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Essays & Reviews
  The Vampire Tapestry





The Vampire Tapestry


  “Scary, entertaining, suspenseful . . . unputdownable.”  
  Stephen King  
     
  Walter Kendrick remarked in an article on current vampire literature that The Vampire Tapestry "ranks among the genre's few modern classics."  
  — New York Times  
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A superior, grandly detailed vampire story that takes the torment of its monstrous hero very seriously indeed... Like all the very best monster-fiction writers in the Frankenstein tradition, Charnas uses the inhuman condition to explore the specialness of humankind — and the result is both a gripping psychological portrait and smashingly deft entertainment.
— Kirkus Reviews

...Charnas' view of her protagonist is unswervingly unsentimental, and... her denouement is savage and intense and brilliantly satisfying.
...Charnas' writing is also rich and impressive: she seems equally at home on a college campus, in the office of a professional therapist, in the emotions of a 14-year-old boy, and in the music and story of Tosca. The novel works on many levels — as pure adventure, as social description, as psychological drama, and as a passionate exploration of the web that links instinct, morality, and culture. It is a serious, startling, and revolutionary work, and I recommend it to all comers.
— Washington Post
 
  ...a consensus classic, so recognized when first published in 1980...
Told in five interlocking novellas that form a single chronological narrative, this is the story of a seemingly immortal figure... His academic specialty is dream research, but his true nature compels him to seek intimacy with "colleagues, students, and social companions" who then become his admirers and eventually his victims.
...It's a fascinating conception, handled with masterly skill. Charnas' characters are boldly drawn and memorably complex, her prose is alive with energy and wit, her narrative inventions ingenious and atmospheric. Nothing better has been done in this, er, vein since Bram Stoker's legendary Dracula in 1897. And, as a pure piece of writing, Charnas' deeply intelligent, disturbing novel may actually be the superior book.
  — USA Today






















An Excerpt:
At the end of Weyland's lecture on dreams came questions from the audience. Katje, lulled by the abstract talk, came fully awake when a young woman asked, "Professor, have you considered whether supernatural creatures such as werewolves, vampires, and dragons might not be distortions out of nightmares at all, but real, though rare, prodigies of nature?"

Dr. Weyland hesitated, coughed, sipped water. "The forces of evolution are capable of prodigies, certainly," he said. "You choose an excellent word. But we must understand that we are not speaking — in the case of the vampire, for example — of a blood-sipping phantom who cringes from a clove of garlic. Now, how would nature design a vampire?

"The corporeal vampire, if he existed, would be by definition the greatest of all predators, living as he would off the top of the food chain — Man. Since we posit a natural rather than a supernatural being, he grows older, but very slowly, and withdraws from time to time to let his prey population rest and forget him. But each waking, each new updating of himself is more challenging and demands more imagination, more energy, more cunning, more common sense. While he must adapt sufficiently to disguise his existence, he must avoid, for example, current political ideologies lest some other allegiance interfere with his predatory skills."

Meaning, Katje thought grimly, he can't afford to develop any scruples about drinking our blood. He was pacing the platform now, soundless footfalls and graceful stride proclaiming his true nature. But these people were spellbound, admiring his effortless, disdainful domination of them.

Another teacher, rumored to be known for coming on to female students, commented that a lazy vampire could always take home a pretty young instructor to bring him up to date on social behavior.

Dr. Weyland fixed him with a cold glance. "You are mixing up dinner with sex," he remarked, "and not, I gather, for the first time."

   
Editions:    
An Orb book from Tor/Forge Trade paperback August 2008 ISBN: 0-7653-2082-7  
ElectricStory.com e-version April 2001 ISBN: B00005N5MW  
University of New Mexico Press Paperback September 1993 ISBN: 0945953054  
Simon & Schuster Hardcover July 1980 ISBN: 0671254154