[Read] ➵ A Head Full of Ghosts Author Paul Tremblay – Livre-game-of-thrones.co

10 thoughts on “A Head Full of Ghosts

  1. says:

    paul tremblay interviews me, or me here book is about a fourteen year old girl named marjorie, her eight year old sister merry, and the events leading up to marjorie s exorcism your attention, i have it, yes this is both a horror novel and a psychological suspense novel, but then it goes the extra step into self referential metafiction in a way that is natural and not gimmicky annoying, probably because that part involves a delightful character named karen brissette on the one hand, this rests firmly in the canon of possession lit, and all the expectations are met the voices, the vomit, the levitation, the inappropriate sexual acts, but there s a cheekiness to it at all times a little wink as it slightly adjusts these elements so that they are present, but slightly off this isn t played for horror, for unease and a sort of evaluation of the possession genre itself the book is mostly told through the eyes of merry now twenty three years old meeting with a woman who is writing a book about marjorie and the family s experiences it cuts between merry now and merry s immersive recollections of the events that destroyed her family when marjorie began acting erratically, her parents sent her to a psychiatrist and she was put on medication when her condition worsened, and events sinister and inexplicable occurred, her unemployed father turned to the church in desperation under the direction of the inscrutable father wanderly, an exorcism was prescribed and somehow the whole thing became a media event and was filmed for television as a reality show since we are relying on the memory of an eight year old who was kept out of the planning stages, the how of this is unclear but it doesn t come across as implausible or silly, the way it does in what i just wrote the family was struggling financially, and this helped them out of a tight spot desperate people do desperate things, things they might later regret so their house is overrun by camera crews, marjorie continues to creep through the hallways, and merry tries not to get lost in all of it, whatever it is.essentially, it boils down to what all exorcism scenarios are beneath their shrieking theatrics what is really happening is it madness is it actually demonic possession is it the cry for help of an abused child this is a novel concerned with perception perspective than with truth there are no easy answers here, and you can draw your own conclusions the supernatural explanation is just as plausible as the psychological, but no matter which way you lean at the end, there are prickly stickers that will make you doubt your choice but tremblay adds another layer on top of this familiar storyline with the reality show element, and in life s delicious synchronicity my reading of the book coincided with my starting to watch black mirror, so all the themes of suffering as entertainment and the complicity of the viewer in demanding and therefore perpetuating another person s humiliation is fresh in my mind two things right off the bat he doesn t fall into the ready trap of either satire or preachiness this is not wry chuckling at reality teevee and the ethical ramifications are put forth in very natural ways by characters who would indeed question these things, so it doesn t feel like reader directed shame on you which makes it better than black mirror, but i ve only seen two episodes and now let s get to the best part of the book MEEEEEE the karen brissette character writes a horror blog which is running a 15 year anniversary feature on the show it s not ME me, but it s clearly written by someone who has read a review or two of mine while i would never use the word funky or ever say anything in r lyehian, there is a very familiar enthusiasm and a chatty, distracted voice that both delighted me and made me squirm a little when i was reading it in my head, in my voice i m a little alarmed that i am so easy to parody spoof it actually reads like a mash up of me and pms, where the thinky parts sound like her and the puppy energy parts sound like me and i so cringed when karen dropped that das unheimliche thing because YES, that is something i have done WHEN APPROPRIATE but i did feel a miniature shame for it to be pointed out and except for the ugly capital letters sprinkled throughout her blog posts, there s something uncanny DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE also something the book reminds me that i do stalk much, tremblay about the voice And we the viewers watch from this eerily liminal vantage point I mean, we re there with them but not really there We watch from the spaces between their spaces, and that s always where the monster dwells Dwells, I say SCARRRRYYYY I mean, damn, so here we are in the opening minutes of the final episode and we discover that we actually know jack and shit about the house s layout and ARRGGGH, OUR HEADSSSS ARE EXPLODINGGGGG so, yeah it s pretty sweet karen s role is to place the reality show s situation in a historical and pop cultural context and draw our attention to what the show and by extension, the book itself owes to its predecessors she brings up salem, The Exorcist, House of Leaves, The Haunting of Hill House all of those literary and filmic touchpoints and she analyzes what it is we find so compelling about these kinds of narratives.because our fascination with this shit isn t new the salem witch trials were a precursor of reality teevee young girls playing for cameras that hadn t yet been invented, spectators shivering with shock and can t look away revulsion as fornication with demons was described in little girl lisps and there s plenty to say and karen does about the misogyny inherent in exorcism narratives as white men hover over virginal girls writhing on a bed spluttering obscenities and there is such glee in her deconstruction of the show it s a really fun sort of lit crit that i anxiously hope is something has some basis in the efforts of her namesake.it s not often that you get critical commentary of a book in a book as it is happening but it s a neat little trick there are so many opportunities to call out the references the sunroom with its yellow wallpaper inspires a discussion of gilman s The Yellow Wallpaper not in a look how clever i am being way, but in an almost exhausted way, in the same manner marjorie recites the steps of the exorcism or the details of her possession we ve seen this we know how this goes we are steeped in references, influenced by pop culture, there s a precedent in everything we do, but the calling attention to it ironically renders it novel and strange the idea of audience is very important here not just the audience of the show, or the fact that watching the show turns merry into an audience of her own life s experiences, but the fact that marjorie s symptoms intensify when merry is in the room, the way people being filmed amplify their behaviors for the benefit of the imagined viewers, the way the presence of cameras can stifle natural behavior and can modify a dynamic as a subtle power play there s also some commentary on how media manipulates our memories, but also how we manipulate them all on our own in one of my favorite quiet scenes, grown merry is sitting with rachel, the writer, going over some of the key moments in merry s past Sitting here in the coffee shop with her outlining her research findings, I m getting the sense that she s hiding something from me I don t know how that would be possible.She wasn t there when it happened And I was.but memories are not always the truest truths merry was young, shielded from parts of her family s life, fuzzy on the details, confused over what she saw, and it s just a nice moment that highlights that distance we all have from our own past, and how we interpret our memories in frequently incorrect ways there are lots of fantastic little details here how merry never got over her childish need for attention affection and the way she behaved around the crew as an eight year old pleasing the reporters, playing for the camera is mirrored in her relationship with rachel as a grown woman she s fragile, arrested, vulnerable, and with good cause it s a surprisingly meaty book much than a typical horror novel but one that will nonetheless satisfy the discerning horror fan plus a version of meeeeeee which is something stephen king has yet to do, to his detriment MOVIE NEWS would like to play myself in this movie, please paul tremblay is a clever man this book features a character named karen brissette who says writes things like I promise I ll get to the fun gory horror stuff eventually, but you have to indulge me first BECAUSE KAREN SAYS SO i mean, that karen s slavishness to the capital i aside, there s no way i can give this fewer than five stars, is there clever, clever mancome to my blog

