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!!
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.
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.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
Guess, I will get blasted for this, but someone has got to tell it as it is. Just buy the movie. The movie is scary. This is long and boring. This was more a study in psychiatry then anything else. A lot of the story dealt with the life of the divorced, actress mother. My biggest horror was seeing the rating and the reviews after I read the book. Someone needs to exorcise these reviews.
Narrator was great. I was expecting to hear complaints about the author reading his own work, but I was with everyone on this one, they guy has a scary voice.
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
Holy crap! I can remember watching this as a kid in the dark. I loved being so freaked out and so scared and curious about the world and if this kind of thing can actually happen. Not much has changed in those twenty years! I'm still really curious and still love being scared, which is why I jumped at the chance to review the audio version of The Exorcist!
Not only am I excited that this is in audio but I'm super excited that the author is narrating this! He has a really interesting voice that adds to the drama of the story itself. A sense of hypnosis happened while listening to his voice which again, just adds to the zen before the horror starts. I think it's also great when authors narrate their own stories. They are the only ones that know exactly where they want the anticipation to heighten or when to add in a softness that other narrators may not pick up on.
Overall this was amazing. There are a few differences if you compare the book and the movie. Firstly is being able to get into the thoughts of the characters more. I was able to completely understand how the mother is really into making sure that Reagan is ok after her parent's divorce. She is very into Reagan's life and in the beginning of Reagan's "illness" she is trying to take Regan to everyone she can think of to get Reagan better. She even has a career opportunity that she gives up for Reagan and I don't remember any of that coming through in the movie. Being able to hear how solid and secure she is and then watching her entire self get slowly chipped away was a huge thing that I think wasn't in the movie. Chris is completely flabbergasted and at her wit's end! I could feel her tension in every part of the book, even when it seems like nothing is going on that is that crazy.
Also, there is Father Carries. He is completely unable to believe in God or Demons which creates another huge amount of tension. He's a normal guy that is just faced with some real questions in life. Something we ALL go through.
So, I was loving the story, three hours in the intensity goes from ok, this is creepy to HOLY CRAP!! IT has started!
Going back to how the narration is done I am in love with William Peter Blatty's voice. He has an almost guttural quality, or a scratchiness that totally lends itself to this type of book. At times his voice could be soothing and welcoming or sounding completely insane! He easily transformed between the two. The only downside is that the second narrator, Eliana Shaskan, only had small parts. I think it may have added even more if she voiced more female parts but it didn't really take away from the story because (yet again I'm gushing here) William Peter Blatty was amazing!
As the story intensifies I did notice quite a few of the scenes were in the movie. I was pleasantly surprised because these became the iconic scenes and statements. Like when Linda Blair's head does a 360, or when the demon is calling Regan a sow. All of the gruesomeness that I loved in the movie was there, and more! It's a lot to pack into a two hour movie but just enough for a book. The intensity does ratchet up quite a bit but there are some down times to the plot. Kinderman is trying to figure out the crime while the priest is trying to be a psychiatrist, and the people in the house are dealing with this gruesome being that used to be a sweet little girl.
Audiobook purchased for review by the ABR.
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Yes, this is a testament to the power of a narrator to bring the listener in the room.
I felt the characters were individual and very real as a result of the narration.
The possession, but alas this is another fabulous book.
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