Lost Souls

Poppy Z. Brite
Lost Souls Cover

MY God, she wrote it when she was nineteen.


Poppy Z. Brite's first novel offers up just over 300 pages of dreamy, blood and sex-filled prose. I was well into it before I noticed that it didn't have much of a plot. There are vampire characters, non-vampire characters, lots of drugs and alcohol, and lots of boy-on-boy sex. (Nothing -- that is one of the character's names -- mentions that he comes from the Goth, punk crowd where bisexuality is in fashion.) But plots involve characters that develop and that you may actually care about. Brite's novel is all atmosphere, brilliantly evoked if maybe just a little long. Her vampire society, as far as I know, is unique in its particulars and she develops it well. You have your party vampires, your sexually irresistible vampires, your lonely, older vampire, and Nothing, the fifteen-year-old who is just learning what he is, and who is not put off when he learns that his vampire lover is also his father.

I assume parts are supposed to be either shocking or titillating or both, but I was left pretty much unfazed by the goings on. Brite's novels are directed at a younger crowd who listens to -- or. by now, listened to--Bauhaus and kept their skin pale and their hair black. Or silver. OK, that's not me, but I am intrigued by Brite as a stylist and look forward to her other two novels.