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Deliverance (1970)

by James Dickey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,179495,094 (3.9)110
The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the states most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.… (more)
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» See also 110 mentions

English (48)  French (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
A totally rivetting drama of man vs nature & man told with scintillating detail and a poetic sensibility. The inner journey was as interesting and made for a more sophisticated tale. ( )
  Misprint | Aug 31, 2020 |
Read this book in one sitting. Pure poetry. ( )
  billycongo | Jul 22, 2020 |
God, I can't tell you how much I hate this book, nor how much disdain I have for Dickey. He represents, for me, everything that is wrong with both southern literary fiction and general "acceptable" and virtually ordained "literary fiction," per the academic establishment officially set up to define what is "acceptable" and what is not "acceptable." Gotta love these people claiming the title of judge and decider of such things so they can dictate not only to virtually all English professors what they can and can't teach but to all students what is accepted and what is not. As well as to discriminate between those worthy of NEA grants, inclusion into the Academy of American Poets (yes, I was a member for years), etc. I recall asking a professor as an undergrad why we always had to study Dickey, Faulkner, Wharton, etc., but never Kerouac, Ginsberg, Rexroth, Bukowski, etc. The scorn was palpable as I received a lecture on true and acceptable literary work and its craft and value versus populist drivel writers. I recall thinking that very narrow minded, but as I continued in my academic studies, research, publishing, later teaching and even later deciding I hated the academic bullshit and got out of there, I've come to conclude the majority of these academic sheeple don't know what the hell they're talking about, are just trumpeting the party line, seem to think themselves worthy critics yet aren't good enough to write and publish anything as good as, not only the authors they teach, but the extremely popular and successful writers they diss. Those who can't write teach, yes? There's a reason that saying came into being decades ago. And obviously it's not that some English and writing professors don't write or publish, but I've rarely met any who A) were successful at publishing more than a couple of small quickly forgotten useless pieces of academic, literary mainstream pathetic efforts or B) who were successful at publishing more than a few books, and generally were well written, well crafted, but in the vein of much literary fiction/poetry, just flat out boring as crap. I recall when I was publishing prolifically one journal standing out especially as a stereotypical university journal that I hated so much, as did many of my friends and colleagues. The Southern Humanities Review, I believe, would often have issues that were full of little but poems with titles like "sunset at deer lake" or "robin at rest" or "sunrise at 'x" mountain," etc. It's like, have none of you academic writers ever ventured outside your ivory towers or gone anywhere besides rural America? Do you love Walden that much? Because that's not been my life nor the life of many I know and maybe that's why I was always initially drawn to Sandberg's Chicago poems and the grittiness of ACTUAL reality for so many people, followed by both reality and actual creativity and talent in Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind (the biggest selling book of poetry in US history), or Ginsberg's infamous "Howl" and especially nearly any of Bukowski's books. The fact that he was one of America's most prolific poets, most successful and popular poets, and a continual best selling author in many other countries around the world, and that countless books have been written about him, movies made from his books and about him as well, etc., is irrelevant to those in charge of teaching, instructing and molding the minds and skills of students when in fact, virtually none of these people have the talent, skills, success and credits to even compete at all with Buk seems lost on them. Which should show you enough about their intelligence, knowledge and critical abilities. Crap, I really don't know or care how good or not Deliverance is. It's just always represented and been a symbol of all I view as wrong with the canon. It's not that I think the topics they write about or some of the writers aren't good or legit. I just take issue with these assholes simply casually dismissing non-rural, gritty populist fiction and poetry as illegitimate merely because so many of these deal with topics, issues, people, cities they dislike or don't want to dirty their pristine hands with because I guess they're too damn delicate to enter actual REAL life that so many millions in this country face every day, as opposed to their fairy tales spun and regurgitated as the only life experiences that contain validity. I've often wondered how these people would survive and what they would then write if they were placed in John Fante's life, Bukowski's life, Antler's, my own for that matter... I would wager many of them simply couldn't make it. Yeah, if you buy into the brainwashing, this book may be for you, and if you legitimately enjoy southern fiction or "legitimate" literary fiction, this book may be for you and more power to you. However, I'd implore any and all of you to not close your mind to others not in the "official" canon because if you haven't stepped outside of the imposed boundaries, you might find yourself surprised by the creativity and talent out there. And you might not want to go back... ( )
  scottcholstad | Jan 20, 2020 |
The story of a river trip with 4 guys that goes horribly wrong. That when the river is dammed up the secrets will be buried forever. ( )
  foof2you | Jun 24, 2019 |
Conditioned by the celluloid, I was actually lukewarm with stretches of the novel. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
It was an unsettling book that arrived, as if on cue, at an unsettled time. In its primitive violence readers caught echoes of Vietnam, the Sharon Tate murders, even of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. In its elegiac lament for a disappearing river, the book chimed along with America’s budding environmental movement.
 
Dickey's novel gives the impression of calculation, of cunning, the senses are subordinate to the brain. True, many of the moments are actualized but they do not fall together in a convincing whole. The plotting is too obvious; the obvious is the enemy of illusion. And the novel lives, takes its life, from illusion.
added by Shortride | editLos Angeles Times, Robert Kirsch (pay site) (Apr 12, 1970)
 
In writing "Deliverance," James Dickey obviously made up his mind to tell a story. And on the theory that a story is an entertaining lie, he has produced a double-clutching whopper.
 
Dickey's prose style is muscular, tactile, pungent, luminous, raw, a marvelous instrument, as in the best of his poems, for evoking the towering presence of trees and rivers, earth and sky, as well as the sinuous movements of men under stress. It falters, and here and there ludicrously, when psychological amplification must accompany physical processes; the characters, though naturalistically drawn, seem fitful and dim, the figures of dream or nightmare.
added by Muscogulus | editKirkus Reviews (Mar 23, 1970)
 
The story is absorbing, even when you are not quite persuaded Dickey has told the truth. He is effective and he is deft, with the fine hand of an archer. God knows what he might accomplish when he gets used to the form.
added by Muscogulus | editNew York Times Book Review, Evan S. Connell (pay site) (Mar 22, 1970)
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Dickeyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Patton, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Il existe à la base de la vie humaine, un principe d'insuffisance.
Georges Bataille
The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee,
thou that dwelleth in the clefts of the rock,
whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart,
Who shall bring me down to the ground?
Obadiah, verse 3
Dedication
To Edward L. King and Albert Braselton, companions
First words
Before: It unrolled slowly, forced to show its colors, curling and snapping back whenever one of us turned loose. The whole land was very tense until we put our four steins on its corners and laid the river out to run for us through the mountains 150 miles north.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the states most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

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