Suzy McKee Charnas,
The Vampire Tapestry
(Orb, 2008)

The Vampire Tapestry was first published in 1980 and now, nearly 30 years later, it is being re-released. I am very glad that it has been.

The central character to the book is Dr. Edward Weyland, an anthropology professor and vampire. But gone are many of the trademarks one has come to expect from vampire fiction; there are no fangs, for instance, and no magic, either. Weyland's is a very unique biology in many ways, for all that he looks very human.

His story, or this portion of his story, unfolds in five parts, each being told from a different perspective. Each part leads into the next and refers back to previous events. These links are part of what makes the book what it is, and one could just as easily say it is five linked stories or one story. It all depends on how much weight one puts on the changes in point of view, which is held constant within each part. In the end what you get is the fictional biography of Dr. Edward Weyland.

The core of Weyland's character remains the same throughout the sections, with different aspects coming to the fore based on his situation in each section. This forms the other linkage that runs through the stories. It is the strengths and weaknesses of him and the others whose paths cross his that engage the reader. It is also in these moments that the contrasts between him and the others he meets come to light.

Not all of the questions are wrapped up by the ending of the story; there are loose ends left standing. While they are not answered, the reason why they are not answered is also given from Dr. Weyland's point of view.

Weyland is not your typical vampire in some ways, but for all of that he is unmistakably a vampire. The portion of his life explored in The Vampire Tapestry is well told, and for the moment he sits as my favourite vampire.

review by
Paul de Bruijn

30 May 2009

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