I’ll be at WORD bookstore in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 18th, from 7:00 to 8:30, and so will the awesome Laird Barron and Cara Hoffman.
Math warning! Then a slight review!
I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. It’s really 3.7564536 stars, an irrational number that I’ve rounded for your benefit. Remember an irrational number is a number with a decimal that never ends and never repeats. Or, a simpler way, perhaps, of remembering it, is that the number cannot be written as a fraction like rational numbers (2/3 is rational, so is -4 because that can be expressed at -4/1.). e, pi, square root of 2 are examples of irrational numbers. The real numbers are made up of both rational and irrational numbers. Despite our using rational numbers almost exclusively in our everyday math lives (yes, you do use them, I hear you snickering in the back row), the irrational numbers are dense in the real number system. What does that mean? Well, let’s imagine a real number line stretching from one corner of the universe to the other, with it conveniently wrapping around the earth once or twice, and I gave every person who ever lived a dart. Before perishing everyone gets a chance to throw the dart at the number line, which is comprised of both rational numbers (again, 2, 1, 0, -3, 2/3 etc) and irrational numbers. The probability that anyone would hit a rational number on that number line is 0. If you’re still with me, yeah 0. No tricks like the dart misses or bounces off like when you think you hit a bullseye but only hit the stupid metal circle enclosing the bullseye. Probability of 0, no statistical chance of hitting a rational number. Because…in the real number system there are no consecutive rational numbers, which implies that there are infinite irrationals between any two rationals, so that number line would essentially be those infinite irrationals between those two lonely rationals stuck somewhere at the edges of the (mostly) infinite universe. You know those rationals are out there somewhere, but you’ll never be able to hit them. Find them.
Reading THE FAMILIAR vol 1 is like dealing with and thinking about irrational numbers. You sense them there more than you know they’re there. You know there’s some grand, deeper meaning hidden in the seemingly random stretch of numbers that never repeat, but it’s just beyond your grasp.
House of Leaves is one of my favorite novels ever. Only Revolutions I couldn’t finish and thought the typographical trickery was just that. In THE FAMILIAR it works as there’s a wonderful sense of visual rhythm (as opposed to textual rhythm) within the book that’s genius.
The heart of the book are the Xanther sections. They are well done and compelling (although she’s a little precious and treated as the glass-figurine-little-girl (and the big emotional climax hinges on an everyday creature that made me say really? (and I said it out loud, like twice, in a lumpy space princess accent too))). Some of the other story threads are, frankly, an unreadable mess, but still entertaining.
There is more than enough there to keep me going. I do worry how, if this is to be a 27 volume THING, I can possibly keep up with this ever expanding irrational number.
I know, I know, I’ve been endlessly blabbing on and on about the book, but A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS is a real thing now. Crazy, yeah? Yes. It is. Today I’m feeling thankful and incredibly, obnoxiously lucky to have so many amazing friends and loved ones and talented cohorts who’ve helped and supported me, even when I didn’t/don’t deserve it.
Last night the wonderful Brookline Booksmith hosted a reading/discussion with my good friend, the brilliant and sometimes angry Jack Haringa as interviewer/James Lipton.
Make with the pictures, already, and some
poignant funny descriptive words!
Jack’s kind intro and fun questions. I only got 9 and 10 correct.
Here’s a goofy pic of me listening to the intro. Maybe thinking about food when Jack said “tantalizing”
Next up, a couple of pictures of the discussion. We were such happy discussers! I hold the mic with my left hand apparently. Who knew?
After the event a
mob posse gaggle gathering group of revelers friends and family when down the street to the Fireplace and ate tantalizing appetizers. I personally completed a meat Olympiad: salmon, short rib, lamb, slider burger, chicken wing(s). You’ll notice my brother’s large head in one shot. If you look closely you’ll see my sister and her husband Steve; their house was the model/setting for the house in AHFoG. I thank them for letting me make their cute house creepy.
One final picture and a warning. This is my copy of A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. If I get the opportunity to sign your book, you’re going to sign mine as well. Fair is fair!
Here’s what the morning after a release party looks like. It ain’t pretty. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Sorry, just coughed up something nasty. Me and ineffable evil shuffling to the laptop
to obsessively read ever digital pixel that might be said about my book today to check the weather, some email, that kind of thing.
Thank you everyone who came out last night. Thank you to those sending along kind messages, and to those who may purchase the book.
If you’ll allow me to get a little contemplative navel-gaze-y I admitted to the crowd (yes, crowd, there was a crowd: noun, a large number of people gathered together, typically in a disorganized or unruly way) last night that after my second novel was published and didn’t sell well at all, I allowed myself to sink into a self-pitying writing funk that lasted for longer than I care to admit. I only came out of it because of the support of friends and family. I’m eternally grateful to them all.
