Saturday, October 29, 2011
Last week, during my trip to New York to visit the S&S offices in the US, I had one night to myself to do whatever I pleased. It was a Wednesday, pouring rain and cold. The lights, the downpour, the constant buzz of Times Square put me in a serious book mood. I wandered twenty blocks, ducking or raising my umbrella high into the air to avoid smacking it into people's heads as they whizzed by, eager to get out of the rain. I was quite happy to be in it! After a stop for a latte and some chocolate covered gram crackers, I found my way into Barnes & Noble. In the mood for something Halloween-esque, I searched for Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, which I had read about in my friend Natalie's blog, Browsing Bookshelves.
Ira Levin's story scared the living daylights out of people in the sixties upon its publication. It centers around Rosemary Woodhouse, the wife of an aspiring actor, desperate to have a child and to find the perfect apartment. She immediately falls in love with the Bramford, an old building with some seriously scary history. Previous home of two sisters, who ate children and of Adrian Marcato, known to have practiced witchcraft and summoned Satan.
When Rosemary's husband Guy gets a great part under suspicious circumstances, Rosemary's neighbours, The Castevets begin taking care of her. Their close eye on her seems sweet at first, but when Rosemary begins putting two and two together, their motives become increasingly questionable.
This small snippet of background gives absolutely no scope to the creepiness which exists in these pages. I could not put it down and was so entranced by the way Levin let the story unfold. Scenes made my jaw drop, chilled me and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The only time I wavered in the book was the last few pages where I wished the conclusion of the story could have been elaborated, but it took nothing away from the tale. This was one of those instances where you read the right book at the right moment. Halloween is in the air and this creepy novel was the perfect accompaniment to the eerie atmosphere.