Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The latest audiobook, and in many ways not what I expected. It’s a complex novel that seems to wrestle with the existence of God and the Devil in its clinical approach to the subject of possession. It does everything to convince you that possession is a mental illness, or at least fill you with enough doubt over the question of whether possession is the result of demons invading our bodies or sickness invading our minds that you don’t know what to think about it. And maybe that’s the point. Reagan’s mother, Chris, after all, is an avowed atheist, and it is ultimately she who demands that the church perform an exorcism on her daughter. Whether it is a demon that needs to be driven out or a psychological trick like the one Reagan supposedly played on herself, that no longer matters to Chris. Saved or cured, it doesn’t matter. She just wants her daughter back. But it ultimately fails for me because it doesn’t come down on one side or the other. At the end you still don’t know what brought on the possession, nor even exactly what Father Karras did to end it, and that is particularly unsatisfying.

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