Deliverance by James Dickey

Deliverance (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) - James Dickey

First of the year and what a first, a simple, totally gripping story that resonates with power. Will Patton's narration puts you on that river, in that tree sighting the arrow with one shot at survival and this gets my highest recommendation.


Told in first person through the eyes of Ed Gentry, who with three friends attempts a breakout from suburbia with a canoe and hunting trip. Naïve, lacking the skills needed to survive, maybe but things don’t get any easier when they are approached on the riverbank by two men, one with a gun, and the other with a knife. Coupled with a river that takes no prisoners and a tension that borders on breathtaking at times, all described with a prose and dialogue that imposes every single word on your consciousness.


This is a quote from one of the most riveting scenes in the story, both sighting that arrow and getting in the position to be able to do just that, their lives depending on this very moment.


‘But mainly I was amazed at my situation. Just rather dumbly amazed. It was harder to imagine myself in a tree, like this, than it was to reach out and touch the bark or the needles and know that I was actually in one, in the middle of the night–or somewhere in the night–miles back in the woods, waiting to try and kill a man I had seen only once in my life. Nobody in the world knows where I am, I thought. I put tension on the bowstring, and the arrow came back a little. Who would believe it, I said, with no breath; who on earth?


If you listen to audio, you have to get this, it’s absolutely one of the best audiobooks and stories that I've listened to. Just over 7 and 1/2 hours and I will definitely reread/re-listen to this, it is that good. And yes I did enjoy it as you can guess.