Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
And now, time for something completely different after two-plus days of continuous election-related coverage.
This Daily Blog is about writer Anne Rice’s continuing journey back to the Catholic faith she abandoned decades ago before becoming a best-selling horror novelist.
“It’s Halloween, and Anne Rice has a new book — a memoir, in fact — that’s climbing best-seller lists. Everything is normal, then,” Associated Press quipped in an Oct. 31 article about the new book Rice has written.
But the new book isn’t another one of the Southern Gothic vampire novels that made Rice famous. Instead, it’s an autobiographical chronicle of Rice’s recovery of faith, entitled “Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.”
“And in this new 245-page memoir, Rice presents her former life as vampire writer as that of a soul-searching wanderer in the deserts of atheism; as someone akin to her most famous literary creations — Lestat, her ‘dark search engine, Louis the aristocrat-turned-vampire and Egyptian Queen Akasha, ‘the mother of all vampires,’” Associated Press reports.
Said Rice, “I do think that those dark books were always talking about religion in their own way. They were talking about the grief for a lost faith.”
Rice’s memoir is earning mixed reviews — Christopher Buckley called it “a crashing, mind-numbing bore” in The New York Times — as did the two fictional books about the early life of Jesus that she has written since renouncing atheism in 2002 to return to the Catholicism of her New Orleans childhood.
But whatever the literary merits of her writings, pre- and post-reversion, it’s clear Rice has undergone a remarkable reorientation.
“To be able to take the tools, the apprenticeship, whatever I learned from being a vampire writer, or whatever I was — to be able to take those tools now and put them in the service of God is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful opportunity,” Rice told Associated Press. “And I hope I can redeem myself in that way. I hope that the Lord will accept the books I am writing now.”
— Tom McFeely