  2. says:

    I rarely give one star reviews I am sure Paul Tremblay is a nice guy, but after two of his books, I cannot stand him as a writer.The story in this book was silly and contrived The characters were blah and I didn t believe their motivation for anything they did If someone got mad, it felt forced If something weird occurred it felt like it was just there so something could be weird The book is not thrilling It is not scary It is bad Exorcist fan fiction I am not sure if anyone was ever really possessed, but at no point did I care I can t even say it tries hard but falls flat I don t think it even tries at all Sometimes I can say that a book is not for me, but I can see how others like it I can t say that with this one If you like it, that s okay but I don t know why Sorry, Paul again, I am sure you are a great guy, but I am done with your books Side note Ironically enough, this book is the six hundred and sixty sixth book I have listed as read on Goodreads

  3. says:

    This book blew me away I might have to come back and alter my review because I m not entirely sure how to process this book.All I will say about the plot is it revolves around the Barrett family and we are trying to solve the puzzle of 14 year old Marjorie s illness Is she mentally ill Is she possessed by a demon Anything would spoil it all and I refuse to do such a thing This is definitely a book that will stay with me While it s not overly gory or scary in the traditional sense, it IS severely creepy and disturbing with a slow building sense of urgency I found myself flipping pages quickly as the ending drew near I also enjoyed the blogging entries which had a very familiar air about them I really enjoyed Karen s two cents and felt like I was reading thoughts from a personal friend.I truly believe this book made its mark on me by how I still feel connected to this tragic family they were haunting and sad Well done Mr Tremblay for concocting such a terrifying and tragic story that kept me turning the pages I m looking forward to checking out his other book.

