Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Book Review: The Ninth Configuration by William Peter Blatty

Set in a secluded castle that is now being used by the US government as a military asylum, The Ninth Configuration tells of a facility that houses 27 officers who have recently suffered from a mental break. Have the inmates truly lost their minds, are they faking it to avoid combat, or is something else going on? Colonel Vincent Kane is a Marine Corps psychiatrist who is called in to try and help uncover the cause of these bizarre obsessions, but he has his own demons to contend with.

"You're convinced that God is dead because there's evil in the world - then why don't you think He's alive because of the goodness in the world?"

Okay, as a pre-warning to anyone who may be interested in reading this book, it's a bit different and quite unusual compared to most other books I've read. The start in particular is pretty confusing, but once you get into it, it becomes very addictive. It's a relatively short book at only 170-odd pages, yet somehow Blatty manages to succeed with very impressive character development in such a small number of pages. It's funny, it's thought-provoking, but I don't think it's the kind of book you can read without the need to analyse the deeper themes. If you're looking for a light read, this isn't the book for you. Similarly, if you're looking for another horror book in the vein of The Exorcist, this ain't for you!

I didn't expect to be so moved by the events of this book, given the humour and, at times, ridiculous dialogue. Yet by the end I really felt like this book would leave a lasting impression. There's discussions about God and His existence, the presence of evil and good in the world, it's a very philosophical book. However, even with the strong philosophical themes, there's still a good, strong story here, with twists and turns I wasn't expecting.

I'm not sure I ever would have read this if it wasn't suggested to me by my buddy Cam (who I also buddy-read this with), so this is another scenario where I'm thankful to bookstagram for opening me up to books I might have otherwise missed! Definitely a unique reading experience and it gets 5 stars out of 5 from me!


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