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A Head Full of Ghosts

A Head Full of Ghosts

Written by Paul Tremblay

Narrated by Joy Osmanski


A Head Full of Ghosts

Written by Paul Tremblay

Narrated by Joy Osmanski

ratings:
4/5 (343 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 2, 2015
ISBN:
9780062411525
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal 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 stop 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. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface-and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

Publisher:
Released:
Jun 2, 2015
ISBN:
9780062411525
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of Growing Things, The Cabin at the End of the World, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, A Head Full of Ghosts, and the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly online, and numerous year’s-best anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives outside Boston with his family.


Reviews

What people think about A Head Full of Ghosts

4.1
343 ratings / 79 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
  • (4/5)
    The Barretts are a New England family who have been struggling for a over a year, since John lost the job he'd held at a toy factory for nearly twenty years. While mom Sarah works, their finances place the family under such strain that the three older Barretts become volatile. The story is mostly narrated by the youngest Barrett, eight year old Merry, who is witness to her fourteen year old sister's transformation from playmate to screaming creature that crawls on the ceiling and terrifies the family. Through Merry's eyes, and she's put front and center to witness nearly everything, we see Marjorie's condition become so extreme that the family gets a reality show, with a director setting up shots and camera operators filming Marjorie's exorcism. Is Marjorie really possessed or is she suffering from mental illness? Is the family being taken advantage of, or have they done what they had to for the money? And is Dad's religious fervor going to save the family? The reader is kept on unsure footing as we're seeing the family through the eyes of a child, but the Merry we meet 15 years after the family's reality show aired is a blogger who is pretty obsessed with the show that made her family infamous. 4.2 stars
  • (5/5)
    My first thought upon finishing this book were "Wow, what a great book!" It was interesting, intense, creepy, scary, I loved it! This book grabbed my attention like no book has recently.

    This is the story of Marjorie and her demonic possession, told through the eyes of her eight year old sister Merry. Being eight, Merry is not the most reliable of witnesses, and of course was not privy to all the conversations Marjorie had with their parents and her therapist. But Merry sees enough to make one heck of a scary story.

    As Marjorie's behavior becomes more and more erratic, the family moves into crisis. The father is unemployed, and the financial pressure is mounting. The family decides to allow a reality film crew to detail Marjorie's possession and the ensuing exorcism. Marjorie certainly seems possessed, but there is always a flicker of doubt in the reader's mind. This only adds to the tension produced by the book.

    The story is told in part from Merry's point of view, as she is being interviewed as an adult of twenty three. Her story is interspersed with blog posts from a writer recapping and analyzing the episodes of the reality show. I felt the blog posts were the weakest part of the book but I guess they were there to present another point of view.

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. It kept me guessing the whole way through. I thought the ending was the weakest part, but still pretty good. I would definitely recommend this book and I know it will be one of my top books on my shelf.
  • (4/5)
    Wow!!! I loved this book. I devoured it in 3 sittings. I just couldn't put it down and when I had to it was because I had to go to work. I loved the writing, the characters, all the homages to other horror books and movies and I really loved the open ended "wtf" ending! So good. I am very interested to read more of Paul Tremblay's books.*********SYNOPSIS************15 years after The Barrett's filmed The Possession Merry, the younger sister, is being interviewed for her biography/memoir. She was 8 years old when her sister Marjorie started acting weird. Her father had just lost his job and money was tight. Marjorie starts behaving erratically and angrily and tells Merry some very weird and scary stories instead of her happy ending tales she used to tell her. As things unfold and she becomes more and more sick they call on a priest to perform an Exorcism on Marjorie and they film the entire ordeal. What happens before, during and after that night has been immortalized in a show; The Possessions. Now 15 years later Merry has to relive that time in her life and open up about what really happened.
  • (4/5)
    I got a lot out of this book. It got into the "can't put down; can't wait to get back to it zone," that I love. It scared me. When 8 year old Merry was describing her bigger than normal doll house, and then sort of casually - like I guess an 8 year old would put it - mentioned her crazy, possibly possessed by evil entity sister was INSIDE the doll house, covered in a blanket, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING NIGHT - yeah I got the creeps. The doll house was next to Merry's bed. YIKES. It disappointed me - in a good way. There was one scene that was foreshadowed where Merry's sister, the crazy, possibly possessed by evil entity sister, chased her up the basement stairs one night. When the scene was to be described, I actually went down into my basement at night to read it. I was hoping for some scary action, and was actually seeing similarities between the basement in the book and the one in my house. The scene played out that Merry had lied about what actually happened. Her sister, Meredith, didn't actually spit up dirt and chase her. She hid and was down there but the scene laid the framework for how this book is all about the unreliable narrator. I usually don't like that style, so am impressed the author was able to pull it off.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book very much. I enjoyed how meta it was without feeling like a pastiche, how it handled both its own story and the wider cultural contexts of horror, teenaged girls, reality TV, and exploitation. It was very tightly written and well-plotted, and the family dynamic was complex and almost as frightening as the more "supernatural" events.

    I also appreciated how understated the story was. The horror is in what we don't see, what we don't read. This is my first book by Tremblay but it seems he's quite adept at leaving empty spaces where real horror can grow.

    This was a really fun book to read and I can't wait to check out more of this author's work