  4. says:

    I didn t know whether to give this book 5 stars or 1, so I m meeting in the middle.Yes, it scared me In fact, it s exactly 2 41 am and I m awake because of this book And I have to pee, but I m too scared to go to the bathroom by myself and if I wake up my fiance to turn on the bathroom light and wait for me, he will think I m some sort of mixture between stupid and crazy And he would probably be right.There are some problems with this book, including the pacing, the believability of the 8 year old s suspiciously adult like explanations and descriptions, and the unnecessary addition of Karen the blogger I love the real Karen from Goodreads that this character was modeled after, but it doesn t change the fact that the author used the blogger to explain things in the story because he must think we re incapable of following his story on our own, and that we have the IQ of a potato.Oh, but he shows great promise though Never underestimate the power of fear that can be drilled into people s hearts when telling stories about mental illness The schizophrenia wasn t the frightening issue for me It was the paranoia It wasn t the idea of demon possession, either It was the possibility that paranoia can cause unspeakable evil to be committed in this world There are people who are not to be trusted, and whether or not it s their fault is irrelevant Just the possibility that someone can smile while they commit horrific acts is enough to make my blood run cold.

  5. says:

    I was pretty surprised by how forgettable this one was It s one of the popular horror novels this year, and the premise about a young girl named Merry witnessing her family dealing with the possible demonic possession of their daughter and their choice to not only perform an exorcism but to film it for a reality show is a set up for some chilling entertainment But I was uninterested through most of this book Much of it has to do with the terribly inconsistent pacing and lack of narrative urgency When I looked at the bottom of my Kindle and realized that I was coming up on the 50% mark with not much having transpired and with no excitement about continuing, I knew I was in for trouble Some of the problems with the pacing comes from the book s structure and framing device, where we glean the story by switching back and forth from an adult Merry dictating the story of what happened to her family to an author named Rachel doing research for a true crime novel, which leads to the POV of an 8 year old Merry during the traumatizing events But there s also the POV of an annoying blogger dissecting the infamous reality show that documented the events The blogger sections specifically prove to be mostly unnecessary I mean, yea I get it, with these sections we get an idea of what the world knows about the events through the show and the fact that they differ from what might have actually happened but yawn the same thing could ve been done and to an extent was being done in the Merry Rachel sequences much efficiently and with less pages of pop culture references, less shout outs to horror and crime icons, and less words in all caps And as much as I understand choosing to use the little girl POV for the bulk of the novel, it ultimately became a chore, and all the time spent on setting up the 8 year old girl world took away from the real reason that I picked the book up in the first place For example, what was up with Merry refusing to speak to anyone and using notes to talk Ultimately it didn t really amount to anything other than ruining the pacing in what should ve been a really engaging, pivotal chapter.The dialogue also took away a bit and didn t feel genuine, coming across as overly formal and stilted, especially in the conversations between Merry and the writer Rachel The theory that most reviewers seem to have by the end view spoiler that Merry has been the one that was possessed all along, and continues to be hide spoiler

  6. says:

    3.5 stars I enjoyed this novel of possession psychological horror reality television, but I didn t out and out love it It s almost impossible to tell you why without spoilers, but I ll try Here s what I liked the most the shout outs to other authors in the dark fiction genre I m sure I didn t pick up on them all, but I love being made to feel like I m in on something the references to other characters in dark fiction classics one of which is glaringly obvious, and since she was a most fascinating character to me in her first appearance, she was fascinating to me in this one too the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle references to reality television and what it does, not only to viewers but to those being filmed What I did not like was view spoiler the number of twists at the end The first one I lurved and actually did the literary version of a double take when I read it The second one, I did like but it felt over the top to me Though it really cemented the shout out to that fascinating character I mentioned above hide spoiler

  7. says:

    Creepy AF This made my horror loving heart so happy I could NOT stop reading I must say, reading this on a very dark flight home from the Dominican Republic upped the creep factor a full 10 points I was jumping at the slightest noise and just wishing I could turn on a light Life Advice read this in the darkest room possible Candlelight this bitch if you have too

  8. says:

    I ll keep this short and sweet one of the best horror novels maybe the best I ve ever read.

