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Ira Levin (1929–2007)

Author of Rosemary's Baby

36+ Works 14,357 Members 395 Reviews 27 Favorited

About the Author

Ira levin was born on August 27, 1929 in the Bronx, New York. He is best remembered for his novels which were made into feature films, Rosemary's Baby (1968, with Mia Farrow), The Boys from Brazil (1978) and The Stepford Wives (1975 and 2004). Levin's best-known play is Deathtrap, which holds the show more record as the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway. (It was also made into a feature film in 1982, starring Christpher Reeve.) His first novel, A Kiss Before Dying, earned him the 1954 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Ira Levin died in Manhattan from a heart attack on November 12, 2007. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the names: Ira Levin, Ira Levin, Ira Marvin Levin

Series

Works by Ira Levin

Rosemary's Baby (1967) 4,644 copies
The Stepford Wives (1972) 3,078 copies
The Boys from Brazil (1976) 2,065 copies
This Perfect Day (1970) 1,298 copies
A Kiss before Dying (1953) 1,292 copies
Sliver (1990) 744 copies
Son of Rosemary (1997) 634 copies
Veronica's Room (1974) 87 copies
Critic's Choice (1656) 36 copies
Three by Ira Levin (1985) 31 copies
No Time for Sergeants (1955) 28 copies
A Kiss before Dying [1956 film] (1956) — Novel — 14 copies

Associated Works

The Mousetrap and Other Plays (1978) — Introduction, some editions — 1,144 copies
The Stepford Wives [2004 film] (2004) — Original book — 179 copies
Deathtrap [1982 film] (1982) — Story — 91 copies
A Treasury of Modern Mysteries, Volume 2 (1973) — Contributor — 74 copies
The Stepford Wives [1975 film] (1975) — Original book — 66 copies
The Boys from Brazil [1978 film] (1978) — Original book — 52 copies
Best American Plays: Fourth Series, 1951-1957 (1958) — Contributor — 43 copies
The Vintage Book of Classic Crime (1993) — Contributor — 34 copies
Bunny Lake is Missing [1965 film] (1965) — Writer — 32 copies

Tagged

1970s (53) 20th century (81) American (80) American literature (92) classic (55) classics (71) crime (87) drama (98) dystopia (123) ebook (63) fantasy (53) feminism (63) fiction (1,532) hardcover (48) horror (1,051) Ira Levin (79) Kindle (79) literature (75) made into movie (47) movie (54) murder (51) mystery (438) Nazis (49) New York (57) novel (270) own (55) play (77) plays (120) read (213) Roman (54) Satanism (79) science fiction (490) sf (79) supernatural (47) suspense (214) theatre (72) thriller (460) to-read (845) unread (82) USA (53)

Common Knowledge

Members

Discussions

futuristic drugged society in Name that Book (April 2012)
Ira Levin, 1929-2007 in Authors In Memoriam (November 2007)

Reviews

I think this might be one that I change my rating to five stars in the future. For the time being, I'm going to give it four. I read this book in one day, I already knew the story from the movie, but reading the book was just revisiting that experience. If I were to have gone into the book blind, I think that it would have been an immediate five stars, I will sit on it and see!

Rosemary is trapped and it is so frustrating! I hate her neighbors, I hate her husband, and I hate her damn baby! That being said, I think that Rosemary's Baby says a lot about the 60s, the second wave of feminism, and the fears of a world outside our control. The ending of the novel filled me with rage, never has a book been able to give me that much of a reaction. This was great and I'm excited to read more horror from the latter half of the 20th century.… (more)
 
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tayswift1477 | 138 other reviews | May 15, 2024 |
First thing you need to know about this book is that it is slow burning horror. We follow young couple, Rosemary and Guy, as they move into flat in the building full of mystery and given a wide berth by majority of New Yorkers. They meet loving old couple next door and very soon mysterious events start to take place.

Some people would say that Rosemary is a dull character. I would not say dull, I would say she is average person from that time and age. She married a man she loves and she wants to have kids (I do understand this might be a little bit weird for this age) - she gave up her career and decided to invest herself into being a mother but she is not dimwit in any way. For this time and age where people are rarely talking to each other and mostly do not know their neighbors (especially in city areas) story presents quite a different society. Story takes place when neighbor was seen as a friend and a helper. Especially older people - even if sometimes they can be seen as tedious etiquette said that one should always be polite and considerate with them.

