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Rosemary's Baby Paperback – May 5, 2014
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When published in 1967, Rosemary's Baby was one of the first contemporary horror novels to become a national bestseller. Ira Levin's second novel (he went on to write such fine thrillers as A Kiss Before Dying, The Stepford Wives, and The Boys from Brazil), Rosemary's Baby, remains perhaps his best work. The author's mainstream "this is how it really happened" style undeniably also made the novel his most widely imitated. The plot line is deceptively simple: What if you were a happily married young woman, living in New York, and one day you awoke to find yourself pregnant? And what if your loving husband had--apparently--sold your soul to Satan? And now you were beginning to believe that your unborn child was, in reality, the son of Satan? Levin subtly makes it all totally plausible, unless of course, dear Rosemary--or the reader--can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality! A wonderfully chilling novel, it was later faithfully transformed into an equally unnerving motion picture. In 1997, a sequel was spawned, Son of Rosemary. --Stanley Wiater --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Farrow's soothing reading of Ira Levin's classic returns her to the project that made her a star in Roman Polanski's eerily sedate thriller. Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into an ancient Manhattan apartment building and are immediately befriended by a pushy older couple, Minnie and Roman Castavet. When Rosemary becomes pregnant, she begins to suspect that the people in her building are satanists and that she may be carrying a demon's baby. What makes Levin's tale so haunting is how the horror is kept inconspicuous so tensions mount as ordinary events turn disturbing. Caedmon's packaging is outstanding, with inner sleeves listing track lengths and the first few words spoken on each track, making it easier to navigate. Farrow is an ideal choice as a reader for her history as well as her expressive and controlled reading. She doesn't attempt different voices for each character, but she does adapt a flat, nasal tone for Minnie (rather than imitate Ruth Gordon from the film). Subpar sound mars this classy recording: the volume is low and Farrow's voice sounds like it was recorded in a large, hollow space. Levin's thriller was previously recorded by Eileen Heckert in a 1986 three-hour abridgment from Random House Audio. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The book was excellent. Interestingly, when you follow reading a book with a movie (or visa-versa), there are always key plot differences. Directors don't always see the book translate completely with a movie. But, in this case, the book and movie were so close, they were almost indistinguishable in plot line. Sure, there were some minor details in the book I don't recall from the movie. For example, in the book, Levin makes a big deal about Rosemary's family being from Omaha, and goes into some detail about her earlier family life. But, I don't think these would have added to the movie.
Some readers who have seen the film may read this and realize it is so close that you visualize the movie as you read it. I found this personally problematic. As Rosemary was talking in the book, I heard Mia Farrow delivering the same lines from the movie in my head. All of the voices from the movie narrated or read their lines in my mind while I followed the book. While, again, I found the book particularly well written and enjoyable, this did distract me. I would recommend to anyone who has not seen the movie directed by Roman Polanski in 1968 - read the book before you watch the movie.
I received this book free from goodreads in exchange for an open and honest review.
I first read Ira Levin's classic as a teenager, thirty some years ago, after seeing the classic movie and decided to revisit the novel when NBC remade the story into a miniseries (skip the miniseries and watch the original with Mia Farrow). ROSEMARY'S BABY is relatively short, simple read, and some of the attitudes and phrases are dated. In its simplicity, this novel does a great job of creating just enough tension and creepiness to keep readers turning the pages, even though most will probably know the story and ending.
I recommend this fun read and blast from the past for old and new generation fans. ROSEMARY'S BABY is one of those books you have to read once in your life.
I think I'll reread Levin's other creepy classic, THE STEPFORD WIVES next.
That is the power of this book, that it is so damn engaging and haunting when you already know the outcome. And how could it not be? Levin has set his protagonist as a pregnant woman - and then turned everyone against her. Your natural human response should be to want to offer help and protection in the creation of life - and all you can do is sit by and watch as everyone uses naive Rosemary for their own devices.
On top of that, Levin's succinct plotting is a brilliance of the genre. It's sparse because it doesn't need filler. It is brevity at its finest. That he only wrote a handful of book is a tragedy.
I keep reading people who complain the book didn't scare them. First, STOP THAT. Going in with a challenge isn't fair to any book, and you'll be writing the same reviews about Bram Stoker, Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, etc, etc. Second, the horror of Rosemary is in the nature of the Satanists. Levin proposes them not as brilliant intellectuals, but what would happen if your crazy uncle and aunt decided to bring about the spawn of the devil. And perhaps most horrifically of all, do they really understand what they're doing to begin with?
There is a different ending here than in the movie. Slightly, but enough to be a major tonal shift. Read it for that alone, but also read it if you've seen a movie. There's a reason why Polanski barely changed anything.
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