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Christopher Rice

  Christopher Rice was born in Berkeley, California in 1978 to the best-selling novelist Anne Rice and the poet and painter Stan Rice. He moved to New Orleans with his parents at the age of ten. Upon graduating from high school, he attended Brown University for a year before transferring to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts to study dramatic writing. In keeping with his tradition of withdrawing from fine institutions of higher learning, he left New York after a semester to spend a year living as a struggling screenwriter in Los Angeles. He was called back home when his mother was hospitalized after going into an unexpected diabetic coma. During her recovery, Christopher began work on a short story about four kids growing up together in the New Orleans Garden District. By the time his mother had recuperated, the short story had turned into the novel, A Density of Souls. He has returned to New Orleans and is now hard at work on his second novel.

 


  A Density of Souls Take the sensuous, fecund New Orleans setting, add a generous helping of tangled Southern family history, and season liberally with a sensitive teenage boy rejected by his friends and frightened of his own homoerotic impulses and you wouldn't be surprised to discover that the novel containing all of the above was written by someone named Rice. But a few paragraphs into the first page, it's clear that Anne Rice's son's first novel isn't about vampires or witches and does not otherwise read like one of her exceedingly popular books. The only family resemblance is in the setting, the sexual orientation of the lovingly described male characters, and the scent of overripe magnolias.

There's murder, suicide, and madness at the heart of this rather clumsy coming-of-age story, which focuses on the youthful friendship of Stephen Conlin, Meredith Ducote, Greg Darby, and Brandon Charbonnet. This friendship is destroyed by a sexual incident that takes place just before the foursome enters Cannon, an exclusive prep school. There, Stephen is ostracized by his former friends, now the most popular kids on campus, who'd just as soon forget their own complicity in the event. Envy, passion, and rage drive the narrative, but the emotions are as juvenile as the characters, and the long passages depicting the rituals and cruelties of high school, from pep rallies to football games, slow down the pace without really illuminating character or motivation. The novel reads like a roman à clef. Rice might have been wiser to tell someone else's story rather than his own. --Jane Adams

[Read an excerpt]


More Books by Christopher Rice

articles and reviews
from THE BOSTON HERALD - July 30, 2000

 

Debut spins tangled web
by Elizabeth Seaport

Ever since Tennessee Williams and Walker Percy, it has been an axiom of Southern fiction that New Orleans families are, by definition, dysfunctional. Christopher Rice's ambitious debut novel, ``A Density of Souls,'' holds true to this tradition.

Adultery, alcoholism, bulimia, date rape, domestic abuse, gay bashing, ghostly apparitions, homosexual incest, madness, medical malpractice, murder, sodomy, suicide, terrorism, torture and zealotry are woven together in a tangle of plots as dense as the bougainvillea that twines around the columns of the Garden District mansions in which much of the novel takes place... [more]


from THE ADVOCATE - August 29, 2000

Chip off the old blockbuster
Christopher Rice talks about writing his first book, lusting after jocks in high school, and coming out to his mom, famed vampire novelist Anne Rice
By David Bahr

If Christopher Rice were a vampire, he would be downright dangerous. At 6 feet 3 inches, he towers when standing, his boyish lankiness diffusing any menace his height may suggest. When he’s sitting, curled up on the couch of his parents’ Manhattan pied-à-terre, he speaks softly and intelligently and answers all questions with the frankness of an unguarded child. Indeed, he seems so sincere and guileless he could make any unsuspecting bloke fall under his sweet spell... [more]

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