Deliverance (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
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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.
to the river or the overhang, and this reassured me a little -- though not much -- as I watched it happen in my mind. I got to the bulge and then went up over it and planted my left foot solidly on it and found a good hold on what felt like a root with my right hand. I looked down. The top of the overhang was pale now, ten or twelve feet below. I turned and forgot about it, pulling upward, kneeing and toeing into the cliff, kicking steps into the shaly rock wherever I could, trying to
as I could, thought for a second about shooting the arrow down into the sand to make sure of my elevation, fought off the idea with a quick springing of sweat and relaxed the broadhead out from the bow, letting my breath come forward at the same time. It bad been close; I had almost done it. Involuntary release would get me killed, and it was also likely to lose or damage the arrow so that I wouldn't have any chance at all, if the man came. If. I got as comfortable as I could, and decided to
because of the mystery I slowly struggled back into doing something. I propped up and looked at myself. The arrow had gone through about an inch of flesh in my side, the flesh that age and inactivity were beginning to load on me. I would either have to cut it out of my side or pull the shaft through. As carefully as I could, but with the pain of every move making my soul shrivel and beg for help, I stripped the feathers off the arrow, and then set my teeth and started to work it through and
brain, where I saw a vision of burning jackstraws or needles, and we were back down onto the bedded river in two almost simultaneous stepdowns. I listened for my cry hanging in the wet air above the blue-and-white flag colors of the rock -- I still listen for it -- and we were down and slowing forward, back on green water, solid and heavy on it, and it solid and heavy under us. The bed-rocks fell away; another curve, one without rapids, began to open in front of us a hundred yards farther on.
had got it, in the dark of the rest of the stuff. It was only then that I felt the chill of the room, and realized that the air was cold as it came from the floor, up from the pile carpet, and that under the robe I was naked. On top of the air mattress and sleeping bag and thin nylon rope lay the knife and my bow and four arrows. The rope I had bought on impulse at an army surplus store, mainly because Lewis had once told me that you should "never be in the woods without rope." I picked the