A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel

Paperback | May 10, 2016

byPaul Tremblay

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WINNER OF THE 2015 BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A NOVEL

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends psychological suspense and supernatural horror, reminiscent of Stephen King's The Shining, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist.

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 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 more 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 legend.

Fifteen 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.

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From the Publisher

WINNER OF THE 2015 BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A NOVELA chilling thriller that brilliantly blends psychological suspense and supernatural horror, reminiscent of Stephen King's The Shining, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist.The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban...

From the Jacket

“Terrific. . . . Generates a haze of an altogether more serious kind: the pleasurable fog of calculated, perfectly balanced ambiguity.”—New York Times Book ReviewThe 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’ ...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.72 inPublished:May 10, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062363247

ISBN - 13:9780062363244

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Customer Reviews of A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Reality TV meets The Exorcist The premise here is creepy enough: a down-on-their-luck family who thinks their daughter may be possessed (or do they?) sell their story as a reality tv show. The novel is told from the point of view of the youngest Barrett, so you're never quite sure what's real and what's going on. While this is not the most horrifying story I've ever read, the suspense and questions just build & build to a climatic ending. I definitely had to stop reading once or twice when I was home alone. There are a few scenes that are graphic in nature (comparing them to The Exorcist, as another poster did, is absolutely correct). My absolute favourite part was the not knowing - at some points I was 100% convinced this was a story about a poor young girl, possessed. At others, I thought maybe Marjorie was actually just trying to alleviate her parents financial woes. This needs to be made into a movie ASAP!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Halloween Read! This is one of the scariest books I've ever read!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Recommended! I’d heard quite a bit about this book before I finally got around to reading it, and I knew it would make a great Halloween read (I even finished it on October 31). I really enjoyed the way the story jumped back and forth in time, and the way information was sometimes revealed in the “present” and then shown later in the “past”. This story was a fascinating look at the relationship between Merry, our narrator, and her older sister, Marjorie. Was Marjorie truly possessed? Was she a troubled girl who needed more help than she received? What role did her parents’ financial woes play – is that why they agreed to make a reality show out of their family’s struggle? Merry is a tricky narrator, because she was eight years old when everything was happening with Marjorie and the reality show. How much did Mary understand of what was happening, and of what she saw and heard? And how accurate are those memories, after the passage of so many years? This book had its creepy moments, but it didn’t frighten me. However, if you found The Exorcist terrifying, be warned – there are some similarities that may get to you! The ending of A Head Full of Ghosts took me off guard, and I was still thinking about it a couple of days after I finished reading. Recommended!
Date published: 2016-07-30

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Editorial Reviews

“Tremblay paints a believable portrait of a family in extremis emotionally as it attempts to cope with the unthinkable ...Whether psychological or supernatural, this is a work of deviously subtle horror.”