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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
Enter Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, almost-newlyweds, new tenants in an old, luxury building called "The Bramford", famous for its high ceilings and working fireplaces, notorious for its unsavory happenings (dead baby wrapped in newspapers abandoned in the basement). They are warned off by Hutch, an old friend of Rosemary's who knows all about the building's sordid history, but disregard the omens.
Rosemary is a housewife (yes, back in the day there actually were such things) who wants to be a mother. Guy is an actor and a rising star whose talent is overshadowed only by his unlimited ambition. Next door are the Castevets, Minnie and Roman, a delightfully ditzy old couple who just happen to head a coven of witches who have made a pact with the devil. Rosemary wants a baby; Guy wants a leading part in a hit play; the witches want... well, all the ingredients are there for a devil's brew that sets the pot boiling wonderfully for 260 pages.
After a nightmarish impregnation, Rosemary goes through a hellacious pregnancy, presided over by Dr. Sapirstein, a famous "society" obstetrician who assures Rosemary that her pains will go away in a day or two. Hutch's death after a long, suspicious illness jolts Rosemary out of her cocoon of trusting ignorance, and here Levin builds the horror up ever so insidiously until it hits you like a sledgehammer. Rosemary discovers who her neighbors are; that they have drawn her husband into a diabolical plot, and when she runs to Dr. Sapirstein for protection, she finds out that he too is... well, if you can't trust your husband and your obstetrician, who can you trust? Rosemary is left alone to try to save her baby from what she fears is a plot against his life and safety, remembering that dead baby in the basement; there's a plot afoot, all right, but what it is, is something neither Rosemary or the reader could possibly imagine until they stare at it, literally and figuratively, in the eyes.
Levin is one terrific storyteller and he manages to time the action to coincide perfectly with the story line; Rosemary conceives, ironically, on the night of the Pope's visit to New York in early October, and the baby is born, fittingly, right after midnight, "exactly half the year around from you-know". Some readers have complained that the ending is lame after all the shock and horror, and they have a point, but it's fun to wonder, how else could Levin have ended this story? It's a perfect psychological horror fantasy, no blood, no gore, no things that go bump in the night, but just the ordinary neighbors next door that can and do raise all kinds of hell. It's a classic that has stood the test of time; after 35 years, it's still a great read.
She certainly doesn't disappoint in this unabridged reading (actress Eileen Heckart did an abridged version several years back) and the years have brought a maturity to her voice that not only brings Rosemary back to vivid life, but infuses the other characters with a distinction and clarity that has you seeing the story play out in your mind as she reads.
Nicely packaged with chapter indexes, it is a great rendering of a great book. And really, having Mia Farrow reading this text is a film fan's dream come true!
Not much of an audiophile, I'm unqualified to rate the recording quality.
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