  9. says:

    I had high expectations for this novel I had read Paul Tremblay s collection of short stories, In the Mean Time, earlier this year, and I greatly enjoyed it A Head Full of Ghosts exceeded my expectations.The novel revolves around the Barretts, a middle class suburban family When the elder of the two daughters, Marjorie, begins exhibiting odd behavior, the family becomes concerned As Marjorie s behavior becomes exceeding bizarre, psychology and religion become involved Is Marjorie having a mental breakdown Or is she possessed by a demon The family, desperately in need of financial assistance, accepts an offer to take part in a television show The show will culminate in Marjorie s exorcism.The story is told by the very likable younger sister, Merry, who is eight years old at the time of the occurrences She witnesses the strange behavior of her beloved older sister, but is torn Is Marjorie faking her supposed possesion, or is she truly out of control of her actions Marjorie often frightens Merry with her erratic and disturbing behavior Meantime, the family dynamic is falling apart The constant presence of the tv show crew , priests, and the development of protesting crowds outside of their home do nothing to alleviate the constant stress on the family This arresting novel has the reader questioning the nature of evil Does it really exist, or is it a product of human nature Who is the real devil here And can the nature of our reality ever truly be explained Do not expect to get all of the answers here We are taken on a journey with constant twists and turns, and the ending is, literally, chilling I enjoyed every step of the way The writing is impeccable with one exception Since it only appeared a few times in the book and for good reason , I found the blog to be overly loud in comparison with the steady writing of the rest of the book But I can t complain I got enjoyment here than I bargained for 5 stars

  10. says:

