While I would be a fan of vampire novels when they’re done well (Salem’s Lot and Interview with a Vampire being two examples) I’m not a fan of the latest glut of vampire novels to emerge in recent years. It seems to me the whole essence of the vampire archetype has been watered-down to make it palatable for a younger audience. So, I approached this novella with some slight trepidation. I needn’t have worried.
From the opening paragraph, when Michael – our eponymous vampire – says,
“The very pretty ones I kept for a while, until their nagging grew tiresome. I kept them caged up beneath the floor.”
it’s clear we’re not in “Twilight” territory. In fact, it should be said from the outset that An Endless Hunger is a dark and quite graphic novella. I, for one, find this welcoming. In the days of “sparkly” vampires, it’s nice to see a vampire doing what he’s supposed to do.
An Endless Hunger is a different kind of vampire story. In many ways, it‘s an existential novel. This vampire questions his very existence in ways that would have made Sartre proud.
“I learned nothing. Nothing that could quench my pain. Nothing that could reverse my spiritual decay. Nothing was, is, will be all there is.
It’s also, in many ways, a “mash-up” of a vampire novel and a serial killer novel. Not only does he prey on victims, he kidnaps them and ties them up in his cellar.
The book is not a straightforward narrative as such. It’s more a “Portrait of a Vampire”. Navarre shows us what the life of an immortal would really be like, the pain of living for thousands of years. It reminded me a little of the character, Hob Gadling, in The Sandman graphic novel series, who longs for – and is granted – immortality by Morpheus, the King of Dreams. However, he later comes to regret this after having watched everyone he ever loved or cared for die. The main character in this novella – although amoral – has at least one person he once loved: the mysterious Juliet who is only ever alluded to.
It is also a very erotic book. Not explicitly so, but implicitly. There is a strong undercurrent of sexuality and sensuality, as well as the threat of violence, all things which, once again, are sadly lacking from most modern vampire tales. This is no anodyne teenage world – this is vampires as they were meant to be written – cursed, amoral, and dangerous. Lord Byron as Lord Dracula, if you will.
If I had one minor quibble about the book, it would be that I would have liked to have seen more dialogue. While I enjoyed the narrative sections (and they didn’t drag as they do in some books) I’m a dialogue junkie and I would have enjoyed seeing the main character converse more with the other characters, both in the present and in his past.
However, as I said, that’s a minor quibble and overall I enjoyed this refreshing and existential take on the vampire myth.
The author: Narcisse Navarre
You can view a video trailer for “An Endless Hunger” at: http://youtu.be/nQ7FSsfsdwA
Book Available at:
AMAZON (Paperback and Ebook): http://www.amazon.com/An-Endless-Hunger-ebook/dp/B007U0ZUKS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&tag=digitalalchem-20
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13604569-an-endless-hunger
Official page on Khajj.com: http://www.khajj.com/an-endless-hunger/