General Information

Publication Date: 2007. The seventh novel of the Sookie Stackhouse series, the series that inspired the HBO hit series True Blood, starts with the premise of an alternative U.S. reality in which vampires have “come out of the coffin.”

Instructors’ Teaching Experience

The course I am using this in is designed to use literature of the fantastic as a vehicle through which to investigate the way ideologies influence our understandings of the world. I structure the course thematically to include the following topics: war and terrorism; race, gender, and sexuality; civil, human, and animal rights; and morality and religion. Harris’s novel deals with all of these issues in a contemporary but alternative reality that also incorporates recent historical events such as hurricane Katrina. This novel works differently than most of the works on the booklist because the social commentary is more thinly veiled and comprehensible than in many of the other works. As a result, this novel should be an ideal starting place to get students to understand that literature is not only about aesthetics and entertainment, but is also a vehicle of expression that investigates issues they are asked to engage with on a daily basis. Additionally, I think the current popularity of the television adaptation should inspire a higher level of engagement with the novel than many of the other works on the list, which even though contemporary, are viewed as outdated by students.