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Deliverance
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Group Reads: Pre-1990 > Deliverance_September 2013

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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
I read this one when it was first published. I'll be interested to see whether it maintains the impact it had on me years ago.

Mike


message 2: by Franky (last edited Sep 07, 2013 05:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Franky | 327 comments I saw the film years ago and just started to read this one. I'll be interested to see the differences between book and film (I'm going to watch the film again).

One thing that strikes me from the start is this notion of the great outdoors as a sort of cathartic, or life-completing experience, sometimes used as an escape from the monotonous city life or "life as usual." (Of course, Dickey will turn the tables on this notion of nature). Interesting how different the opinions are about this adventure from the getgo. Lewis seems to be built for adventures, while others are skeptical about it.


message 3: by William (new)

William | 39 comments I think it was Erica Jong who said men cannot read about rape without getting aroused, never fully appreciating the full trauma. Margaret Atwood wrote a short story called "Rape Fantasies" about women postulating what rape would be like. In each of the fantasies the women conjecture what it would like to be taken by force in a romantic scenario until one woman points out that they are all fooling themselves. There is nothing "romantic" about rape. In Deliverance men experience the horror up close and personal even if it is only in their imaginations.


message 4: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
William wrote: "I think it was Erica Jong who said men cannot read about rape without getting aroused, never fully appreciating the full trauma. Margaret Atwood wrote a short story called "Rape Fantasies" about w..."

Regarding William's observation, I recommend THE WORST FATE: MALE RAPE AS MASCULINITY EPIDEIXIS IN JAMES DICKEY'S DELIVERANCE AND THE AMERICAN PRISON NARRATIVE.

http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail...

Regarding Franky's observations, I recommend The savage mind: James Dickey's Deliverance.

http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail...

I'm happy to see the thread started. I've chosen to read The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II first.

Mike S.
Lawyer Stevens


message 5: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura | 2121 comments Mod
William
When you say "only in their imagination", are you saying all of it was blown out of proportion or after the initial encounter? I finished this book just today and I have mixed feelings about it. I feel disconnected from the book. I can't relate to these male emotions.


message 6: by William (new)

William | 39 comments Laura wrote: "William
When you say "only in their imagination", are you saying all of it was blown out of proportion or after the initial encounter? I finished this book just today and I have mixed feelings abou..."


I don't think most men feel the complete violation of rape because they don't imagine it happening to them. It's a peculiar mind set that can see rape as somehow erotic. Again, most men refuse to identify with the victim.


message 7: by Franky (last edited Sep 13, 2013 10:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Franky | 327 comments I'm about half way through and really enjoying it. It is part poetry, part action, and part psychology. Love the description of them going downriver after their first encounter/conflict.

Mike, thanks for the link to that article. It was a fascinating read. Really puts the book into perspective.


message 8: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Franky wrote: "I'm about half way through and really enjoying it. It is part poetry, part action, and part psychology. Love the description of them going downriver after their first encounter/conflict.

Mike, tha..."


Franky, Glad you enjoyed the article. I thought it was a good one. I've finished The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II and I'm a little over half done with Deliverance. This one still packs all the punch I experienced when I read it back in 1970.

Now, if I could only find the time to slip in a review here and there.

Mike S.


message 9: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
I finished Deliverance early this morning, unable to put it down. As Franky has done, I'll be watching the movie again. Dickey wrote the screenplay with John Boorman, who was not credited. And, Dickey portrayed the sheriff in the film.

Interestingly enough, the infamous line "Squeal like a pig!" was an ad-lib. Dickey didn't write it.

For an interesting look at Dickey, see Summer of Deliverance: A Memoir of Father and Son by Jim Dickey's son, Christopher Dickey, that not only covers the summer Deliverance was filmed but Jim Dickey's battle with alcoholism, depression, and the growing alienation between father and son.

Mike S.


Franky | 327 comments Mike, I was noticing that the "squeal like a pig" was missing too. It's amazing because it is the first line everyone seems to quote from Deliverance. That line seems to go in line with the whole "uncivilized" experience in that wilderness. As you called it, quite infamous.

For those who have watched the film as well as read the book, do you think the actors who played the four men were appropriate for their given roles? Now that I'm watching and reading, I sort of picture each of them as fitting the bill for who they are.


message 11: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura | 2121 comments Mod
Watching movie tonight! Couldn't find it on Netflix or at the library but fortunately I was able to dvr it at 3 am this morning. Yay!


message 12: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Just watched the movie with documentaries featuring James Dickey, John Boorman, and all the actors. Also featured was Dickey's son Christopher. I was able to get the movie at our library. It was the 25 Anniversary Edition! It's hard to believe that Dickey's novel has passed forty years since publication.

