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The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas
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The Vampire Tapestry (1980)

by Suzy McKee Charnas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5511818,146 (3.78)54
  1. 10
    Agyar by Steven Brust (Jarandel)
    Jarandel: Both from the perspective of a vampire as a predator in modern times, North America, mingling with more or less the same milieu, romance non-existent or relatively low-key.
  2. 00
    Servant of the Jackal God : The Tales of Kamose, Archpriest of Anubis by Keith Taylor (MyriadBooks)
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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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.
( )
1 vote isabelx | Sep 2, 2015 |
Interesting Mythos Marred By Uneven Writing

The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas is a collection of interrelated short stories featuring an aging vampire working as a Professor and hiding in plain sight as he hunts and feeds. This book was initially published in 1979 and some of it does seems somewhat dated at times.

The mythos created by the author is a very different one from that found in many vampire stories. Full marks for a uniquely dark, cold and detached portrait of a predator.

Story 1 gets off to a slow start. The pace and my interest picked up for Story 2 and 3. The next one dragged a bit, but the final story ended satisfactorily.

The writing seemed is a bit uneven to me, as though a good final editor was lacking. I didn't find The Vampire Tapestry all that riveting or enjoyable to read. ( )
1 vote Zumbanista | Oct 31, 2014 |
Intensely clever and original, this will stand as one of my favorite vampire novels along with Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and Jonathan Nasaw's The World on Blood. Charnas' work has all of the play and suspense you might expect of a novel built around a vampire, but moves forward with more humanity and introspection that you'd usually find, and paces itself with such surprise that it's a wonderfully unique and surprising read.

I'll admit: it starts out slowly, so slowly in fact that I wondered if the full work would end up being dated or so basic a vampire tale that I'd be bored throughout. Still, having read endorsements from Peter S. Beagle and Stephen King, I read the beginning straight through...and suddenly couldn't put the book down. After the first part (which is about fifty pages, of the 286 in my edition), I found that I was totally wrapped up in each page, each successive part moving more quickly than the last. And yet, it kept surprising me nearly until the last.

Simply, I loved it, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a good "vampire read", or just an engaging book that wavers between suspense and horror.

Absolutely recommended. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jan 7, 2014 |
Intensely clever and original, this will stand as one of my favorite vampire novels along with Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and Jonathan Nasaw's The World on Blood. Charnas' work has all of the play and suspense you might expect of a novel built around a vampire, but moves forward with more humanity and introspection that you'd usually find, and paces itself with such surprise that it's a wonderfully unique and surprising read.

I'll admit: it starts out slowly, so slowly in fact that I wondered if the full work would end up being dated or so basic a vampire tale that I'd be bored throughout. Still, having read endorsements from Peter S. Beagle and Stephen King, I read the beginning straight through...and suddenly couldn't put the book down. After the first part (which is about fifty pages, of the 286 in my edition), I found that I was totally wrapped up in each page, each successive part moving more quickly than the last. And yet, it kept surprising me nearly until the last.

Simply, I loved it, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a good "vampire read", or just an engaging book that wavers between suspense and horror.

Absolutely recommended. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jan 7, 2014 |
Our hunt for new series to read is ongoing and often on our blogs, or the podcast we request new titles. We are especially looking for books that are progressive and have good representations of marginalized people. Because all of our blogs are social justice related we have a tendency to trust the recommendations. The following is the recommendation that we received for the Vampire Tapestry

“I also recommend The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas for vampire fiction fans. I read it years ago but it's a very interesting take on the Vampire mythos with just scary good, brilliant writting..”

We need to thank you. Up to this point we were forced to constantly refer to Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series as our example as the most fail possible. It was awkward, because we were constantly referring to a book outside the genre and justifying it based in Harris’ urban fantasy series. But no more, now we have a book that is worse than Teagarden – a book within the genre that sets a new limit for awful. So, thank you.

I’m sorry, this review does descend into a lot of snark - but oh gods this book was PAINFUL. Honestly, we got through this only by emailing each other in snarky glee. This is also why this review is a collaborative effort. I warn for MILD spoilers but not many.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Mar 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
A consensus classic, so recognized when first published in 1980.... It's a fascinating conception, handled with masterly skill. Nothing better has been done in this, er, vein since Bram Stoker's legendary Dracula in 1897. And, as a pure piece of writing, Charnas' deeply intelligent, disturbing novel may actually be the superior book
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Suzy McKee Charnasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kozloff, JoyceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the memory of Loren Eiseley. We never met, but his writing first opened to me the vast perspectives of geologic time. From those distances eventually emerged the figure of the vampire as envisioned in this book.
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On a Tuesday morning Katje discovered that Dr. Weyland was a vampire, like the one in the movie she'd seen last week.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765320827, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:53 -0400)

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