The Vampire Tapestry

by Suzy McKee Charnas | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 0704342839 Global Overview for this book
Registered by kittiwake on 1/17/2015
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Journal Entry 1 by kittiwake on Saturday, January 17, 2015
Amazon description:

Hailed by Stephen King as “scary and suspenseful” and “unputdownable,” and by Peter Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, as “The best vampire novel I have ever read,” The Vampire Tapestry examines the classic monster as a biological, rather than supernatural, predator who awakens from hibernation every few decades needing to relearn human culture.

After years of secret effort, the self-styled Edward Weyland has become a respected anthropology professor and director of a sleep research lab. With reliable access to unsuspecting blood donors, he grows complacent and makes a near-fatal error. First critically wounded by a strong and canny woman, then imprisoned and humiliated by a power-mad Satanist, he is forced on a journey toward an empathy with his prey that threatens the foundations of his survival.

Journal Entry 2 by kittiwake at Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 2, 2015
This book is made up of five linked novellas. My favourite is probably Unicorn Tapestry, which won a Nebula prize, but the most powerful by far is A Musical Interlude. There is no fear of garlic or sleeping in coffins, just an aging vampire who can't remember how old he is and has never met another of his kind in all his long life.

The Ancient Mind at Work

Weyland himself wasn't present. Of course not, Weyland was a disdainful, snobbish son-of-a-bitch; Weyland was an introverted scholar absorbed in great work; Weyland had a secret sorrow too painful to share; Weyland was a charlatan; Weyland was a genius working himself to death to keep alive the Cayslin Center for the Study of Man.

Dr. Edward Weyland is a respected scientist and academic who runs a sleep clinic at a college in New York State. As he is also a vampire, the volunteers at the sleep clinic provide him with easy access to human blood, so life is good until he arouses the suspicions of a South African woman who works as the housekeeper of the faculty club. A hunter since childhood, she recognises him as a dangerous predator and they become involved in a game of cat and mouse as each tries to outmanoeuvre the other.

The Land of Lost Content

"How'd you get shot? he asked.
"You know my name. Do a minimum of research: look in the newspapers."
"I did. All anybody says is that you disappeared." Mark added aggressively, "I bet you did something dumb and somebody guessed about you and tried to kill you."
The vampire studied him for a moment. "You would win your bet, he said, and he set the mug on the floor and lay back down.

Fleeing Cayslin college after being shot by Katje de Groot, it is out of the frying pan and into the fire for Weyland when he is held captive in a New York City apartment and put on display for eager occultists to gawp at as he recuperates.

Unicorn Tapestry

"What is it that makes you afraid—that you can't render me harmless to you? What a curious concern you show suddenly for your own life and the lives of those around you! You are the one who led me to take chances in our work together—to explore the frightful risks of self-revelation. Didn't you see in the air between us the brilliant shimmer of those hazards? I thought your business was not smoothing the world over but adventuring into it, discovering its true nature, and closing valiantly with everything jagged, cruel, and deadly."

After his escape, Weyland's employers at Cayslin College insist that he undergoes therapy to cure him of his 'delusion' about being a vampire before they will let him return to work. I liked they way that Floria is thrilled at first to have such an unusual case handed to her, but gradually becomes perturbed, scared and terrified as she begins to believe that he is telling the truth and realises that both she and an annoying and inquisitive ex-client may both be in danger.

A Musical Interlude

The opera had broken his moorings to the present and launched him into something akin to madness. Human music, human drama, vibrant human voices passionately raised, had impelled him to fly from among his despised victims as they sat listening. He feared and resented that these kine on whom he fed could stir him so deeply, all unaware of what they did; that their art could strike depths in him untouched in them.

This is the episode that I remembered best from when I first read this book in the late 1990s. It's not my favourite, but it is by far the most powerful and tense. Weyland has just started his new job at college in New Mexico and is invited to attend a performance of Tosca at an opera house out in the desert. The suspense comes from Weyland's loss of control due to the intensity of the music and his identification with Scarpia, the villain of the piece, and this is the one story in which we learn something concrete about of Weyland's former lives. Tosca is set during the Napoleonic Wars and Weyland remembers following Napoleon's army and feeding from dying men on battlefields, and also coming face to face with torturers like Scarpia.

The Last of Dr. Weyland

She stared at him with a sort of dazzled bewilderment. "Sometimes you are positively inhuman, you know that?"
He held the door for her. "A useful reputation to have," he said, "however undeserved."

Although Albuquerque isn't a great place for hunting as it isn't large enough city for a vampire to hide among anonymous crowds, Weyland has settled into his new job well and made an effort to fit in with his colleagues. But an old adversary and Weyland's lack of empathy for a colleague in trouble threaten to unmask him, so he realises that he will have to leave his life as Edward Weyland behind.

Released 8 yrs ago (9/19/2015 UTC) at Contemporary Art Gallery 🖼 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom


At today's meet-up in the cafe.

Journal Entry 4 by kittiwake at Broadway Cinema 🎥 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Saturday, September 19, 2015

Released 8 yrs ago (9/19/2015 UTC) at Broadway Cinema 🎥 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom


On the shelf outside the Mezz Bar.

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