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VINE VOICEHALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 1 April 2017
Ira Levin’s great horror novel not only made him popular, but made this probably the biggest selling horror story in the Sixties, whilst also starting a boom in the genre which is still being felt to this day. In some ways turning the gothic novel on its head this also helped to bring horror to a more normal setting, after all this takes place right in the middle of New York City.

Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse, and quite newly married manage to get an apartment in the Bramford building. For Rosemary she feels like she has hit the big time, and all the couple need now is for Guy’s acting career to be a bit more successful, then she can settle down and start having children.

But as Rosemary is about to start finding out, there is a certain notorious reputation to the building, according to a friend, and although the neighbours seem friendly she does seem to have become isolated from most of her previous friends and acquaintances. Then with Guy’s career really taking off and he deciding it is time for them to have a child, so worries and concerns start to surface.

Although a horror tale this is also one that falls into the thriller end of the market, as we see our main character get paranoid and possibly delusional. But is Mrs Woodhouse going nuts, or is what she believes is happening really the truth?

Although most people are more than aware of this story nowadays it is interesting when reading this to see how Levin used some very good misdirection at times to keep people away from what the expected ending would be, thus giving us some nice twists. Always something worth reading this has been tried by others but not beaten, and has inspired many a modern author to write in this genre.
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on 18 August 2017
If you've ever watched the film, then read this. It's well written and you can actually picture the film in your head as you progress through the novel, which is a great compliment to Roman Polanski. You'll get through this book extremely quickly as it draws you in from page to page. Not a chiller, by any means, but certainly a psychological thriller that totally immerses. It's funny how a film can affect your reading experience - I was imagining the faces of Cassavetes and Farrow and the little imp like face of Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castavet the devilishly friendly satan worshipper. Thoroughly enjoyed
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on 5 June 2015
I have never read "Rosemary's Baby", for which the author is best known. This book explores a much more interesting idea than demonic possession: the paradox of freedom. Many of us misuse freedom, to be nasty to other people. Levin gives us a world in which everyone is nice, because they're not free to be anything else. Unlike Alex in Anthony Burgess's better known "A Clockwork Orange", the subjects of the Unification Computer are not nice because they are under threat of torture if they are anything else: it never occurs to them to behave any other way. Racism, violence, war and all kinds of unhappiness have been abolished, because the human race is no longer capable of conceiving of them. Other authors - for instance, Sheri S Tepper in "Raising the Stones" and "Sideshow" - have written about this situation and suggested that to sit on human minds in this way, giving them only a mental sandbox to play in, is a good idea. I don't agree, and Levin expresses this better than I ever could. It is clear that at the end of the book when the revolution is over the world will be in many ways a worse place, but it seems to me Levin has made the case that giving human beings control over their own destiny is a change for the better. I suspect this would be a good book to study in an English class.
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on 3 April 2018
A futuristic tale and remains so even now, despite its age. Genetically modified and chemically suppressed humans from all over the world are united with one identity and engage in a productive society managed by a UniComp, a giant computer installed in the depths of a Swiss mountain. People learn it is abnormal to have wants or needs and do not challenge the status quo - those that do are branded ‘sick’ and receive more frequent treatments. But humanity will out and a group of dissenters escape to discover freedom and the truth about UniComp.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 February 2014
Ira Levin's 'Rosemary's Baby' is an intriguing combination of a seemingly normal well to do couple in 1965/1966 New York during a pregnancy, and the paranormal horror elements that are related to where they live. While the paranormal is mostly only surmised and not seen, the author skillfully creates a tension that persists pretty much from start to finish and which makes the book such a riveting read.

Rosemary is a typical aspiring (house)wife, married to Guy, a slightly older actor of limited success (but great potential) and the book starts with their moving to famous a Victorian era apartment block - 'the Bramford' - in NY. While they are initially over the moon at their good luck in securing a flat in such a prestigious a location, soon seeds of unease are being spread by well meaning friends, and by odd events.

In the meantime they befriend their neighbours - an elderly couple, which initially seems dull but quickly draws Guy in, meaning an intense relationship develops. From there onwards the tension grows steadily, as one is never completely sure if the odd occurences happening are real or a figment of Rosemary's imagination. The horror comes from the reader being quite easily capable of imagining Rosemary's constant struggle between what is real and what is not.

