Title: The Exorcist
Author(s): William Peter Blatty
No. of pages: 400
Genre: Horror, Classic, Thriller
Publication date: 1971
Date read: April 11th 2018
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. This edition, polished and expanded by the author, includes new dialogue, a new character and a chilling new extended scene, provides an unforgettable reading experience that has lost none of its power to shock and continues to thrill and terrify new readers.
When I first opened this book I expected it to be so scary that I would end up spending nights without sleep, because of the terror. Unfortunately, no such thing happened and I had lots of peaceful nights. It feels kind of wrong to use the word “unfortunately” in this review, because, although I wasn’t scared while reading it, I absolutely loved it. It wasn’t at all like I expected it to be, but it surprised me in a literary way. Blatty’s writing style is really beautiful and I now understand why the words “literary phenomenon” are used in the summary on Goodreads.
I also loved the buildup of the suspense and tension of the story. Regan isn’t just suddenly possessed – it’s build up really slowly, but because you know what the book is about beforehand, you know hell is about to break loose. Quite literally.
This story was full of other things beside the possible demonic possession of Regan. It also involved a murder case investigated by quite the annoying detective, discussions on faith and discussions on psychology. I’m not one to believe in demonic possessions, but I believe people can get “possessed” like Regan in a psychological way and The Exorcist leaves room for both these takes on possessions. In the end you still didn’t know what exactly happened to Regan and I really love that. I mean, it’s fiction, so it could easily be a real demon who took over Regan’s body!
Although it was super different from my expectations, it wasn’t a let down at all and I do recommend you read it – even if you’re not into horror!