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The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971)

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971)

Mr. Blatty (Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane! etc.) is a vehement writer and sometimes this story of paranormal possession is as noisy as that motorcycle race at Madison Square Garden. Still his book has many saving graces: the susceptibility of its subject -- a youngster of twelve, Regan, whose ouija sessions yield to all kinds of unholy horrors from rats in the attic to totally uncontrollable seizures; her mother, a Hollywood star, with absolutely no side and a great affection for her child; and especially a bumbling detective called Kinderman who is really nobody's fool. Most of this takes place around Georgetown University and while at first Chris, Regan's mother, goes from internist to psychiatrist, she ends up looking for help from a Jesuit priest since no drug on earth can quiet Regan and blatant obscenities fall from the mouth of a babe who can also talk in any foreign language. There's a death unexplained except by diabolic ritual; a furtive houseman with a criminal record; and finally the exorcism in which two priests engage. Not highminded to be sure but headlong, and as everyone knows the Age of Aquarius is also that of the polterzeitgeist and this looks like lots of pie in the sky for a great many people. Look up -- it's already to be a film and Literary Guild alternate selection. (Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1971)

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