Friday, March 10, 2023

Rosemary's Baby

American author Ira Levin (1929-2007) struck gold in 1967 with his second novel, Rosemary’s Baby, selling four-million copies and counting. The novel’s iconic standing was solidified by the 1968 film adaptation by Roman Polanski (Full Disclosure: I’ve never seen it). The novel remains in-print today in every format imaginable. 

Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse are upgrading their Manhattan apartment to an exclusive, in-demand building called The Bramford. After signing the lease, the couple learns that the building has a dark past. Historic residents were accused of cannibalism, child murder and witchcraft. Decades ago, the building was thought to be cursed.

Despite these warnings, Guy and Rosemary move into Apartment 7B. Rosemary quickly makes a friend who promptly commits suicide. This brings her directly into the orbit of her busybody neighbors who all seem very interested in Rosemary’s fertility. 

Rosemary’s husband Guy is a struggling actor, but something about The Bramford has him acting quite different than normal. One night Rosemary has a vivid dream that her neighbors and Guy were involved in a dark ritual of sorts. When Rosemary awakens, she’s covered in scratches and soon learns that she’s pregnant. 

Levin does a great job of writing Rosemary as a naive ingenue from Nebraska, and she seems to be the only character willfully blind to the subtle manipulation of all the other characters and what may be growing in her womb. The novel is a slow burn to be sure, but the creeping dread that rises in the reader displays some really adept horror writing with a gentle touch. Scary? A little. Unnerving? Bullseye! Recommended? Definitely. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

1 comment:

  1. This novel touches on so many great subjects of anxiety for the young bourgeois couple: housing, having a baby, social life. It's so great. The movie is excellent, well worth the time.