Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice

16 06 2013

memnoch the devil

Last night when my husband blogged he sought to answer the following question:

“If you could recommend one book that everyone SHOULD read, what would it be?”

I had typed my answer before I even realised I had hit select on his comments section.

I enjoy reading and could easily list a dozen books that I would recommend, but in my teens a good friend got me started on the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and my favourite book in the series was Memnock the Devil. I would definitely describe it as a must read.

Published in 1995, Memnock the Devil is the fifth book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles Series. In it Rice continues to explore the theme of redemption through the epic journey of the Vampire Lestat. The book is heavily dialogue driven and tackles spirituality and theological debate.

The Vampire Lestat meets the devil who reveals the mystery of creation and takes him on a journey into heaven and hell even bringing him into the presence of the Lord God Almighty himself. It is imaginative and compelling, making the controversial choice of casting God as the villain and the Devil as the saviour of humanity.

Memnock reveals the events that lead to his fall from grace and the origins of the never-ending battle between heaven and hell. It is clear from her descriptions that Rice herself does not believe in heaven but her descriptions of hell are grotesque and gripping. Rice manages to secure sympathy for the devil throughout the book before turning every argument and preconception on its head in the last few pages leaving readers with a satisfying sense of ambiguity about all they have read.

Irrespective of your personal views on religion, Memnock the Devil raises intriguing questions and it is not difficult to identify the influence of Rice’s own inner conflict and crisis of faith before she converted back to Catholicism.

This book is part of a series so my personal investment in the characters and their overarching story secured my engagement, however it could easily be read as a stand alone novel.

I loved this book and often find myself recommending it to friends for it’s thought-provoking and intelligent dialogue on the topics of religion, faith and ultimately redemption.

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