I, Vampire

Գրքի շապիկի երեսը
Random House Publishing Group, 1990 - 360 էջ
10 Գրախոսություններ
From yesterday to a hundred years ago, he lives in the world and walks among us. He enjoys the finest things in life, including beautfiul women, well-aged wine, and the finest classical composers. He has no guilt--he has no need of it. Neither good, nor bad, neither angel nor devil, he is a man, he is a vampire. And this is his story. . . .

"Women are my weakness. Or to be more accurate, I should say they are my greatest weakness, for I have many. Travel. Books. Classical music. Art. Excellent wine. And, formerly, cocaine. I admit these things without a sense of guilt. I am, as my friend from Vienna says, a man with a man's contradictions. I am neither good nor bad, neither angel nor devil. I am a man. I am a vampire."--From I, Vampire
 

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LibraryThing Review

Հաճախորդի կարծիքը  - PatienceFortitude - LibraryThing

Terrible tacky vampire cheese. Dated, circa mid-80s. Overblown and campy. You might not be able to admit to yourself how much you are enjoying it. And wow, is it terrible. In the best possible ways. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

Հաճախորդի կարծիքը  - PatienceFortitude - LibraryThing

Terrible tacky vampire cheese. Dated, circa mid-80s. Overblown and campy. You might not be able to admit to yourself how much you are enjoying it. And wow, is it terrible. In the best possible ways. Read full review

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Հեղինակի մասին (1990)

Chapter 1

PARIS, JUNE 1, 1989--Women are my weakness.

Or to be more accurate, I should say they are my greatest weakness, for I have many. Travel. Books. Classical music. Art. Excellent wine. And, formerly, cocaine. I admit these things without a sense of guilt. I am, as my friend from Vienna says, a man with a man''s contradictions--"ein Mensch mit seinem Widerspruch."

I am neither good nor bad, neither angel nor devil.

I am a man. I am a vampire.

I have found the perfect place to spend this warm spring evening.

I am in Paris, the City of Light, sitting alone in an outdoor café with nothing much to do until the Wagner Festival begins in Bayreuth. At the festival I finally will be reunited with Tatiana, and Mozart will introduce me to the Illuminati, who comprise the innermost circle of the secret race to which I now belong.

Paris is as beautiful as people say, yet there is one thing about it that repulses me: It is a city of ghosts. I am unaccustomed to the heavy atmosphere of history that surrounds me here. Everywhere I walk, echoes of the past come back to me with the sound of my footsteps.

Tonight I wandered through the Tuileries gardens, then down the Rue de Rivoli past the Hotel Crillon, where Benjamin Franklin had rooms, to the seventy-five-foot-tall Egyptian obelisk in the center of the Place de la Concorde. The pink granite stiletto is covered with hieroglyphics written 3,300 years ago. I did not understand the literal message inscribed in the falcons and jackals and other carved images, but the secondary message--the one yearning for life beyond the few years allotted mortal flesh--cried out to me in the night. The obelisk seems as at home in Paris as it must have been amid the ruins at Luxor.

I walked on to the far end of the Champs-Elysées to visit Napoleon''s Arc de Triomphe, which is crumbling and draped with netting to catch bits and pieces when they fall.

Such folly. Men contrive these artifices to cheat mortality, but no monument is permanent enough to stop time from washing away all traces of its builder''s existence. Time is a scouring river that transforms the past into a smooth, featureless landscape where only a slight rise on the horizon betrays the place an indomitable mountain range once stood, until eventually even that disappears.

The gardens and palaces and fountains remain in this historical city, but the people who built them have long departed, their bones turned to dust, their public works left behind to delay a little longer the anonymity of the grave. These monuments to men''s egos were made of mortar and stone and timber, but their builders were made of flesh and blood and bone. Flesh and blood and bone cannot resist time''s ravages.

Except in the vampire.

Paris, June 2, 1989--I have never understood what motivates people to keep diaries, and I am not exactly sure why I have started this one. I suppose it is a way for me to work through questions that have troubled me ever since I fell in love with Tatiana on a night just like this one almost exactly one year ago.

What is a vampire? I have spent the past twelve months studying this question from the inside out, but still I do not know the answer. I can make a list of the vampire''s primary characteristics--superhuman strength, fierce intelligence, great stealth, aversion to sunlight, the terrible need to consume fresh human blood. Yet to say that''s what a vampire is would be like saying Paris is streets and buildings and a river.

