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Head Full of Ghosts, A de Paul Tremblay
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Head Full of Ghosts, A (edició 2016)

de Paul Tremblay (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,5251179,299 (3.75)78
"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 bizarre outbursts and subsequent descent into madness. As their 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 for a reality television show."--Book jacket.… (més)
Membre:tank1010
Títol:Head Full of Ghosts, A
Autors:Paul Tremblay (Autor)
Informació:William Morrow Paperbacks (2016), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Informació de l'obra

A Head Full of Ghosts de Paul Tremblay

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» Mira també 78 mencions

Anglès (116)  Italià (1)  Totes les llengües (117)
Es mostren 1-5 de 117 (següent | mostra-les totes)
All told, this ended up being a fairly underwhelming read, and although Tremblay's clearly a talented writer, I wanted a lot more from the story/concept.

It's worth noting that the back cover blurb led me to expect an untangling of present memory and known fact from remembered events, suggesting we'd potentially have an unreliable narrator, but certainly looking at something of a past/present mystery unfolding; yet, that simply never panned out (I guess it was just a marketing choice that ended up being misleading?). The problem is, without that angle, the story here is a simple one--too simple. Beyond the misleading angle on the back cover, the book's execution delivers a lot of ambiguities--and ambiguity is great if it's productive ambiguity, leading to a way of understanding the whole of a book at the end. Instead, here, I felt like all of the ambiguities were simply there to add complication, and none of them were really sorted out at the end. None of those questions which we'd been developing through the course of the book could truly be answered, in other words, leading me to wonder if the writer even felt sure of the answers. To me, that means the book fails to deliver on all of the promises and story it sets up to begin with, as I'd say that a reader should at least have the tools to be able to figure out the whole of the plot and characters by the end of a book, once they've put all the pieces together. You don't want to get to the end of a mystery and still be unsure of who the killer is (assuming there's no sequel coming), and these ambiguities amount to the same thing for me--more frustration than anything.

Perhaps the book was just meant to be an exploration of pop culture and exorcisms, especially given all of the (annoyingly long) blog posts and references and stereotypes. Or perhaps it was just meant to be a character study. One person in my writing group suggested it was an exploration of how characters are carried off by and controlled by ideas, which is the explanation I love most of all, although I'm not sure it's fully supported by the novel when all is said and done. But regardless, in the end, I simply needed more from this book in order to really enjoy it. And when you add in plot/believability issues that point either to lazy writing or lazy editing (but which I won't get into, for fear of spoilers), I end up at a point where I really can't recommend the book.

I'd say where we end up here is with something of an ambiguous puzzle wrapped up in an enigma...that mostly boils down to exploring stereotypes by the end. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jan 8, 2022 |
What I liked: the self awareness of the book. Sure it’s a rip-off of (/homage to) a lot of horror and gothic tropes and even whole plot points, but the author takes pains, using the blog conceit, to make sure the reader knows that he knows. Moreover, that’s kind of the point.

What I didn’t like: Much of the time the “interview” with Merry, or conversation—whatever you want to call it, did not feel like an actual interview/conversation. It felt more like a flashback or just a first person narrator telling a story. I don’t like it when authors use a framing device without really committing to it. (Granted, I listened to the audiobook so maybe that experience is different than reading the text.) But overall the the plot itself was intriguing enough (if at times well past my level of comfort on the “disturbing” scale), and the various ideas (reality television/voyeurism/horror as entertainment/mental illness/religion/etc) engaging enough that I still liked the book. ( )
  little-gidding | Jan 6, 2022 |
"I need an old priest and a young priest." That's the overwhelming thought in my head right now. Probably through no fault of the author. So, about the book. Let's use the old cliche that this book is "well-written." Clear, simple, compelling prose. Pleasing sentence construction. Appropriate pacing. The writing's all in order.

The soul of the book, however, just off of center. I love the idea of the plot. I almost love the execution of it. But this book just ends up feeling like a homage to great horror stories rather than being one itself. And maybe that's okay. It certainly points out its own references. And, though it doesn't give an outright bibliography, all the reading material is woven into the plot and plainly stated for those who want to pursue it. But the heart of the story, the story of the two sister, suffers from the weight of its own critical analysis. I wanted this to be the story of Marjorie and Merry. I think all of the things that happened would be sharper and deeper felt if this were the story of two sisters, both struggling against one sister's mental illness. It sort of is, but not really. That story is there, but it's cluttered by the horror references falling around it.

I'm also left with some unanswered questions about the narrator. Is she unreliable because she was traumatized at a young age? Is she initially unreliable because she's harboring a big secret? Is she actually reliable, and the story around her is what's unreliable? Why do we have both blog posts and her own words telling the story?

Overall, I liked this book because it is clever. And it makes me feel clever because I get the references. I'm part of the club And the reality TV show angle is clever. But I also feel slightly let down that there's only a little bit of heartbreaking story behind the cleverness. And I suppose I'd rather have my heart broken. ( )
  JessicaReadsThings | Dec 2, 2021 |
An interesting plot and characters, but it started out scary and became more a family psychological drama. ( )
  Charon07 | Nov 11, 2021 |
I didn't like it as much as I thought I would... I loved the uncertainty around whether or not Meridith was faking (and it was actually really well done, without any strong leanings one way or another), but never felt gripped by Merry (and Karen's blog posts were dreadful). ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 117 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaThe 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.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaPublishers 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.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaKirkus Reviews (Apr 16, 2015)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (2 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Paul Tremblayautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Osmanski, JoyNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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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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For Emma, Stewart, and Shirley
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"This must be so difficult for you, Meredith."
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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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"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 bizarre outbursts and subsequent descent into madness. As their 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 for a reality television show."--Book jacket.

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