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Summary

Father Damien Karras: 'Where is Regan?' Regan MacNeil: 'In here. With us.'

The terror begins unobtrusively. Noises in the attic. In the child's room, an odd smell, the displacement of furniture, an icy chill. At first, easy explanations are offered. Then frightening changes begin to appear in eleven-year-old Regan. Medical tests fail to shed any light on her symptoms, but it is as if a different personality has invaded her body.

Father Damien Karras, a Jesuit priest, is called in. Is it possible that a demonic presence has possessed the child? Exorcism seems to be the only answer...

First published in 1971, The Exorcist became a literary phenomenon and inspired one of the most shocking films ever made. Freshly polished and expanded by the author, including new dialogue, a new character and a chilling new extended scene, this unique fortieth anniversary edition provides an unforgettable reading experience that has lost none of its power to shock - and is poised to terrify a new generation of readers.

©2011 William Peter Blatty 1971 (P)2011 Harper Audio 2011, published in the UK by Random House Audiobooks

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it's horror is undiminished

This is probably the most terrifying book I've ever read, and I'm not even religious.

First off, this is an excellent production. I'm not always a fan of the author reading their own work, but Blatty's moody, gravelly voice not only perfectly evokes the content and characters, but also the smoggy, cigarette-ash torpor of the period, when the Vietnam war was still on, the optimistic peace movement had basically ended with the Manson murders, and it was all too easy to believe Satan or some evil force really was taking hold in the world.

The novel might be forever overshadowed by the film, but there are certain things that give the book an advantage. One thing is the slow burn: the horror develops gradually, increasing the tension largely by suggestion at first. A big part of this is doubt. A priest experiencing a crisis of faith is a central character, and the ritual of exorcism requires that medical and psychological explanations be exhausted first, so much of the novel painstakingly examines the poor girl's symptoms, searching for a rational explanation. Another is the description of smells and odours, which the film can't do. This really brings home the assault on all five senses and the bestial degradation that is so horrific.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • jennifer
  • alfreton, United Kingdom
  • 17-01-15

The Exorcist

Well this as always been one of my favourite films, so when the book came on audio I was made up. This was a fantastic listen with the narrator just making it with the horrible demon voice that gave me goose bumps 10 out of 10 for this fantastic narrator. When I finished the book I went out to buy the dvd and was very surprised to find how both were very similar .
If you enjoyed the film you will love the book.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic performance of an amazing story

Would you consider the audio edition of The Exorcist to be better than the print version?

Yes, I think I would. It's my favourite book and the title I've read most often, but to hear the author, William Peter Blatty, perform the story so well, I got the impression that he could be a frustrated actor! Very well done.

What did you like best about this story?

It barrels along at a great pace, and I seem to get so much out of it every time I read it.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Any of the gripping dialogue exchanges between the demon/Regan and Father Karras.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I think the compassion in the story really came through at the end this time, much more so than when I've read it in the past/watched the movie (which I also love).

Any additional comments?

A fantastic performance (not just 'reading aloud') of a brilliant book, I will listen to this again.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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William Peter Blatty as the author and narrator

Blatty encapsulates the whole mood of this book and his distinctive voice is perfect. I loved every minute.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Emotional

This is not horror in my book. Just sheer emotional drama. heart wrenching for a parent but extremely satisfying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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loved it

The narrator really brings the story alive by changing his voice for each character. brilliant story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Truly Exceptional

A must read, whether you are a horror fan or not. Beautifully disconcerting, I wish I could read it for the first time again

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One of the finest literary works every written.

I struggled to keep up at first, but once it got going, it was absolutely incredible.

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brilliant

I'm so glad I come across this going to listen to it again and again

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Fantastic!

Having seen the film many times, I decided to listen to the audiobook. Brilliant writing, and narration by the author himself. Need I say more?! Well worth a read of listen.

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  • Helen The Dog Lady
  • 26-10-18

Raw, chilling yet oddly moving and heartbreakingly human - a work of art

I have read this in print form years ago, and loved it. This book is so much more than the possession storyline- that is almost incidental to the torture the adult characters subject themselves to. Though the movie is good, the frailty, shortcomings and fears are brought to life by the elegant writing that hints at the very divinity the characters are so desperate to find.
Not normally a fan of authors reading their own books, I found the narration was a revelation. William Peter Blatty has a cadence, gentle tone and understated emotion that contrasts deliciously with the guttural tones of the demon.
Reagan bears the brunt of the demons fury, yet those surrounding her are already dead lost in their own private hell.
Ultimately it speaks all of us who have ever feared letting our loved ones down.... who realised their career choices were detrimental to our families... who are terrified of messing our kids up... who have been unable to embrace faith or have lost it. It paints a portrait of a society on the brink of being at the mercy of pharmaceutical solutions.
My favourite purchase on Audible ever.