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Deliverance (1970)

by James Dickey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,562575,671 (3.9)113
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 113 mentions

English (56)  French (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
I was a reader of Dickey's poetry long before I read this novel. It seems to me that he took his beautiful art to an even higher level with this novel. It's a masterpiece. ( )
1 vote MickeyMole | Oct 2, 2023 |
2023 - ‘70’s Immersion Reading Challenge

Deliverance by James Dickey (1970; 1994 ed.) 278 pages.

SETTING: The Cahulawassee River in Northern Georgia.

I really enjoyed this story. It was suspenseful and a bit of a psychological thriller…in the book, but not so much in the movie. Ed, the most level headed of the four friends (played by Jon Voight in the movie), is narrating the story, and you find yourself inside his head a lot. There was just so much to the story than the movie could ever portray. And God forbid you ever find yourself in a life and death situation with Bobby, the most pathetic excuse of a man and friend there ever was, according to the book. I disliked him about as much as his “friends” did. But then, later in the story, I felt sorry for him for what he had to go through with the hill people. Talk about the ultimate humiliation for any man. Read the book first!

The Cahulawassee River is about to be dammed up and turned into a lake. Four friends decide they want to run the rapids in canoes before it’s forever changed. But, it’s up in Georgia’s hill country with hill people. You know what that means!

Their little weekend adventure turns into a nightmare when the four men are separated and two of them are approached on the bank of the river by two filthy, toothless men from these hills, then starts the struggle for survival to just get through the river and come out at the other end alive.

BOOK-TO-MOVIE

Deliverance (1972), starring Burt Reynolds as Lewis, the know-it-all survivalist; Jon Voight, as Ed, the most level headed friend and narrator in the book; Ned Beatty, as Bobby, the most pathetic excuse of a man and friend there ever was…according to the book; and Ronny Cox, as Drew, the guitar playing friend killed on the river.

Although the movie followed along the lines of the book, the characters stupid “fake” accents really threw the movie off. I felt it just didn’t build the characters properly as in the book. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
Hell of a good book. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
Another classic novel I didn't quite get. One thing happens after another, and I don't know what the characters are up to. ( )
  mykl-s | Jun 4, 2023 |
Just finished this book last night. Not sure yet what I think about it--sometimes it's really good, other times it's just odd. Will have to ponder and write about it over the next few days.
  Chris.Wolak | Oct 13, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (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 (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dickey, Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Huhtala, EeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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