Publication Date: Available Now from Titan Books
Source: Purchased copy
The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories begin to surface and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed.
I LOVED this although you know, I hid under the duvet for a lot of it. Kind of peered out every now and then and read a bit more, hurriedly, before diving back under and contemplating whether or not I could make it to the kitchen for a cup of tea and back without dying horribly.
I survived. Just.
ANYWAY A Head Full of Ghosts is brilliantly done, razor sharp, genuinely shiver inducing but also quite frightening for other reasons that are not necessarily the loud ones. Paul Tremblay has written a supernaturally subtle and haunting tale that screams out loud then gets you properly with the quieter moments, its all in the things that you don’t see. Just like the best horror movies, there are a lot of levels to this novel and I was engaged with every single one of them. And kept my sanity. Oh ssh…
SO Merry as a child lived in a house with a Sister, Marjory, who was possessed by a demon. Probably. As is the way of things in our modern age a reality tv show was made about the whole affair, following the family as it worked up to an exorcism- Merry, now an adult, looks back on this time with an ironic eye and a whole new wisdom – she tells her story and it is utterly gripping, endlessly compelling and creepy as all hell. Really genuinely great stuff.
And the ending was BOOM. I was very impressed (after I’d gotten over the traumatic “What? Why? Hang on a minute” phase that lasted a while) and it just sealed the deal for this reader. This is a damn good book.
Anyone remember that Halloween special from years ago – Ghostwatch – that had half the country semi hysterical when they thought it was all real? Those that missed the exploding studio at the end when it became obvious to even the silliest of people that this was a hoax, were still nervous the next day. That was a genuine water cooler moment before water cooler moments were a thing, if you do remember then you will appreciate this novel for sure.
The author builds to a climax in a tension filled, superbly intuitive narrative that hits a crescendo then brings you down a little gently before leaving you with a few things to contemplate. It is both definitive and interpretive and as such is hugely satisfactory and yep I’m a fan.
Just don’t forget – make the tea before you start and if someone could bring me a cup now I’d really really appreciate it. I’m not moving from under this duvet yet a while. It is axe and ghost proof you know…
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Have you read all you have of this year’s books, taking you to April/May, so have had to dive into books of your own?! I don’t know how you get through so many Liz, but it’s wonderful and makes me smile! Sending love!
I read this one a couple of years ago and liked it a lot. It was definitely creepy and there was the question of ‘mental illness’ vs. ‘demon possession’ – ‘hoax’ vs. ‘the real thing’. I know what I thought at the end, but it was a lively, lively ride. Certainly an interesting story.