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A Head Full of Ghosts

af Paul Tremblay

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,1321437,387 (3.75)93
Fiction. Horror. Thriller. HTML:

WINNER OF THE 2015 BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A NOVEL

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends psychological suspense and supernatural horror, reminiscent of Stephen King's The Shining, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist.

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.… (mere)

Nyligt tilføjet afIvia, combito, annieshysshelves, Rini55, eboods
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» Se også 93 omtaler

Engelsk (140)  Svensk (1)  Italiensk (1)  Alle sprog (142)
Viser 1-5 af 142 (næste | vis alle)
Wow. Gonna be hard to get a few of these scenes out of my head. Don't give up when you start thinking it's overcooked with all the classic horror references, it all kind of makes sense eventually. Good scary read. ( )
  dhenn31 | Jan 24, 2024 |
I can't recall how I came across this, but I'm glad I did. It's such a good take on the possession or mental illness trope of horror fiction. It's told from the point of view of the younger sister of the victim, about 15 years after the incident. What she remembers, and how it may have been affected by the family's participation in a TV show at the time is front and centre all the time. Did it really happen thus way or is she conflating the memory with something she's since read? It's definitely a page-turner and difficult to stick with in places,but so worth it when you get to the end. Highly recommended. ( )
  GordCampbell | Dec 20, 2023 |
I had to think about my rating for this book for a while cause although the ending has a twist I didn't see coming (which is something I always appreciate), it still wasn't enough for me to give this a higher rating. I know a lot of people love this book, but this one just wasn't for me. I didn't really care about any of the characters and the pacing was off, which made it seemed like it dragged for so long despite this book being pretty short (under 300 pages). I was interested in the beginning but then it completely loses me in the middle and it doesn't get exciting again until part 3.

I also think this book is trying to do too much and so it falls flat. What exactly is it trying to achieve? Is it supposed to make us think about mental health vs religious beliefs? Was Marjorie actually possessed or was it her mental illness (schizophrenia)? Is it supposed to be about the dysfunction within the family and the societal and life's pressures placed on them? It is a commentary about the age of the internet and not being able to believe "news" that's put out? Is it about reality TV shows? As I said, there are so many different directions you can go with this book, I don't know what it was trying to accomplish.

The last thing I'll say is this book was NOT scary at all. So if you're looking for a horror book to scare you and keep you up at night, this is not it. Is it disturbing? Yes. Is it a sad book? While I didn't shed any tears, I did feel bad for Merry at the end. But is it a scary book? That's a definite NO.
All in all, kind of disappointed.

Edited: Reread this one again this week, only because the horror bookclub at my library is discussing it next week as our Feb pick.

I did like it a tiny bit more upon rereading it and I think I have a better understanding for what Tremblay was trying to do. Still doesn’t really work for me, and my issues with the pacing—especially during part two of the book—still stand. I’m bumping it up to a 2.5 stars (rounded up to 3 on Goodreads). Still don’t love it, but it’s not terrible either. ( )
  VanessaMarieBooks | Dec 10, 2023 |
A Head Full of Ghosts deserves the positive press it has received over the past few years. A Head Full of Ghosts is a scary, sad, sweet, funny, and gross story about a young girl named Merry witnessing her family's spiral into madness. You see Merry's family is dealing with the possible demonic possession of her sister Marjorie and their choice to not only perform an exorcism but to film it for a reality show. Merry is our narrator and her accounts switch between adult Merry's interviews with a bestselling writer and her own blog posts deconstructing the TV show she was a part of. Merry's interviews morph into childlike remembrances of growing up allowing us to see the events of the book through a child's eye. Though these "flashbacks" (if you will) we get a glimpse into Merry's family's dysfunction, her sister's possible possession, and her own trauma.

Honestly, this is chilling entertainment at its finest but like the best horror (think Shirley Jackson or William Peter Blatty) this is ultimately a story about the human condition. It's entertaining, chilling, funny, and disturbing yes, but also revealing. This is psychological horror after all with a tinge of social criticism. As a tale of perception and possible possession, A Head Full of Ghosts asks a lot of different yet difficult questions regarding the nature of physiological manipulation, religious fanaticism and more. This novel also looks at the way mass media acts as a form of voyeurism - reality TV in particular is guilty of this. While you be wondering what's up with Merry's sister (is a demon really inside her? Or is she mental ill)...that's not really what this book is about. The book is really about the breakdown of a family, a scathing critique of reality TV culture, and an analysis of how desperation and greed can combine to create a horror far more terrifying than the supernatural. In that sense, this is more Shirley Jackson than William Peter Blatty.

A Head Full of Ghost is riveting, and Merry makes for a delightful narrator, therefore it's a quick read. The way religion is handled in the book is a little problematic and it's my only complaint (for instance, If I were Father Wanderly I would not be suggesting an exorcism for Merry's sister but rather medical treatment as there wasn't great evidence for an exorcism but ya know, a priest has got side hustle going and Tremblay has to deliver us, dear readers, an exorcism). An exorcism is delivered but it's not going to go as planned. And the ending is completely unexpected and sad. It's in fact, utterly heartbreaking. While this is an excellent book, I do not recommend reading this if you're depressed.

Overall, A Head Full of Ghosts is a wonderful novel that toys with the conventions of supernatural and psychological storytelling. For those brave enough, you're in for a treat. ( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. On one hand, it was so hyped up (I mean, I've seen this on the shelves of my friends who barely read any books) and I *really* wanted to like it, but...I didn't. I'm not sure if it's because I was expecting one thing and got another?