Dickey and Boorman scrapped over the movie throughout the process to the point that Boorman ultimately asked Dickey to leave the set. At one point Dickey claimed he wanted the movie remade. His son said that this was during a period of his father's life when he was "not as creative or productive." You can translate this as it was a time when it was hard to keep James Dickey sober.

A summary of Dickey's son's memoir Summer of Deliverance: A Memoir of Father and Sonindicates that the two were estranged for a significant time. I may have to pick that one up.

I think the most interesting quote from James Dickey concerning the film was that he wanted people to believe that mild mannered Ed played by Jon Voight was perfectly capable of being a natural born killer under the proper circumstances.

The theme of survival runs deep through Dickey's novel.


message 13: by Randall (new)

Randall Luce | 138 comments Dickey takes Walker Percy's notion that war can be a man's 'favorite' time in his life -- because life in wartime is experienced directly and immediately -- and makes a novel out of it, using the river as his 'battlefield'.

I really liked the prose. Dickey can evoke states of mind and sensations very precisely.

I assume Boorman was the director as well as screenwriter? I remember way back in college, attending a talk by a novelist, Gregory Dunne I believe, who had a novel made into a movie. He said the movie is the director's, even if the novelist writes the screenplay. The script is the negative, as it were, and the director's the one in charge of the darkroom. So, maybe that dynamic was at play with "Deliverance." (Couldn't help any if Dickey was soused and frustrated.)

I don't remember much about the movie -- just the duet and the beginning and the infamous "squeal." I'll have to get it now that I've read the book.

I'll have to check out that article, "The savage mind."


Franky | 327 comments Mike, now that you mention it (with regard to Ed's character), I notice the shift in Ed's character is quite profound once he goes from hunted to hunter. I almost sort of thought he took on a little bit of Lewis' persona during the second part. Maybe he feels the need for Lewis' acceptance?


message 15: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura | 2121 comments Mod
I liked how the book made you think more such as did Ed kill the right man or was Drew really shot? The movie clearly reveals this while I thought the book left more to your interpretation. Also, did Drew throw himself into the river out of guilt or what really happened there? I don't have a great handle on everything that happens!


message 16: by Randall (new)

Randall Luce | 138 comments Franky wrote: "Mike, now that you mention it (with regard to Ed's character), I notice the shift in Ed's character is quite profound once he goes from hunted to hunter. I almost sort of thought he took on a littl..."

Notice the imagery of used as Ed climbs the cliff. The crack the nestles into to rest is his grave. He dies and is reborn on the cliff, from hunted to hunter.


message 17: by Randall (new)

Randall Luce | 138 comments Laura wrote: "I liked how the book made you think more such as did Ed kill the right man or was Drew really shot? The movie clearly reveals this while I thought the book left more to your interpretation. Also, d..."

I liked that aspect of the book as well. Ed may have killed an innocent man.

I think Drew was shot, but there's no way of knowing if his death had anything to do with the first death, of the rapist. Drew's death could have been a random, unrelated event.

If Drew was shot by the surviving rapist, it shows how "urban" and "middle-class" even Lewis is. His and Drew's debate was whether the surviving rapist would go to the police. Neither considered the possibility that the rapist would try to exact revenge himself, farther down the river, shooting from the shore.


message 18: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura | 2121 comments Mod
Thanks Randall for the insight.


Franky | 327 comments Randall, that totally makes sense to me about Ed's being reborn. Very insightful.

So, in essence, the "deliverance" may be in several forms in the novel: one into the uncivilized world, and back to one of civility.

Fascinating that there is so much ambiguity in the novel as opposed to the film, as you pointed out.

Over all, I really enjoyed this book and the discussion opened my eyes to various interpretations.


message 20: by Beau (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beau Johnson | 1 comments That was one book that I could not put down but nor could I wait for it to be over. The imagery Dickey brings along builds to pure terror. The movie was as good. Years later when I went fishing on the Chattooga, hiking in Tallulah George and had breakfast in the banjo boy's cafe, the first two raised the hairs on my neck, but the food was excellent.


Thing Two (thingtwo) | 82 comments I finished this book this weekend in a cabin on the Withlacoochee River - rural Florida not Georgia - but found myself looking over my shoulder while hiking later. I saw a quote that camping in the southern mountains dropped significantly after the movie came out. Does anyone remember how mountain men were viewed before Deliverance was made famous?


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