This is a brilliant and sinister read. The film is better known than the book. I wasn’t even aware that there was a book until recently.
The story follows Rosemary Woodhouse, who moves into a New York apartment block with her husband, Guy. The block has a reputation for terrible things happening, but it’s a fashionable location. While Guy builds his career as an actor, Rosemary busies herself decorating the apartment and longing for a baby. Finally her wish comes true. Their elderly neighbours, the Castevets, are extremely friendly but there is something odd about them. Why are they so interested in the baby and why is Guy spending so much time with them? And who can Rosemary trust?
Not simply a scary novel, Rosemary’s Baby investigates both the horrors and joys of motherhood. It also examines how far people will go to further their careers, whether doctors really do have patients’ best interests at heart and the power of belief. 1960s New York is also an interesting and unlikely setting for satanic rituals, which is partly why Rosemary questions her own observations so much. The relationship between her and Guy is a focus too, with their communication breaking down. The horror in the novel is gradual and creeping. At only 229 pages it’s also easy to read, with a straightforward style.
First published in 1967. This 2011 Corsair edition has a good introduction by Chuck Palahniuk.