Four decades after it first shook the nation, then the world, William Peter Blatty's thrilling masterwork of faith and demonic possession returns in an even more powerful form. Raw and profane, shocking and blood-chilling, it remains a modern parable of good and evil and perhaps the most terrifying novel ever written.
©2011 William Peter Blatty (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers
I listened to this book while my wife was out of town. Bad idea. I slept with the lights on the whole weekend. I'm 35.
The author does an unusually phenomenal job of narration, I wish he'd only been a more prolific writer I'd love to hear more of his work and his narration. The book took me to a darker place than I remember when i saw the movie for the first time 15 years ago.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
I know we all have our Exorcist movie experiences. The movie came out my senior year in high school and even Time Magazine gave it a huge exposé and for years most of us think of it as a mortifyingly realistic horror story. It is much, much more than this.
This book, especially this audible version read by its author, is a masterpiece of tragedy and mystery. My favorite character is Kinderman, the old, Columbo type detective. He provides the comic relief during the horror, reminding us there is a normal world carrying on during the possession.
I like that the story reveals the priests as professional, human and loyal to the Church whether their faith is weak or strong. And how accurate he is regarding the Church's official teachings and history. The great emphasis the Church places on science and truth. Finally, how clever he reveals shame and guilt as the powerful entities they truly are.
A couple of interesting notes if you are interested. You can listen at 1.5 x speed and lose none of the emotional content. Years ago I purchased the director's cut of the movie and watched the version with the director explaining all the shots and angles and just what he was wanting the audience to understand. It was then I grasped the depth of the story.
This is an easy 5 star experience.
I'd never read the book -- I did see the film, of course, but now, decades later, I remembered only two scenes, probably the same ones you remember. But this is a fine novel by any standard -- much more complex and nuanced that I ever expected. Back then, I guess I was too engrossed in the green puke and turning heads to realize that there was a real story here, and a good one. The struggles of Father Damien are really touching. Quite a story.
But really, what made this book among my favorites -- and yes, I will listen to this one again -- is the author's narration. I actually had to go look, to see if William Peter Blatty had acting experience in his background -- and no, apparently not, but wow. He's seriously talented -- famed as a scriptwriter, director and novelist, but apparently he stayed on the other side of the camera. But Blatty as narrator is absolutely excellent -- one of the best narrations of anything I've ever heard. He manages the Irish brogues, the Brooklyn cant, the whole panoply of DC accents with aplomb, worth a listen for that alone, see how a master really interprets a novel. The whole thing, every scene, just comes alive.
Not to be missed, this one.
Overall, I thought this was a great download. I tried to read the original, and thought it was a little slow after seeing the movie and being terrified. This audio version solved that. William Peter Blatty does a fantastic job! I agree with the other reviewer that his voice is made for narration. I too am leery of any author who reads their own work, but I can't imagine a better narrator.
I was a little confused with the addition of the little girl voice three-quarters of the way through the book. It was disconcerting to hear after we have been hearing Blatty's voice for so long, but it really didn't make much sense to me since Blatty also does Regan's voice before the possession so suddenly hearing her as a little girl seemed unnecessary.
Overall, a creepy, great autumn listen!
Sometimes its great to be old. It is great to remember sitting in a packed house watching, "The Exorcist," when it was first released, even if it meant I had to sit their with my mother. Odd that "The Exorcist," should form some sort of consistent source of entertainment or inspiration, throughout my life, having read it in print a couple of times, having watched the film, in one form or another, at least once a year, since owning a film became a doable thing, I have listened to the original book, also read by the author, three or four times, and now I have had the great pleasure of listening to that same author, reading an updated and expanded version.