So when this loving older couple starts to become more and more nosy and partaking in Rosemary's life she has no other way out than to "weather it out" so to speak. Unfortunately this will lead to rather unwanted events. Rosemary shows to be very capable to connect the dots and contact people she trusts to help her - but when walls of isolation keep closing in her desperation and feeling of utter betrayal start to take the best of her.

I like the way story brews from Rosemary meeting the neighbors, strange behavior of her husband to her pregnancy followed by some very weird events and accidents happening to people Rosemary used to know. Author constantly balances on that thread that separates normal from crazy - but if all around are crazy is the observer perhaps the only sane one? The calm tone of the novel, presenting events as if they were the most normal - this is the true horror.

Ending was little bit unexpected for me but I assume that crazed up Rosemary had no other option but to embrace her maternal feelings (no matter how weird this might be).

Recommended to fans of horror stories.
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Zare | 138 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |
I have to admit that Ira Levin was quite a discovery for me. It seems he is a prolific writer very like Philip K Dick but without that LSD-ish touch od PKD's novels.

Story starts with comments from very active and emancipated woman Joanne on her new neighborhood - together with husband and kids she arrives into suburban Stepford and starts looking around the neighborhood. First thing she notices is that women of Stepford dont have any social gatherings and generally have their lives centered around their husbands and house works - willingly and entirely! Everything looks like a throwback to some earlier times and Joanne is puzzled because it looks like gender equality and women rights movements somehow never gained traction in Stepford.

What starts as a rather simple detective story quickly spirals into that most horrifying of horror stories - one of complete lost of identity, oneself in its entirety without any way to prevent it. The very way story culminates ... it is superb storytelling. Reader is left in the dark about what exactly goes on and is left guessing. And this is additional strength of the novel, something needs to be left to imagination, right? And nothing creates dark assumptions as wandering mind.

Highly recommended to all fans of good thriller.
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Zare | 90 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |
I read this book in a single day.

There are novels that are tightly linked to the time when they were published. So when read in modern times and outside the targeted-era they seem out-of-place, maybe even demode.

And then there are books that are timeless. And this book is timeless.

Sure you may say that here main antagonists are [again] Nazi's, timeless evildoers that are ready to kill anyone and everyone in order to achieve their goal. What is it that makes this book different from Ludlum's works i.e.

I will say subject and characters.

Main subject is something that in the 1970's when novel was published might be in domain of the SF but today is in domain of very possible (if not already perfected) - cloning a person. But not just cloning a person to have the same genetic structure as a person donating the genetic materiel. Story goes one step more to show that in order to get a perfect (or near perfect) copy of somebody then new organism (I truly do not know how to call it - clone?) needs to be placed under the same stressors and external pressures because while genetic structure defines us great deal - our life experiences are what makes the true difference. And again it does not guarantee that end result will be 100% copy but chances grow.

When notorious dr Mengele pops up author gives us the person that most definitely had enough theoretical and [oh horrors] practical knowledge when it comes to genetics and gene manipulation.

So as you can see all the ingredients are in and story sounds very believable. Characters of Mengele and Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman are just gorgeous. One thinking about himself as a supreme being with holy task at hand and the other getting more and more ignored by others as years pass by [because world is tired of hunting the war criminals]. Even the para-military Jewish organization Ezra contacts for help seems so hungry-for-blood to Ezra that he decides to prevent them from exterminating all the Mengele's subjects. Because as Ezra says if we act as them [Nazis] then are we any better than them? Standard dilemma but coming from the concentration camp survivor after a discussion with heated youth seeking revenge and only revenge .... it has a different feeling.

And ending. It leaves you wandering. Indeed.

Excellent book, highly recommended to all lovers of good thriller.
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Zare | 41 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |

Lists

1950s (1)
1970s (4)
1960s (1)

Awards

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Statistics

Works
36
Also by
20
Members
14,357
Popularity
#1,597
Rating
½ 3.7
Reviews
395
ISBNs
489
Languages
25
Favorited
27

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