A Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay - a review
I love horror. I enjoy being frightened and disturbed by what I'm reading (or watching). The world is a scary place and horror can be a dress rehearsal and give us lessons in how to survive.
I love clever writing. I enjoy narratives that are self-aware and politically aware. I'm also a sucker for self-referencing and Easter eggs.
This book was written for me. Well it wasn't. I doubt Paul Tremblay knows my name, but it felt as though it was told just for me while I read the book.
A Head Full of Ghosts is a clever and layered novel. The Barrett family's tragic story is told by the youngest daughter, Merry, in interviews with a writer and as flashbacks. The same story is dissected and deconstructed by a blogger who reviews, considers and discusses the reality TV show filmed in the family's home. In this way Tremblay both constructs and deconstructs his narrative, looking at horror tropes, misogyny and mental distress as entertainment.
Describing the novel like this might make it sound too intellectual, too meta, but it delves deep into the darkness and is full of tense moments and unexpected scares. It works well as both a horror novel and a thesis on the horror genre. It may be my favourite book of this decade.