So lets end with the text of the acknowledgements pages from the book:
FIRST AND FOREMOST, thanks to Lisa, Cole, Emma, and the rest of my family who love, support, and put up with me. My wife, Lisa, went above and beyond this time around being a beta reader and her input was invaluable. Thanks to my sister Erin and brother-in-law Steve who let me fictionalize their house.
Huge thanks to this novel’s other beta reader, the talented John Mantooth. I think it was Louis Maistros who once said, “Being asked to read another writer’s rough draft is the literary equivalent of being asked to help a friend move a couch to a new place.” He’s so right, and I so appreciate the heavy lifting that John did with this book.
More huge thanks to my agent, Stephen “They’re coming to get you” Barbara, for his friendship, advice, and support. I’m so lucky to have him on my side.
A thousand and one thank-yous to my amazing editor, Jennifer Brehl. She helped make this the best book it could be. I’d never be able to fully explain how much her belief in me and this book means. (Everyone, put down the book and clap for Jen, please.)
Big thanks to Camille Collins, Pamela Jaffe, Ashley Marudas, Andrea Molitor, Kelly O’Connor, Caroline Perny, and everyone at William Morrow for their support, enthusiasm, and hard work. I’m so proud to be working alongside all these great people.
Thank you to two of my best friends and co-conspirators, John Langan and Laird Barron, for listening to me whine, agitate, complain, pontificate, and fret my way through this book, once a week by phone (and too occasionally in person).
Thank you to friends and colleagues who’ve supported, inspired, and helped keep me sane: Karen Brissette (the real one!), Ken Cornwell, Brett Cox, JoAnn Cox, Ellen Datlow, Kurt Dinan, Steve Eller, Steve Fisher, Andy Falkous and Future of the Left, Geoffrey Goodwin, Brett Gurewitz and Bad Religion, Page Hamilton, Jack Haringa, John Harvey, Stephen Graham Jones, Sandra Kasturi, Matt Kressel, Michael Lajoie, Sarah Langan, Jennifer Levesque, Kris Meyer, Stewart O’Nan, Brett Savory, Mark Haskell Smith, Simon Strantzas, Dave Zeltserman, and Your Pretty Name.
So A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS got a great mini-review in the New York Times. Hot damn!
“Paul Tremblay’s terrific A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS generates a haze of an altogether more serious kind: the pleasurable fog of calculated, perfectly balanced ambiguity…. By the end of “A Head Full of Ghosts,” you may not be able to say with certainty whether Marjorie’s demon exists, but you know in your bones that evil does.”
So, this is exciting news, yeah? Huge thanks to Stephen Barbara, Steve Fisher, and Carly Norris for all they’ve done behind the scenes to get this going. I sort of don’t know what to say other than, wow and OMG and other joyously inarticulate utterings!
“EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features just won an auction for rights to make an elevated genre movie from A Head Full Of Ghosts, the upcoming thriller novel by Paul Tremblay. William Morrow publishes the book next month. Focus prevailed in an auction that also had TriStar in hot pursuit. Deals are being closed for Ben Collins & Luke Piotrowski to write the script and for Dan Dubiecki’sAllegiance Theater to produce with Team Downey, the shingle run by Robert Downey Jr and Susan Downey.”
And mentioned in Variety too!!!!
A Head Full of Ghosts got a starred and boxed review in Publisher’s Weekly. Clicky…
“Tremblay paints a believable portrait of a family in extremis emotionally as it attempts to cope with the unthinkable, but at the same time he slyly suggests that in a culture where the wall between reality and acting has eroded, even the make believe might seem credible. Whether psychological or supernatural, this is a work of deviously subtle horror.”
Also, the very cool site This Is Horror (UK) posted an in-depth review of AHFoG:
“The beauty of A Head Full of Ghosts is that there are a number of possible interpretations of the events and that the conclusions drawn by one reader may be very different to those drawn by another.…One thing is certain, though, A Head Full of Ghosts is a masterfully written book that will certainly appeal to horror fans, and which deserves to find a wider audience among lovers of thought-provoking fiction across the entire literary spectrum.”–Richard Cosgrove
Lastly, from Kirkus:
“As the adult Merry’s memories clash with the televised version of events leading up to the climactic final episode of The Possession—it’s not spoiling too much to say that everything that could go wrong does—readers will begin to question if anyone in the house is truly sane.Tremblay expertly ratchets up the suspense until the tension is almost at its breaking point.”
William Morrow is giving away 10 advanced reader edition copies of A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS between now an 4/26. All you have to do is follow the link to enter.
My publisher has also posted the first three chapters online. A sample! A taste! A teaser? Eh, go read ’em if you want the early look.
Good luck and enjoy!