"Lost Souls" by Poppy Z. Brite

Essay by shifnashifyJunior High, 9th gradeA, November 2006

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"Lost Souls" is a dark example of the power of the modern Gothic. At an overview, one would find many similarities to Ann Rice's Vampire Chronicles series. There are vampires, sexual ambiguity, and graphic descriptions of violence, sexual acts, and substance abuse - usually rolled into one shocking scene.

Set in New Orleans, "Lost Souls" follows the lives of the vampire troupe of Zillah, his son Nothing, and human musician Ghost. Zillah and his cohorts are completely dedicated to the pleasures of the flesh; their lives revolve completely around their hedonism. Zillah impregnates a girl at the beginning of the novel, leading to Nothing's birth. Nothing is not quite sure why he does not fit in with the other humans, and his journey is one of self discovery. Ghost is one half of the band 'Lost Souls', and is gifted with the touch of a second sight.

Ghost is truly spiritual, the exact polar opposite of Zillah, who is completely about his own flesh. Nothing is caught in between, by his admiration of Ghost and his familial ties to Zillah. The play on the two forces tugging at Nothing's rapidly eroding soul is brilliantly done by Brite, and serves as the focal point of the novel. Lost Souls is not about stalking victims, or defeating the vampires with stake and holy water, but a tale of love, loss, and choosing what to make of one's self.

The vampires are the key point of the story. The creatures of the night are very different from that of traditional lore. They are a different race, born rather than made. It is impossible to become a vampire by the conventional means. Furthermore, the foodstuff of the vampires is different. There are those that feed...