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on 14 March 2017
This is amazing. At just over 200 pages, this novel takes you on a hell (excuse the pun) of a journey that you won’t forget anytime soon. Levin has managed to make a novel so witty, and at the same time, so terrifying. In a way, the tone of this book is reminiscent of American Psycho (or rather American Psycho is reminiscent of this as it came out afterwards), but rather than in-your-face vulgar gore, this is far more psychologically disturbing. Never has such a mundane life, as Rosemarys and Guy’s, ever been so horrifying.

I’d already watched the movie when I picked this up, so I knew what this novel was about and what happened, and I think, maybe, that made me enjoy this more. When you know how the story plays out, the tension in this really grips you and you find yourself angry and empathetic towards Rosemary’s naivety. I think if I went into this novel not knowing, Rosemary would have simply pissed me off, she’s that sort of weak and dependant woman I oh-so hate in books, but it was a different experience for me, knowing what I know. That’s not to say you won’t like this going into it blind, I’m sure the tension and horror of this will affect you just the same way and you'll get the pleasure of the pure shock of the discovery, something I didn't.

I’ve said previously that I find it hard to really hate a character in a book, as I often find things to like about them, despite all their bad ways, but that’s not the case in this one. Let’s just say there is one specific character in this I hate more than anyone (in any other book ever, so far) for their betrayal, all for their own selfish gain.

The ending of this novel is one of the hardest, if not the hardest to swallow. It’s so distressing and so upsetting. I can’t say anything more than that, but it’s truly, truly awful.

I’m really trying not to give too much away with this review, it’s hard not to say so many things, but I think it’s OK to mention the fact this book is about devilry (it’s written on the book as a quote from Capote so it can’t exactly be ignored)! This is a truly terrifying novel, and if you had qualms about having children before, you’ll definitely have more after reading this book.

This is a one sitting read for me and I’m actually excited to re-read it sometime in the future. This work is a masterpiece. Levin is an incredible writer and I’m now aiming to read the rest of his work by the end of the year.
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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 19 December 2015
great book
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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 20 May 2015
A very short book to read - was really enjoyable - not a thriller in this day and age though.
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I had never read a word by Ira Levin, but I am now avidly seeking out his books since he is a stunningly effective writer and a master of apprehension and dread.
I turned the pages of this small masterpiece with a mixture of rising dread at what might happen next, and an excited thrill at just how well written it all is. The author really knew how to twist the knife, then twist it a little further, until the reader is almost yelling for it to stop ~ though of course that's the last thing you want to happen. At the same time, he was so obviously a terrific craftsman when it came to character, setting, and the little things people say and do which can imply so much.
Most people by now ~ since the 1968 film with Mia Farrow ~ know the bare outline of the plot, but however much you like, or dislike, the film, you'll be gripped by the novel on which it was based. Happily married couple Rosemary and Guy {a budding actor} have just moved into a very well-appointed apartment in a sought-after block, and rapidly get to know the neighbours. Later, her concerned friend Hutch bequeaths her a book called All Of Them Witches. . . I dare say no more.
To set a tale of terror and witchcraft in a New York apartment block was a novel idea in itself, and Levin never puts a foot wrong. We see the events unfolding through Rosemary's eyes most of the time, and it is all made horribly credible. By the end I was out of breath, having been shocked, scared, unnerved, and thrilled by the sheer chutzpah of the writer's audacity and brilliance.
A word about Levin as a writer. Rarely have I come across a novelist ~ particularly one writing in a 'popular' genre ~ who is able with a deftly placed word or phrase to speak volumes, a quality even more essential in a tale of terror. But this man really could write, and then some. He is a find, and I am already thoroughly enjoying {if that's the appropriate word!} The Stepford Wives, another nerve-jangling tale of dread and the unlikely perils of the modern American marriage circa 1970.

Fantastic, in every way.
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on 21 September 2006
Having seen the movie, and enjoyed it, I gave the book a go. Despite being written 40 years ago now, it still has the feel of a contemporary book. Because of the claustrophic setting of the building, in which a lot of the action takes place,the real world doesn't impinge much.

Ira Levin writes in a nice, easy to read style, which makes you want to read more and more every time you finish a chapter. I won't give much away about the plot, just to say that the year 1966, in which it is set, is very relevant, and the book will make you wonder if the mundane things around you are quite as mundane as they seem!!

Well written, great storyline, good characters (although I found Rosemary to be a little too dumb at times), and a book that will make you think a little. Worth picking up.
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on 26 September 2011
I have never read Ira Levin, nor been a fan of the "horror" genre, but hearing a review of this book on the radio, I was sufficiently interested to buy a copy. It is a sensational read - horrifying, tense and sinister but written in such a style that you simply cannot put it down. All the horror is implied with no graphic references but shocking to the point that I gasped out loud several times to my husband's irritation. I passed it on to him and he echoes my vie. Since then we have gone on to read 3 other Levin novels, each of which has been more captivating than the previous. He is a fantastic author and if you have never read one of his books, this is a cracking one as a starter for 10.
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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 May 2010
An under-rated masterpiece.
This novel has everything...excellent strongly-written characters, a thrilling unusual plot, the New York in the sixties vibe.
It is one of those books that is very rewarding to re-read because you begin to understand what was really going on when, for example, Hutch loses a glove, a seemingly trivial loss but with very evil undertones as it turns out. There are lots of little incidents that you will want to re-examine, knowing what you know at the end of the story.
The plot unfolds at a satisfying pace, the characters develop with the events.
A flawless, highly entertaining story.
I always intended to write to Ira Levin to express my admiration for the novel, but sadly I left it too late.
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