THE WITCHING HOUR REVIEW
Anne Rice has reentered the minds of many with her recent statement about her need to leave the church of her childhood. Without too much focus being put upon this statement, I’ll simply say that I greatly admire her for the honesty and authenticity involved with this statement. Many prolific authors are greatly inhibited by the reality of their fame. They cower from the reality that any comment made by them about religious views will be divisive. As result, their book sales could be negatively impacted by their statement. In Anne Rice’s case, I note that the honesty associated with her causes her to be a greatly admired individual. Therefore, I firmly believer her book sales will be positively affected due to her close adherence to her true feelings about certain issues.
Now her book, “The Witching Hour,” predated her 1998 conversion and was written during her famed atheist years. The book itself contains about 1,000 pages, making this one a prodigious novel of hers. Glancing at it, anyone can see that the book’s size was inspired by her reverence for Charles Dickens works. With opulent environments, eccentric personages, and rich prose, her books certainly are respectful of the unappreciated 19th century form of writing. Nearly every sentence of this novel proves that Anne Rice continues to be a rare talent who has been unfairly scoffed at. Like Charles Dickens or even Thomas Hardy, she’s an unsullied writer who abides by her rules of writing rather than another individual’s restrictions. For these reasons, her novels are purely her product rather than a novel whose various elements were compromised in efforts to please a certain critic.
Throughout reading this novel, the experience itself reflected one of appraising artwork. From the beginning, we are thrust into the enigmatic world of the Mayfair Witches. The omnipresent dark tones of the novel obscure the various pieces of the witch’s history. Similar to Thornfield manor in Jane Eyre, we form the picture of the melancholic mansion in our heads. We initially question the veiled elements of this family’s history or the back story of certain residents of this mansion. Anne Rice tactfully hides these characters and slowly pulls the descriptive curtains of the story away. Slowly, various elements of the story are cast in the light of knowledge. In nearly every gothic novel, the darkness is dimly presented so we are able to explore the unexplored regions of the world. Normally, in reality, we are restricted from these dark regions due to the widely accepted belief that they may taint our spirits. Good Gothic novels, like “The Witching Hour,” allow us to safely explore these elements and begin to see potential paths of redemption for many of these misunderstood characters.
Anne Rice’s infamous flowery prose attests to her appreciation of nineteenth century literature. Her sentences, out of context, are a work of art to behold and attempt to replicate. There’s been instances where I have purposelessly slowed the pace of my reading to admire the beauty of her sentences. One of her greatest skills lies with her ability to instantaneously transport the reader to the world of her narrative. The world itself is beatific and full of richly detailed objects. Sometimes, I desperately want to remain camped in one of her environments without proceeding to the story’s narrative because they’re so intoxicating.
Thematically, the story truly reveals the author’s ever-present faith in God or the fervent need to understand God. Nearly all her characters reflect those individuals who live in a realm separated from God. While they do practice their family’s Catholic faith, many of the individuals are mentally apathetic to God. They haven’t had any real experience with something metaphysical that would prove God’s existent. Therefore, they have remained in their insular world of riches and have made the progression of their family’s line their top priority. Their dynasty in some sense has been shaped into their replacement religion. While the Catholic religion they allege to follow acts as a decoy that dissuades people from delving into their true history.
Anne Rice unknowingly has perfectly fabricated a earthbound hell dimension. The Mayfair witch manor works as an inescapable purgatory that worships self progression over the selfless discovery towards God. Michael Curry penetrates this world and encourages the uninvolved Rowan to participate with him. Some unknowable force actually thrusts Michael into this entire conflict. God never represents himself in this novel but he works inexplicably in the hearts of Michael and Rowan. He aids them in a treacherous battle against an maleficent spirit and the godless world of the Mayfair’s. In the remainder, one can only deduce that this battle will begin to manifest while the story develops the many supporting details that enrich the experience.
In conclusion, I’ll admit that I greatly misunderstand the belief that Anne Rice happens to be a heretical writer. How could I defend that erroneous statement when nearly every novel read by her has revealed the opposite? Anne Rice has always unconsciously written spiritual novels that reveal the inherent need for substantial meaning in our lives. Without that persistent belief in something that supersedes us and can ultimately fulfill us, we become disconsolate much like the Mayfair Witches. Furthermore, we begin seeking out other means to satiate that void. In this book, the witches depend upon shaping a cult and the vampires do so by living immortally by the aid of drinking blood. Both series are integral pieces to fully understanding the complicated nature of Anne Rice’s beliefs.