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4.7 out of 5 stars72
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 17 November 2015
I wanted to read the exorcist after seeing and loving the 1973 film, and found that I wasn't disappointed with the book at all. Blatty's writing actually begins in quite an amateurish sort of way, in the way he develops his main characters at the beginning. However, as the characters and story get deeper the writing soon becomes almost beautiful. The content of what happens in the book, is shocking and pretty vile; it is even more graphic than the 1973 film adaptation. However, due to the beauty and lyrical quality of Blatty's writing, we as the reader can almost over-look the gruesome nature of what happens to Regan MacNeil, and view it as a grotesque work of art.
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on 14 July 2012
Forget all you have ever read at second-hand; put to one side your distant memory of the movie; utterly destroy all the puerile pastiches since.
This is truly a great novel.
It is not, at heart, a horror novel; rather it is a morality novel, a tale of the triumph of good over evil, the struggle for the soul of Regan MacNeil.
And it is so well written. The characters of Father Karras, Chris MacNeil and, above all, Lieutenant Kinderman are well developed and very empathetic.
The relationship between Karras and Kinderman on its own deserves a novel and, at times, one even forgets that this is a book about the supernatural.
I first encountered "The Exorcist" as a movie, as one of twenty people huddled together in the centre of the Odeon, Leicester Square, London, for a midnight showing. I was immediately prompted to read the book and was electrified.
I then had the opportunity to live in Washington and to live in and know Georgetown pretty well.
And, as a setting, it works. It really works.
Which is only to be expected, with a master hand at work. And William Peter Blatty IS a master hand.
So, for any of you who have ducked this novel because you think it is too lowbrow, think again; for those who have declined in that they felt it may be a work of evil, also think again. It is a novel - expressly or mythically - describing evil, but also recording the triumph of God.
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I saw the film when it first came out in the Cinema. I was with my half-sister and a friend. We must have smoked at least 40 cigarettes between us during the duration of the film. I also had nightmares for months afterwards.

The film is fairly faithful to the book and contains an extra chapter too.

If anything, the book is scarier than the film as the author has such a great way with words. I had another nightmare the night after I had finished it.

Seriously scary stuff!
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on 27 December 2012
Much scarier than the film and I loved that too! This book has many layers and I will be reading it again. My only criticism would be that the dialogue involving the mother felt very awkward and false to me...she was the only character who never came to life for me. But I would recommend it.
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on 29 June 2013
This book is still as scary as ever- too much information!!!!! Unfortuently because of that I didn't finish it. In a new home alone, whilst my husband was away! what was I thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 3 January 2013
Having seen the film more times than I can remember (I think it's the greatest movie ever made) I don`t know why it has take me years to get around to reading the novel,thought it was a great read,particularly the passages which dwelt on the interaction between father Karras & the demon,superb.
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on 4 December 2013
Many people say that the book is better than the film; honestly, I couldn`t bring myself to say that it is or isn`t. I wouldn`t dare to even put them against each other, as they are both perfect. Absolute masterpieces. One thing I loved is the subtlety in the book with some elements that are not in the movie. Just very slight things, like the book on witchcraft, for example. Those are things that stick in your subconscious and slowly emerge towards then ending movements of the book. A perfect read, and it goes beyond simply being a horror. Started Legion today, around 20 minutes after finishing The Exorcist. Hopefully I won`t be let down.
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on 5 February 2013
This 40th anniversary edition well deserves a second read. And if you've only seen the film
I highly recommend you read the book.
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on 29 January 2016
This is one of the classic novels on demonic possession and exorcism. If many Catholic dioceses in America don't have an official exorcist, one has to wonder where the possessed go for help. Is supernatural evil real or a figment of our imaginations? "The Exorcist" will help you decide.

Readers of this book would also like "Jenna's Flaw," a novel about Satanism, demonic possession, and paranormal activity in a college town in the Midwest.
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on 14 February 2015
I enjoyed this a lot and the pages turned quickly,. However, I reflected that When I was a youth, this book was the most gripping, shocking and scary book I had read. now later in life, I have been less impressed....perhaps less is more as it's too far fetched for my imagination nowadays, All that said, I guess the subject matter stands the test of time and it's still probably a great read first time around
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