I am not interested in a description of the vampire species, which I know well enough, but rather in its nature. What is a vampire? And why?

More than a man, less than a god. Possessed with a great sensitivity for beauty, driven by a compulsion to feast on blood sucked from living mortals. An artist dedicated to creating, a parasite ever watchful for the next victim.

How do such opposing elements coexist within a single being? Perhaps they do not coexist. Perhaps the vampire is more good than evil--or more evil than good, since some members of my race are extremely evil.

Until I met Tatiana, I never felt the need to ask myself whether I was good or evil. Now I wonder about it constantly. A few nights ago, as I lowered my lips to the neck of the woman I had just made love to--opening my mouth wide to make room for the blood teeth slipping down from their cavities in my upper gums--a section of William Blake''s verse ran at random through my mind.

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water''d heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
What do good and evil mean to an ordinary mortal?
To the vampire, whose life is anything but ordinary, they mean everything.

Paris, June 3, 1989--I find French women to be feminine in some mysterious way American women are not. Maybe it is that they seem more at home in their bodies, floating past my table with grace and lanky elegance, distracting my attention as I sit, gold-and-onyx fountain pen in my right hand, writing in this journal.

A moment ago a young woman on the arm of her escort smiled at me and lifted an eyebrow, as if daring me to follow. She parted her full lips, so that I could just see the tip of her tongue, and raised her chin. A magnificent neck. The skin, smooth and pure as alabaster, throbbed with a strong pulse above her jugular vein.

I felt a pang of desire and, beneath it, a more powerful Hunger.

I restrained myself with effort.

If this journal is to serve as the chronicle of my journey into the world of the vampire, I should begin at the beginning and relate how I have come to be what I am.

The words at the beginning of my first entry--"Women are my weakness"--is the place to start. When I say that women are my weakness, I do not mean to imply that I blame them for anything that has befallen me, but rather to explain my principal shortcoming. If women have exercised an undue influence over my life as a mortal and as a vampire--one can argue that they have--it is only because I have allowed it to be so. Women always have been the guiding force in my life, and while they have led me to the edge of oblivion on several occasions, I can blame only myself for letting my heart rule my mind.

What is it about the woman at the next table that keeps distracting my attention? Is it the smell of her perfume, the rustle of silk against bare skin when she raises her arm or the sight of the curve of her breasts, so perfectly drawn?

Or is it the steamy aroma of the blood flowing through her veins?

She glances in my direction, then looks away, smiling to herself and shaking her head, so that her thick black hair whips against her cheek.

I wonder whether she is French. Her skin is olive-colored. Perhaps she is from Greece or Italy. Yes, that is probably it. One of the Mediterranean countries, where the sun is fierce and passions run hot.

What am I doing to myself? I do not need blood tonight!

I must force myself to ignore her.

My earliest memory is of a woman. I can close my eyes and recall with great clarity sitting on my mother''s lap in the nursery, twisting a lock of her hair around and around my tiny finger, the repetitive motion soothing me into a state of bliss.

Recalling such innocent pleasures can be painful to someone who also knows how it feels to stalk a woman through the streets during the night''s darkest hour, ravenous for blood. There is a dark side to vampirey. I know because I''ve lived it.

Fortunately I''ve been strong enough to resist my worst impulses. Vampires need not kill their victims. With one tragic exception I have not killed mine. I''ve tried to be good, knowing that I must work all the harder at it because of the double threat posed by my unusual urges and the power I have to satisfy them.

Six months ago Tatiana sent her friend Mozart to advise me. I had been right to guard against misusing my mental and physical strength to satisfy my most craven desires, he said. Before he left me alone, promising to meet me here in Paris, he told me that not every vampire possesses the willpower to resist temptation.

I know that, too. Temptation and I have become old acquaintances, and we contend against each other nightly.

It has not been easy.

The woman at the next table finally has succeeded in catching my eye.

She smiled at me openly this time, but I only nodded and returned to writing these words, hearing her sigh softly with disappointment.

She is lonely, I sense, and attracted to me. I can hear her heart beating fast with desire, and I feel desire of my own beginning to burn deep within me.

I can''t. I mustn''t. I won''t.

No, it has not been easy!

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