell Hamilton. It is split into five linked novellas easily described as follows: vampire is discovered, vampire is imprisoned, vampire in therapy, vampire goes to the opera and vampire goes to sleep. Each has no obvious connection except our hero himself, the vampire Dr Weyland, and no other character appears in more than one part. The real link is Weyland's gradual discovery of the humanity within himself, a creature he previously thought to be above mankind in every way. He is a handsome and respected college professor who gets his blood from volunteers at the sleep project which he runs. But his next projected victim, a 50-year old Boer widow named Katje de Voort, knows exactly what he is and she shoots him twice in the chest. The rest of the book traces his exploits and misadventures following his quick getaway.

Warning: this book is very American, especially in the therapy section (an American national pastime) and with the recurrent metaphor of 'vampire as minority' in every sense of the word - The Vampire Tapestry is filled with references to the alienation/suppression of blacks, women, homosexuals and even animals. It's not surprising that Charnas writes feminist fiction as well. With parts clumsy, preposterous and pointless in turn, its few redeeming features are a fresh approach (the cyclic nature of vampirism) and some passages of glorious emotion. The author's dashing vampire adored by women everywhere even turns out to be more of a helpless-nice-guy-hero-type. Recommended to vampire addicts or undiscerning American readers only.


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