Without producing any spoilers (for the handful who have not read the book or seen the movie - Rosemary's Baby [1968] [DVD]) a final resolution does happen, even if the ending has been considered abrupt by some. At the same time this produces a cliffhanger, allowing the reader's imagination to run wild with the possibilities. A sequel (Son Of Rosemary) has been produced around 30 years later but appears to not match up to the author's usual quality standards (the reviewers strongly recommend avoiding it altogether).

Overall the book is a great combination of the mundane - an excited 'mother to be' preparing for the joyous event in the 1960, a young urban couple trying to move up in the world... - and the horrible and as such I find it excellent. Just like in some of the author's other books (The Stepford Wives for instance) you get enough food for thought, as well as excellent, well flowing writing, making it a real winner.
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on 4 October 2013
I'm currently on an Ira Levin mission and this was my second after A Kiss Before Dying, The Stepford Wives is next. The writing style is unmistakable, with good character development and long descriptive passages, which are on the verge of being too long and slowing down the plot. The storyline is ingenious in the extreme, take care not to miss the tiniest, apparently inconsequential event, because it will come back later in the story with huge significance. As the plot develops the creepiness rises, but I use that term deliberately in preference to horror; it is a horror story, but it's not horrific. Like other reviews, I found the ending slightly unexpected, but I won't say disappointing, the tension in the last third of the book keeps on rising. This is not a long book, but much as I liked it, long enough. I certainly enjoyed it and definitely recommend it, but don't quite rate is as one of my all time favourites.
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on 23 March 2012
I have often seen Rosemary's Baby mentioned as a comparison in reviews so I was curious to read this classic book.

Published and set in the mid sixties, fashionable young couple Rosemary and actor husband Guy are delighted to be moving into the exclusive Victorian New York apartment block, the Bramford. A wise and trusted friend warns them that the Bramford has somewhat of a sinister past - child murders, satanic rituals, a dead baby found in the cellar and a high occurrence of suicides. The couple brush this off but within weeks, they return to their new home to find that somebody has thrown themselves to their death from an apartment window for what seems like no apparent reason. Plus their eccentric, elderly neighbours are taking a rather unhealthy and suffocating interest in them and Guy once wary, now seems to be embracing their friendship. And Rosemary wants to start a family at this place......I will say no more.

Creepy, chilling with lots of suspense, the pages practically turn themselves although I was disappointed with the ending which I thought came to an abrupt halt whilst the story was still flowing. Most definitely worth reviving though.
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on 9 September 2013
I went into this completely blind I'd obviously heard of it but had somehow managed to miss the whole context of the plot and what to expect, for this reason I was glad as I think it needed me to go in not knowing what to expect. That said I thoroughly enjoyed it, what a great classic story that is still fresh today. Rosemary is a very interesting character in that you sometimes find yourself wondering if she really is that naive or is she right to be as trusting and wholesome as she appears. I found Guy to be a boring unlikable character from the word go. I was at first initially surprised at the rather abrupt ending I pressed the next page button on my kindle and was left thinking " oh is that it" it felt like there should have been more, but after thinking about it for a while I realised that there really couldn't have been any other way, it finalised and left you the reader to your own conclusions. All that aside though and the plot is great, good strong characters I would recommend as a classic thriller for all those yet to have read this book your missing a great classic give it a go and make your own mind up.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2013
You probably know the story already, maybe due to the film. Rosemary and Guy move into an apartment building in New York, nosy neighbours constantly knocking on their door or inviting them round for tea, and soon their futures start looking up. Guy no longer struggles to find acting jobs, Rosemary becomes pregnant, but is all as it seems?

It's typical Levin in that the atmosphere is oppressive and creepy from the outset, the prose is sparse, and the ending is somewhat abrupt and a little blurred, but it's a heck of a ride getting there. Great fun, and a bit of a horror classic.
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on 14 November 2011
This is a very effective and chilling horror story.

Despite knowing the entire plot I still found this to be a greatly enjoyable read.

It might seem a bit slow I suppose these days but it is still very atmospheric.
I can see why it was a best seller. Is she imagining it all, or is it real? Sadly I knew already!

It did allow me to just enjoy the writing style. It is quite a relaxed and quick read. I think efficient might be the best term for Levin's writing.

This has a great and somewhat disturbing ending.
It has inspired a great deal of horror writing but this is still one of the best.
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