Suzy McKee Charnas
The Vampire Tapestry
Edward Weyland is far from your average vampire: not only is he a respected anthropology professor but his condition is biological — rather than supernatural. He lives discrete lifetimes bounded by decades of hibernation and steals blood from labs rather than committing murder. Weyland is a monster who must form an uneasy empathy with his prey in order to survive, and The Vampire Tapestry is a story wholly unlike any you’ve heard before.
The book starts somewhat slowly; especially since you aren’t introduced to the main character until half way through the first chapter. Truth be told, I wasn’t very interested until chapter 3, but I was reading it for a class so I pushed on. And I’m glad I did.
The “tapestry” part comes from the five chapters, which could be taken individually and read as a short story (in fact chapter 3 was. It was originally published as The Unicorn Tapestry). We met Edward Weyland as a professor doing “sleep studies”, but he’s really feeding off his subjects so he doesn’t have to hunt. He gives a lecture about the real scientific possibility of vampires as a separate species to humans, and it’s fascinating. As each chapter progresses we learn more about his life, and past lives, and how he deals with modern life. Chapter 3 has him going to a psychologist to reinstate his teaching privileges, since he believes he’s a vampire (he is, I promise). He eventually moves to New Mexico to teach, and this is where the pieces set in the previous chapters convalesce. This was the first book I’d read that presented vampires from an evolutionary position, and it didn’t disappoint. Just push through the beginning and you will be rewarded.