The Delicate Dependency


This is the 3rd of 12 books in this reading challenge; “a book you have already read at least once.”  I have a great deal of affection for The Delicate Dependency by Michael Talbot, as it was a book lost & found.  My copy is an original 1982 edition, first discovered in a second hand book stall around 1990.

In an act of full disclosure I guess I was fairly goth at the time, devouring Anne Rice books, but there was no glut of vampire fiction as we have now.  It was 2 years prior to Coppola’s Dracula and Whedon’s Buffy and 4 before Interview with a Vampire  – although as a plus we didn’t have the abomination of Twilight either.

Despite it being a book loved and read repeatedly I lost it at some point, I was devastated as it was only then when trying to replace it I discovered how rare it was. However – and this is the thing that still amazes me – around 1995 my then boyfriend came home triumphantly with a copy (reader, I married him – but not for that reason.)  I have never seen another copy, it was – until it’s reprint in 2014 – an incredibly rare book, and I am convinced that the copy I own now is the one previously lost.

After the first reading, the book has been kept carefully on the shelf, I guess there’s nothing like losing something to make you appreciate it when you get it back, so this has been the first re-read in about 20 years. I did pick it up with some trepidation as I was worried that time would have changed my opinion of it.

Michael Talbot sits his characters in the Victorian age beautifully. He uses traditional vampire lore and themes which now seem standard, but weren’t in the 80s. There is no graphic horror so common to the time, the book builds slowly and has an very clever ending – no spoilers here!

Sadly Talbot died aged 38 of leukemia, but left us with two more horror stories – The Bog (1986) and Night Things (1988) – which I hope will be easier to find.  I have also discovered that he was better known for his books on mysticism and the paranormal, the most famous being The Holographic Universe (1991), examining unsurprisingly the theory that the entire universe is a hologram.

The Delicate Dependency has been described as one of the greatest vampire novels, and I have to admit that the both the 20-something & 40-something me would agree, albeit for different reasons. I do know I won’t go another 20 years without reading it, and NO you can’t borrow it.


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