Saturday, March 2, 2013
Riveting River Tale: Deliverance
Deliverance, published in 1970 by James Dickey, is one of those novels that you really could pick up and not put down, to be read in one sitting in a couple of hours. Set in the north Georgia wilderness (in "the country of nine-fingered people," as Dickey writes) on the Cahulawassee River, four middle-aged men decide to spend the weekend on a canoe trip down river. What was supposed to be an invigorating weekend shaking the men out of their office life ennui quickly turns into a harrowing few days of life and death. Dickey's writing moves swiftly and builds tension slowly but surely. While some of it seems a bit over the top, there is a kind of lawlessness to the tale that makes it riveting. I enjoyed the book, but other than the protagonist, we learn little of the interior life of the other characters, which would have been very interesting had the story been told from multiple perspectives.