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The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 4, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 556 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When originally published in 1971, The Exorcist became not only a bestselling literary phenomenon, but one of the most frightening and controversial novels ever written. (When the author adapted his book to the screen two years later, it then became one of the most terrifying movies ever made.) The deceptively simple story focuses on Regan, the 11-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C.; the child apparently is possessed by an ancient demon. It's up to a small group of overwhelmed yet determined humans to somehow rescue Regan from this unspeakable fate. Purposefully raw and profane, this novel still has the extraordinary ability to literally shock us into forgetting that it is "just a story." The Exorcist remains a truly unforgettable reading experience. Blatty published a sequel, Legion, in 1983. --Stanley Wiater --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


"There are not many readers who will be unmoved. Well researched, written in a literate style, The Exorcist is to most other books of its kind as an Einstein equation is to an accountant's column of figures." -- The New York Times Sunday Book Review

"I consumed The Exorcist as if it were a bottomless bag of popcorn." -- Life Magazine

"A fantastic and deeply religious novel that will touch the reader to his very soul." -- Abilene Reporter-News

"Almost unbearable suspense." Asheville Citizen-Times

"Absolutely superb!" -- The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Suspense that never lets up!" -- Publishers Weekly

"Up until dawn I was with The Exorcist." -- Cosmopolitan Magazine

"Immensely satisfying, it holds its readers in a vise-like grip that is worthy of Poe."
-- Los Angeles Times

"Populated with unforgettable characters, The Exorcist overflows with intelligence and insight and you will read it, if you're wise, with every light on in your house and every light on in your brain." --L.A. Magazine

"The Exorcist should be read twice; once for the passion and intensity of the story, with a second reading to savor the subtleties of language and phrasing. Read the book. It's an experience you will never forget." -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

 "It's a great love story. I wish I had written it." -- Ray Bradbury

Chilling." -- Anthony Burgess, Author of A Clockwork Orange

""The Exorcist" is as superior to most books of its kind as an Einstein equation is to an accountant's column of figures.""--New York Times Book Review""Wonderfully exciting.""--Newsweek""Read the book! It's an experience you will never forget.""--St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 40 Anv edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062094351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062094353
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (556 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 9, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First, this is unquestionably the most terrifying book I have ever read. Secondly, many readers seem to enjoy the book but miss the point. I find it amusing that many hard-core Christian types are down on this book (i,e, it glorifies Satan, etc.), as that shows that they clearly do not know anything about it. The entire point of the book is that a priest, trained in the ways of science (he is a Psychiatrist) has through his pursuit of science lost his belief in God. His lack of faith in God brings with it a disbelief in the existance of Satan as well. When he is asked to see the possessed girl, Regan, it is as a priest, to confront what is clearly (to the mother) a case of demonic possession. Instead he approches the situation with his scientific rather than his spiritual training, and sees the girl as insane and thus treatable via science, rather than possessed. Even in the face of all evidence, he steadfastly refuses to admit that there is anything supernatural about the girl's condition, though science has so far failed miserably to treat the girl. We get insight into this when he arranges a exorcism (for cathartic, not spiritual, reasons) and interacts with a priest who is a believer, has performed exorcisms in the past, and is very respectful and afraid of the power of a very real Satan. At one point, the young priest discusses the possession of Regan, and tells the old priest that he cannot understand what Satan might stand to gain from harming an innocent girl. The old priest replies that in a possession it is not the possessed who is the target, but rather the persons around the possessed.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Having read this book several times, I was curious about this, for lack of a better term, "Special Edition" of Blatty's masterpiece. I'd read about an additional character being written in with a creepy scene added and thought to myself...

"Please, Mr. Blatty....PLEASE don't try to channel George Lucas and ruin your art by trying to improve upon perfection..."

The addition is rather subtle and brief, but definitely stands out leaving the reader with a "huh?" sort of feeling.

It had been years since I last read the book and, being a huge fan of the film, I figured it was time I actually owned a copy of it as opposed to hitting the library when the urge came.

The book is definitely of it's time...but no less relevant now as it was 40 years ago. It confronts spiritual matters head on and delivers a very frank and unflinching message about the concept of evil. Even in 2011 where just about every obscenity and depraved scenario has been played out in TV, music, movies, etc....there are passages within that will still make you cringe.

The film is about as close to a perfect adaptation as you can get, but with a few minor points missing. I really like Karl's story in the book. He is a completely fleshed out character with a depth that matches most of the principals, as opposed to his minor role in the film. Secondly, and more importantly, I really find the demonic entity in the book FAR more creepy than the McCambridge voiced Pazuzu in the film. There is a malevolence here that is far more intelligent and challenging. He/They taunt Karras and play mental chess with him. Is she possessed? Is she just incredibly disturbed? The entity keeps placing little doubts in Karras's already crumbling faith, rendering him nearly helpless to aid Regan Macneil.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
William Peter Blatty's seminal novel of demonic possession took the nation and much of the world by storm when it was published in 1971, and the movie adaptation of The Exorcist ranks as one of the most famous horror movies of all time. Many, many readers over the years have described it as a quite unsettling if not frightening read; I envy these people because I didn't find the book at all shocking or scary. I was actually more affected by the inner turmoil of Father Karras than anything else. His doubts over his own faith, the horrible guilt he feels for having left his aged mother alone when he became a Jesuit priest, and some of his scattered sad childhood memories make of him a philosophical, sentimental character who serves as the main liaison between the reader and the events of the novel. What we see through Father Karras' eyes is a complex, troubling vision of life and death, a conduit of our own philosophical and religious struggles.
The plot of the The Exorcist is well-known to just about everyone. Chris MacNeil and her daughter are living in Georgetown while Chris is filming a new movie. The energetic and happy child, Regan, suddenly begins to change. Strange things begin to happen in the house - rustling noises are heard at night, objects seem to disappear and reappear in strange places, and Regan begins to complain about her bed shaking at night. When Regan's state of mind begins to deteriorate, Chris seeks medical help for her daughter, but the doctors, after a series of complete, agonizing tests, can find no evidence to support their theories of a condition brought about by a lesion in the temporal lobe of the brain.
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