This week I’m reading Rebecca, the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier, in which a very young (and apparently nameless) narrator is swept off her feet by the dashing Maxim de Winter, quickly marries him, and goes off to live with him in his vast estate, Manderley, where it seems that―much like in the American South―the past is never really dead, and isn’t even past.
I’ve at last gotten around to Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend , which has been on my “to read” list for years. I’m liking it so far, but what’s most interesting to me is that (minor spoiler alert), in Long Before Dawn, I took the same approach to crosses and other holy symbols that Matheson did–i.e., a holy symbol only works on a vampire who practiced the represented religion when alive. As the main character in I Am Legend, Robert Neville, says: “… neither a Jew nor a Hindu nor a Mohammedan nor an atheist, for that matter, would fear the cross.” He later goes on to explain that because the classic vampire legend arose in heavily Christian Europe, the cross became identified–wrongly–as the universal anti-vampire ward, which is exactly what I was thinking when I wrote Long Before Dawn.
Other than this little tidbit, of course, the two books are completely different. Matheson takes a rigorous, scientific, naturalistic approach to his vampires, whereas mine are supernatural beasties who can fly around and turn into mist. Still, I find myself pleased to find that my vampire book has something in common with one of the undisputed classics of the genre.
Now if I can just interest Will Smith in starring in an adaptation of Long Before Dawn, that would be another similarity, and one I could definitely live with …