Anne Rice, best know for novels such as Interview With A Vampire, hasn’t published a new book since 2003 and she’s finally ready to unleash her next creation on the world. Alas it may come as a bit of a surprise for fans…
“For the last six months,” she says, “people have been sending e-mails saying, ‘What are you doing next?’ And I’ve told them, ‘You may not want what I’m doing next’.”
Seems Anne has found some of that Old Fashioned Religion™ and will only be writing for the Lord from now on with the release of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. It’s a novel about and narrated by a 7-year-old Jesus Christ.
She can cite scholarly authority for giving her Christ a birth date of 11 B.C., and for making James, his disciple, the son of Joseph by a previous marriage. But she’s also taken liberties where they don’t explicitly conflict with Scripture. No one reports that the young Jesus studied with the historian Philo of Alexandria, as the novel has it—or that Jesus’ family was in Alexandria at all. And she’s used legends of the boy Messiah’s miracles from the noncanonical Apocrypha: bringing clay birds to life, striking a bully dead and resurrecting him.
Rice’s most daring move, though, is to try to get inside the head of a 7-year-old kid who’s intermittently aware that he’s also God Almighty. “There were times when I thought I couldn’t do it,” she admits.
In the interest of fairness I have to admit that I’ve never cared for Anne Rice’s previous novels so I probably won’t be lining up for her Christian fiction, but other than that I don’t have a problem with this decision of hers. It’s not like she doesn’t already have more than enough money from 25 previous novels that she can’t afford to do whatever the hell she wants and I already consider Jesus Christ to be a fictional character anyways.
I’ll probably find it interesting to see how the public reacts to her novels, though, as it goes without saying that whenever Jesus ends up in fiction there’s usually someone somewhere that’s going to get pissed off with how he’s portrayed. Then at the other end of the scale will be the folks who will latch onto Rice’s novels as somehow being divinely inspired and thusly accurate portrayals rather than the works of fiction that the author intends them to be. This has the potential to be very amusing to watch unfold.