The movie, "Deliverance," flattened me. I didn't think I needed the words, James Dickey's glorious words, too. I was wrong.
"Never. Never ask for what ought to be offered." As if the Ten Commandments weren't hard enough to keep, girl-child Ree has been given this 11th mandate from the local culture of the Ozarks. How she functions, how she tries to "make it" (deer stew, for example) is a gripping but poetic story. You'll encounter a young woman who may "never have only her own concerns to tote." You'll try to rest in the "pious shade and silence pines create." Mostly, you'll want to get to know Ree. I wished she'd be my friend... and she was.
It's billed as a survival story, true enough. But again and again during the book, I asked myself to define "survival." McCarthy shows us its cost, its great cost. We contemplate surviving at all cost. And then? Would we still be "carrying the fire?" Tom Stechschulte's voice gives a spare but solid life to the number of times the word "ash" is needed for this tale. I experienced the masterpiece in broad daylight, which I began to cherish anew with every paragraph.
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