By Anne Rice

Manny is a sensitive man

Fuck Tarquinn “Quinn” Blackwood, the bisexual, ghost fucking,
vampire-tranny-dick-and-blood-sucking, cum gargling, Southern
millionaire and avowed lover of Mona Mayfair, heiress to the Mayfair
fortune. That needs saying, right out the gate. He’s a terrible
narrator, a whiny, petulant, gothic wimp, and the only terror he
inspires is the fear that I might get trapped in a room with him for
five hundred pages and have to listen to him bitch.

In the past the novels of Ann Rice, especially Blood and Gold,
the highly anticipated and hugely disappointing tale of Marius, made me
wonder if her husbands brain cancer was contagious. She was starting to
write worse than her cerebrally challenged, nepotistic son (nothing
could be worse than her husband’s retarded poetry). Long sections of
her work were devoted to overly emotional, drama fag outbursts, or
uninspired, inconsequential dialogue, or lengthy descriptions of the
frilly lace on the cuff of the eighteenth century shirt that some lame
TALENTLESS HACK!!! I screamed after I chucked Blood and Gold across the room, swearing that I would never again read another faggy Ann Rice vampire novel. Then came Blackwood Farm,
with promises of the Mayfair witches from the Witching Hour series, a
series that, regardless of her decline, still holds merit for me. I’d
be remiss if I didn’t admit that I’m overly fond of it, not just for
subject matter, but for style and content as well. It just seems ever
since Violin, Rice has fallen into a dark, inky well, with
slick, slimy walls, and has been slowly and laboriously climbing her
way out with adjectives and her teeth.

I’m not going to lie to you, there is some of this in Blackwood Farm,
all right, quite a bit, but there is a lot worth reading for too. Like
what you ask? How about Lestat’s return and a mention that while he was
catatonic after Memnoch the Devil that angels began to kidnap
him and force him to do their dirty work for them? How about Lestat
telling Quinn he’s a Goth? How about Mona Mayfair and Rowan and Michael
and Oncle Julian the ghost making an appearance? How about sex with
ghosts, gay and straight, and exorcisms and Merrick? How about dead
twin brothers and junkie mothers with AIDS and murder in the Louisiana
swamps and trailer trash redemption songs? How about violent spirits
seeking revenge and unprecedented wealth and dirty family secrets being
exposed and sex with hot red heads? No? How about some more of the

Rice pretty much panders to every market she’s discovered
reads her so I guess those book signings have paid off well. The novel
leaps out the gate, knocking your breath out, then lurches around
showing off it’s magnificence and arrogantly demanding your awe, then
falls off into a timid, exacerbated crawl of pointless, trite, gay
dialogue as the steam of it’s many plaguerized plots dries out, only to
steadily accelerate again into a resounding, sonorous crescendo that,
while artless, is nonetheless oddly hope inspiring. You read that
right, baby. Essentially she sounds like Ann Rice knocking off classic
Ann Rice, like watered down sloe gin over melting ice milk, like a
warm, comfortable, well-loved shoe with a huge hole in the bottom
stepping into a cold puddle. If you’ve got fuzzy socks on for this
read, you won’t mind so much.

Although some of the characters were under developed and much
of the dialogue was insidiously childish and two dimensional and the
story was uneven and the plot had gaping holes in it’s map and the
writing lacked wit, timbre, intellect, and sophistication, I still
found myself drawn to finish this story. My socks weren’t made by NASA,
but they were heavily insulated.

Deep in the same bayou described by Harry Crews or better still Poppy Z. Brite from her marvelous Exquisite Corpse,
near the Sugar Devil Swamp, lies Blackwood Manor, built by a decadent,
distant relative, and home, for the course of the narration, to the
tale’s effeminate narrator, the aforementioned, and slighted, Tarquin
Blackwood. Quinn, as he prefers to be called, is haunted by a spirit
named Goblin, a spirit doppelganger, that cannot be seen by his other
relatives, but fuels much of the teen angst for the decadent Blackwood
heir. With an inordinate fortune awaiting him, Quinn, or “Little Lord
Fontleroy” as his bitchy, junkie, HIV infected, wannabe country music
star mother calls him, enjoys a wealth of decadent fantasies, from
culinary delights prepared by in house Creole slaves, to the slave
workers themselves, sampling his childhood mulatto nanny. After Rice
has her narrator betray every sense of moral decency she can feebly
conjure, Quinn becomes embroiled with his unconvincingly
precocious15-year-old nymphomaniac cousin Mona Mayfair, from the
Mayfair coven of witches detailed in the Witching Hour series.
But once Quinn is made into a Blood Hunter by Petronia, a cruel and
unmerciful, hermaphroditic vampire who inhabits a retreat created
within treacherous family swampland, he loses all control over his
jealous Goblin who truculently insists on stealing freshly feed blood
from him. Goblin is addicted to fusing with the spirit inside the
vampire blood and Quinn risks his life to contact Lestat and enlist his
help in destroying Goblin once and for all. In between all of this are
lengthy family battles, ridiculous contemporary references, blush
inducing sex scenes with the living and the dead, and page upon page of
thinly constructed ancillary plot lines that ultimately do more to
distract the reader and frustrate them than to illucidate the
characters. One has to wonder where are Rice’s editors and what do they
use the galleys for?

The sections with Mona Mayfair really got me going and became
the highlights of the novel for me mostly because I want to fuck her so
bad I can taste her in my mouth. I love red heads and I love witches
and I’ve always found Rice’s portrayal of them to be highly accurate to
what real “witchline” generational families are like. She does not
disappoint on this front, even if it is highly implausible that Tarquin
and Mona, respectively eighteen and fifteen, would have lengthy
discourses on Trappist Monks and fifth century philosophy with each of
them immediately and unquestioningly understanding the other’s obscure

Likewise Lestat’s return as an active character was a welcome
addition to this novel, despite the fact that Rice’s characterization
portrayed him to be more whimsical and limpwristed than a Liza Minnelli
impersonator at a Barbara Striessand concert. Rice’s little dirty trick
of dropping the hint of a new Lestat novel worked well enough for me
and so I’m condemned to wallowing through another tome of vampiric
self-loathing and sexual ambivalence to see if it’s true.

Here’s the bottom line; Ann Rice fans are a bunch of delusion
idiots, just like Star Trek convention fans, and if you’re one of them,
you’ve probably read this thing a dozen times by now and even though
you’re cussing me out right now for sacrilege, deep in the back of your
mind you know that everything I’m saying is true. If you’re not a Rice
fan, don’t start here. Go to the Witching Hour. How many times
do I have to tell you that? If this is Ann Rice reading this, you need
a new editor, and maybe a good writing workshop course. You can
workshop anonymously online at Zoetrope
and that might be a big help. You also need to avoid ripping off other
people’s ideas and stop pandering to what you think your readers want
to hear. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this later, once you’ve
rewritten that horrible next novel into a brilliant return piece.
Listen, take it from a nobody that lives in the basement of his mom’s
house in the petroleum and refined chemicals state, you’re no
Palahniuk, DeLillo, Coupland, Pynchon, Easton Ellis, or Bukowski and
you never will be, but with enough polish, you might just put a twinkle
in our eyes, and that’s worth more than seeing your name on the New
York Time’s Best Sellers List any day. Capice?

About The Worst Teacher in Seattle