    This is a kind of weird experience Granted it s not the first time that Karen has popped up in a book as a character I can think of two others , but this is the first time that she appears quite a bit at least by name, as the character isn t actually supposed to be her We ll get back to this later on the review though.The book is about a family that was once featured on a reality tv show called Possession, which was as the name suggests about demonic possession The show featured a New England family Mom, dad, two daughters And the eldest, a fourteen year old, was having some kind of mental breakdown and may or may not have been possessed by demons The reality tv show aired for six episodes and featured the decision of the Catholic Church to perform an exorcism on her The story is told from the perspective of the younger daughter about fifteen I think, that would be about right years after the events that happened She s telling her story to a writer whose writing a book about the television show, the family and the aftermath of the TV show Exactly what the book is though isn t clear There are scenes with the twenty something year old Merry youngest daughter talking to the author and giving an adult perspective about what had happened but most of the book is told from the point of view of Merry as a child These parts stay in character mostly, with only a few moments where she will foreshadow about things that she could only know from a later vantage point The third thread of the story is a series of blog posts written by Karen Brissette aka The Last Girl Online which is a name I ve been thinking of calling her from now on, never again using her real name for a horror blog In it she is deconstructing the episodes of the show and using a lot of words that the real Karen would get angry at me if I ever used in a review or conversation It s quite funny to me to see her written that way The book is excellent I went into it thinking that it would be amusing but of interest because of the character of Karen but I ended up loving the book The idea of a novel about a demonic possession isn t really all that interesting to me I don t know if I m in the minority but I never found The Exorcist that scary or interesting Either the book or the movie Maybe in the words of The Usual Suspects, it s because the devil has played his greatest trick on me by making me believe he doesn t exist but the idea of people being possessed by demons I just don t believe in enough to find it that scary I guess i just believe that people have enough reasons and causes to go psychotic and do fucked up shit that I just never think of that they are becoming the vessel of a literal incarnate of pure evil As a horror novel it s not all that scary, but the subject matter definitely puts it into that camp but in the meta horror type arena There is a massive awareness of the genre that it s writing into, especially in the blog posts by the Last Girl Online that everything is situated within the context of films like The Exorcist, all those possession films that came out a few years ago, The Shining, Evil Deads, etc Using those to frame the story there are definite questions that keep coming up about the reality of what we are being told in the fictional universe, it never tries to cross the Brechtian Fourth Wall and make us question if this is actually true say a la the attempts made by the original Blair Witch Project that tried to play off of the idea that this might actually be all true did anyone believe that I don t know yes I m going nuts with the parentheses here for a reason , but I do know that after seeing the movie in the theaters I personally was a little freaked out, and I heard from a friend that he was than a little freaked out driving through the half mile in the woods from the road to his house after going to see it, and he is someone who regularly watched horror movies what does this say I don t know but there was something weirdly powerful about the low budget movie when it first came out The effect of this style creates an interesting feel to the story, but one which never feels like it s being overly forced and just meta for the sake of being self referential and overly clever for the sake of being cute This last little bit really is filled with some spoilers, so I d skip over this, and just maybe take my word that this book is a lot of fun and you should give it a try But if you ve read the book than maybe you ll be interested in continuing view spoiler It s really the last section of the book that made this book a huge winner for me Up until then, it was interesting, but there was a big question that I didn t even realize I d had about the book Why was this story being told I just accepted that it was a re telling of a short lived reality TV show, but why exactly would a writer than a decade later care to write a story about something that one can imagine would have been a curiosity but nothing It s not until near the end of the book that the big reveal comes that is hinted at earlier in a story, but never explicitly expressed that Merry s whole family had been poisoned soon after the events of the show and that she was the sole survivor Before that there was the feeling that maybe Marjorie dies during the exorcism, which begs the question if she was actually possessed or not The reveal and the the story behind what happens comes quickly and by itself is kind of a twisted turn on a book All through the book I felt like Marjorie is faking, there is no way that she was actually possessed, but there were nods and winks that the story that Marjorie was saying about faking it were not actually true But then the ending and the unanswered questions about why Marjorie would get Merry to poison the family subverting the accepted story that it was the father who was doing this It seems to open up a lot of questions at the last moment And yes there are questions, but then there comes with an ambiguity even coming over the big reveal that Merry makes about what happens after she had unintentionally poisoned her family at Marjorie s prodding It s a weirdly subtle unsubtle moment in the coffee shop as she is finishing up telling her story to the writer that the whole story is called into question in another way completely But this time from a fact given in the previous blog post you have to start wondering if Merry aka Karen Brissette isn t in fact possessed by evil As their conversation comes to a close and the temperature begins to drop drastically in the coffee shop it seems as if the comment that she had made as Karen in her blog is telling about the presence of evil mixed with this is the question of the way that Merry was dressed to go to the final meeting with the writer, with her gaudy red coat that called back the outfit the 8 year old Merry wore when she was playing reporter a weird detail that I m not actually sure what to make of, but put in to the strangeness of this last meeting where the already ambiguous story line basically has a hammer taken to it and destroyed, it feels like it should be saying something Normally I m not a huge fan of unanswered questions jammed into the last pages of a book, but the way that the big reveals are followed up by even questions seems to work here, maybe because these questions aren t all that explicit They could be chalked up to the trauma Merry experienced as a kid of they could be calling into question a whole lot of scenes in the book for example this has just come to me Marjorie knew that Merry was possessed the whole time and the whole thing was staged to have her in the room during the exorcism in order to save her and that the story about Dad being the one who was sick and Marjorie doing all this to get him help was really Merry being the one that was sick since we are only getting Merry s view of the story and immediately after she makes this reveal Rachel pretty much says, but that s not what happened and Marjorie changes the part of where she was found and that Merry starts the big reveal by asking Rachel what she knows, so she is possibly giving some new info but only in the context of what is already known instead of letting herself give away too much.Or Merry just kills her family because they aren t paying enough attention to her, they don t buy the Christmas Tree and she didn t really know what she was doing because she was 8 years old.I don t know if the ending was meant to be so open or if I m just reading into it, but even if it wasn t intentional I definitely enjoyed it and it probably earned the book it s final star from me hide spoiler

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A Head Full of Ghosts summary pdf A Head Full of Ghosts, summary chapter 2 A Head Full of Ghosts, sparknotes A Head Full of Ghosts, A Head Full of Ghosts e63e1a6 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 SchizophreniaTo 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 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 LegendFifteen 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

  • Hardcover
  • 286 pages
  • A Head Full of Ghosts
  • Paul Tremblay
  • English
  • 11 February 2017
  • 9780062363237