So, 2020 was a really weird year. Obviously. But 2021 has been even stranger (for a lot of reasons to many people).
For me, 10 September 2021 marks nearly a whole year that I did not begin and finish an entire book. Since learning how to read, I don’t think I’ve gone so long between my readings of a book from cover to cover.
What was the book that broke my shameful non-reading streak? Was it À la Recherche du Temps Perdu? Maybe I finally got around to Pride and Prejudice, or Jane Eyre, or the USA trilogy by John dos Passos?
Hahahaha! No. No, you silly, stupid, hopeful, too-much-credit-giving-people!
No, the first book I’ve read cover to cover in 2021 is The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. And I’m not chiding myself at all. I’ve read a couple of other Ira Levin novels and loved them, especially Rosemary’s Baby.
Honestly, The Stepford Wives reminded me a great deal of Rosemary’s Baby, as there were so many similar elements. In fact, I would go so far as to say the major elements were identical:
- the stories start with a move to a new place
- things immediately seem weird
- the wife seems to find a kindred soul
- something terrible happens to the kindred soul which ties to the aforementioned weirdness
- a husband conspires with other men about the fate of his wife
- the main variable of each wife’s fate is her body
- the husband has been conspiring since before the move took place
- the wife being conspired against is gaslighted
- then she’s coaxed to her doom by people who swear they won’t hurt her
- no happy ending (sorry!)
But man oh man, did I just keep turning those pages in both books. Same with another Levin novel, The Boys from Brazil.
In Danse Macabre, his non-fiction book about horror books and movies published in the 80s, Stephen King called Ira Levin “the Swiss watchmaker of suspense novels,” and that hairy genius was absolutely correct.
To close this post, just want to say I really hope I won’t be writing at the end of the year that the only book I read in 2021 was The Stepford Wives.
I will receive a small commission from any book sold on Bookshop via this blog. I guess I’m supposed to tell you that? I’m not sure.
Other Books Mentioned in This Post (Pssst! You can buy them by clicking the buttons under the titles!)
In Search of Lost Time Vol. 1 – Swann’s Way
The USA Trilogy
The 42nd Parallel (Volume 1)
1919 (Volume 2)
The Big Money (Volume 3)
Rosemary’s Baby *
The Boys from Brazil *
Titles marked with an asterisk (*) and highlighted in this color are not commissioned sales.