This wasn't really a horror story. There were some creepy parts in it, some parts that made me squirm a little. At the end, you never knew if the MC was really possessed or not, or if she just had some kind of mental illness. The story also came off as another retelling of 'The Exorcist', and there are lots of references to it. Having had a decent amount of exposure to religion, I could understand why Marjorie and Merry's dad felt the way he did. Talk about a dysfunctional family, but while those aren't good to have, they're fun to read and write about.

It's told primarily from the viewpoints of the younger sister, Merry, and a blogger, Karen (I wasn't sure what the point was of having her parts in the book? I didn't get much out of it, and I wasn't a fan of her writing style). It alternates between the time of the filming, 15 years later when Merry is being interviewed by a journalist, and the blog.

I didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it, either. It did keep my interest for most of the story, and I liked Merry as a character. The things she must have gone through! I did feel sorry for her and could sympathize. Overall, I enjoyed it for what it was, but it just didn't resonate with me. ( )
  galian84 | Dec 1, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 142 (næste | vis alle)
Perhaps the most confronting thing about A Head Full of Ghosts is how it interrogates the fine line between what we think of as possession and what is an outward display of severe mental illness. It’s ambiguous which is the case here, but the predatory nature of involving a reality TV show, as well as everyone making Marjorie’s illness about themselves, shows a far more realistic and unsettling horror than just spinning heads.... A Head Full of Ghosts starts a little slow, and the perspective of an eight-year-old may take a little bit to get used to, but if you pick up this book, stick with it. Tremblay’s novel is a slow boil towards a tragic end, but so much of the horror lies in the journey along the way, not just a climactic jump scare. In many ways, it feels like every possession story in the 20th century has led up to this book.
 
Imagine a literary horror novel that riffs on one of the best and creepiest short stories out there, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wall-Paper: “It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please!” Then throw in elements of every tale of possession you’ve read or seen, from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House to William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, and you’ll end up with Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts, one of the most frightening books I’ve read this, or any, year....Despite the skill with which Tremblay wields his demons, real or otherwise, whether or not Marjorie is actually possessed ends up not being the point of A Head Full of Ghosts. None of our narrators here, adult or child Merry (a brilliantly-realised eight-year-old girl), or the blogger, who has secrets of her own, are remotely reliable, and Tremblay is elegantly, carefully ambiguous about the situation. But wherever it comes from, there’s real evil at the heart of this book – and just in time for Halloween.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerThe Guardian, Alison Flood (Oct 18, 2016)
 
...it smartly, viscerally exposes the way mass media, the Internet and pop culture have transformed our experience of that primal human impulse, horror.... Tremblay ambitiously structures the story as a pingponging narrative that coalesces into an unsettling conversation about the truth, or what the various characters suspect is the truth.... In essence, A Head Full of Ghosts is a book about a book about a TV show about a real-life event whose facts have never been fully established, with running meta-commentary by a blog that bears its own secret agenda. On top of that, it's told by an eyewitness whose reliability is just as problematic.
 
Tremblay paints a believable portrait of a family in extremis emotionally as it attempts to cope with the unthinkable, but at the same time he slyly suggests that in a culture where the wall between reality and acting has eroded, even the make believe might seem credible. Whether psychological or supernatural, this is a work of deviously subtle horror.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerPublishers Weekly (Apr 20, 2015)
 
When a teenager exhibits early signs of schizophrenia, her parents turn not to traditional psychiatry but to a Catholic priest determined to drive out demons and a sleazy reality TV show eager to get the whole fiasco on tape.... As the adult Merry's memories clash with the televised version of events leading up to the climactic final episode of The Possession—it's not spoiling too much to say that everything that could go wrong does—readers will begin to question if anyone in the house is truly sane.
Tremblay expertly ratchets up the suspense until the tension is almost at its breaking point.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerKirkus Reviews (Apr 16, 2015)
 

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My memory, she was first to the plank, and the B-movie played in the aisle. - Future of the Left, "An Idiot's Idea of Ireland"

It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please! - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Do you wanna know a secret? Will you hold it close and dear? This will not be made apparent, but you and I are not alone in here. - Bad Religion, "My Head Is Full of Ghosts"
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DC politicians, angry Occupy Wall Street protestors, Tea-Party rallies, unemployment charts and graphs, chaotic courtrooms, ranting talking heads, crying people filing out of the Barter Brothers factory. Within the first minute of the series, we’d already witnessed the new and all-too-familiar American economic tragedy. The show established a sense of gravity, along with an air of unease by using only realism and by first introducing John Barrett: the new and neutered postmillennial male; a living symbol of the patriarchal breakdown of society
The show had horror fans hooked at hello because, frankly, most of us are not picky. We’re like the family dog that wags its tail at a treat, no matter if it’s a crappy store-brand Milk-Bone or a piece of steak.
By the time we finally meet the real Marjorie (and not her Liz Jaffe reenactment stand-in) in the final moment of the pilot, the show has painstakingly built its thematic foundation through realism, through the fears of our deteriorating middle-class and core conservative family values, and through the recycled cultural lessons borrowed or reimagined from the classics of horror literature and film.
Dad tries arguing theology and scripture with the other man, which becomes Dad blaming Father Wanderly (who had “forsaken” him) and the Catholic church for failing and abandoning him and his family, which becomes Dad also blaming the television show producers who duped him into believing what he was doing was for the best, which became Dad lashing out at his former employers, politicians, the economy, modern society, and American culture, which eventually became Dad asking for help and for advice from this other frothing lunatic of a man who never once offered a single word of love or comfort or support and only said that God was unhappy with Dad, unhappy with the whole family.
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Fiction. Horror. Thriller. HTML:

WINNER OF THE 2015 BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A NOVEL

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends psychological suspense and supernatural horror, reminiscent of Stephen King's The Shining, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist.

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.

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