Okay, so I have more than just a wee fascination with this story and this topic. I love Mia Farrow reading, "Rosemary's Baby," and I wish Audible offered Malachi Martin's, "Hostage to the Devil," and Thomas B. Allen's, "Possessed," a case study of an exorcism taken from a Jesuit's diary, and the case that "The Exorcist," is said to be based on.Well, they are not available, but what a treat it is, after all these years, to have a new version of "The Exorcist,", so easily available, and, best of all, read once again, by the author. I don't think there is a narrator out there who is any scarier sounding than William Peter Blatty. His voice has those dark, ominous tones, and the voice of the demon is, to my ears, anyway, always lurking. I guess that is why I did like having the young girl reading Regan's voice on the tape that her mom loans to Father Karras. I appreciate her pure, sweet voice, that contains nothing dark...not one shadow of Captain Howdy. It worked for me, as did the whole book.
I think there are around three more hours in this version than the original audio book, and that time is divided up in expanded conversations and entirely new conversations and scenes, as well as more psychiatric descriptions and indecision, and more descriptions of the particulars of possession. If you are interested in the topic, you will probably find it as fascinating as I did. Personally, I love being able to hear what has been percolating inside William Peter Blatty's mind, , all these years. I appreciate Audible and the author making it possible. Thumbs up!!
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
The atmosphere and eeriness of the movie is captured in the book.
The Shining by Stephen King. Both are about children in danger and needing rescuing. Both are very scary. Both are excellent!
I think when Karras sees Merrin on the floor and realizes that he will have to save Regan with all of his doubts. He is her only hope.
No, too long but it only took me a week. I picked Halloween week because it's a perfect listen for the holiday.
I usually don't like the author reading his own works. (Stephen King does not always read his books as well as professionals). Blatty however does such a great job of getting the demons and nuances of the work that I couldn't imagine any one else doing it. I also liked the tape of the innocent Regan talking to her mom. Helps to set the stage.
One more thing. This book is definately rated R. Not for the faint of heart or person who doesn't like profanity. This is one for the record books.
Tell us about yourself! I love to escape into a good book.
This is a spell binding story that will have you from page one.
Still the scariest film ever made in my opinion.
What a great narration by William Peter Blatty, set the right tone for this book.
The book begins with a prologue which is set in modern day Iraq, at the site of the ancient city of Nineveh. A Jesuit at the excavation feels a premonition of horror and receives signs that there is about to be an otherworldly confrontation when he sees a figurine of the demon Pazuzu entwined with a medal of St. Joseph. The scene then shifts to Georgetown, where a young girl Reagan McNeil, daughter of a famous actress, falls mysteriously ill. Following an onset of very obviously paranormal disturbances which psychiatric treatment can little resolve, she turns to a Jesuit priest: Father Damien Karras. The narrative then follows Karras' attempts to diagnose the situation and at last he obtains approval from the church to assist in an exorcism to be conducted by Father Lankester Merrin, newly returned from Iraq. The two priests attempt to exorcise the girl evidently possessed by a demon. The book follows Karras's struggle with his own faith as well as his attempt to face the new dangers that the possession causes.
Usually an author does a terrible job of narrating but this author is an exception. He did an amazing job telling an amazing story. His accents were so good and his portrayal of the demon would send shivers down my spine.
I am a school counselor that loves horror, fantasy, autobiographies, self-help, and Christian genres. I am a BIG bookworm! Reading is life!
I have actually seen "The Exorcist" several times so I was pretty impressed how well the movie followed the book. It was spot on except a few small detail changes. I will say, I wish that the book was as brief as the movie because I thought it was a little lengthy and too detailed!
The actual story was good and interesting. I think what makes it so scary is that it's real! The story is loosely based off of a real case of demonic possession but a boy was possessed instead of a girl.
I did have some difficulty getting through the book in a timely manner because there were periods where it was heavily detailed. At times, I would zone out and get lost because it would get overwhelming. I understand why William Peter Blatty went so detailed to show how things came to be but I don't think it was needed.
I've seen the movie many times, and decided to listen to the book based on other reviews. I couldn't agree more, William Peter Blatty is an AMAZING narrator. This is possibly the best audio performance I've ever heard. He brings the characters to life and managed to actually be scary, even with a story that I was already well-familiar with.
There were a couple things about the psychiatric theories of the day that were maybe a little dated, but apart from that small quibble it was a great, compelling story that kept me listening right from the start.
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