Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

I read Rosemary’s Baby yesterday, and a few weeks ago I read The Stepford Wives; I can recommend both.

Mr. Levin is a bad, bad man. He is a master of uncertainty. At several points in the novel you find yourself believing just for a moment that Rosemary might be alright, just before he puts that again into doubt. He keeps this up right until the very last moment, when… well, I won’t spoil it for you.

The use of dramatic irony is brilliant too; recognising what’s going on, you find yourself gripping the book in both hands gurning and muttering ‘Oh Rosemary, you didn’t ought to!’ under your breath. And then Levin brings back that uncertainty again. Did I truly recognise what’s going on? Or am I mistaken, and she’ll be fine…?

My only real complaint was that the proofing in the Corsair editions of both texts was bad; there were several obvious errors in the type – misplaced letters and punctuation etc.

Much of what I’ve said about Rosemary’s Baby applies to The Stepford Wives, too. Never certain. The Stepford Wives, however, has more obvious, and grim echoes between then and now, with the groups of men getting together to punish feminist movements, which should make any reader with an ounce of equality or compassion in their heart at least a little uneasy.

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