This is the second of Ira Levin’s books I’ve read in the past week; they aren’t challenging which has been great for my minimal attention span, but they are interesting, have great character development, and spooky plots, so when I can keep my mind on a book, I’m immediately captured by the plot. It was The Stepford Wives I read recently; this one wasn’t quite as good in terms of plot but the people he described were much more alive and vivid so it was a case of gain some, lose some.
The story is of Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, a young couple recently moved into a New York apartment building that has a history of hauntings, murders, and suicides. Guy, an up-and-coming actor, is an extraordinarily selfish man, obsessed with his career, and Rosemary is his troubled and recently pregnant wife, who suspects Guy of something, but she doesn’t know what. Something is going on in the apartment building, something is wrong, and at the centre of it, Rosemary thinks, are the elderly couple next door, the Castavets.
One thing that I particularly enjoyed in the book beyond the plot was a snippet of conversation that Rosemary had with a friend about the prospect of leaving Broadway behind for the sunnier climes of Hollywood as it was in 1967:
”’I’d like to have a spice garden some day’, Rosemary said. ‘Out of the city, of course. If Guy ever gets a movie offer we’re going to grab it and go live in Los Angeles. I’m a country girl at heart.’”
Los Angeles, 2010: no country girls need apply!
New word learned: I’ve seen the term infra dig countless times and never bothered to look it up. This time I did. It means ‘beneath one’s dignity’, or ‘unbecoming’, and is from the Latin infra dignitatem.
Now reading: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky.