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Summer of Deliverance: A Memoir of Father and Son Paperback – August 4, 1999
Frequently Bought Together
Given the amount of emotional injury poet James Dickey (1923-1997) inflicted on himself and his family, it's a remarkable achievement that in this surprisingly tender memoir, Christopher Dickey not only discovers new love for his father but imparts it to readers as well. Arrogant, alcoholic, unfaithful to his wife, and manipulative with his children (he boasted of Christopher, "I made his head"), James Dickey emerges here as an all-too-human figure whose weaknesses are partially redeemed by his fierce passion for his art and by a late-life attempt to make amends for years of careless, destructive acts. His son's book is, among other things, a cautionary tale about the temptations of fame and money: Dickey's bestselling novel Deliverance (1970) pushed the poet to a level of commercial success he was ill equipped to deal with. The drinking got worse, the affairs more flagrant, the writing sloppier, and after Christopher's mother died in 1976, father and son seldom spoke. They reconciled in 1994; this book began as their mutual project to describe the making of the Hollywood film version of Deliverance. Good though those chapters are, it's the author's unflinchingly honest yet compassionate portrait of his father that stands out. Noted for his journalism, particularly covering Central America's gruesome civil wars of the 1980s, Christopher Dickey proves that he can plumb the intricacies of the human heart as incisively as the horrors of military conflict. His father would be proud. --Wendy Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
When his father, James Dickey, the poet and novelist, became ill in 1996, the author went to take care of him, not out of any great love, but rather from a sense of duty. On the very first page of this beautifully written dual-biography of father and son, Dickey, Newsweek's Paris bureau chief and author of Innocent Blood, refers to his father as the man who "killed my mother." Fame and alcohol were the twin demons of the Dickey household and Christopher traces their devastating effects during his father's slow evolution from a struggling writer to a celebrity poet and author of the novel Deliverance. His poetry led Dickey around the country to universities where he played the poet and seduced the students?all in the face of his increasingly alcoholic wife. But Christopher feels that the year when Deliverance was made into a movie, in the early '70s, marked the real turning point when many things were "exploited," including his father's integrity. What followed was a disaster of celebrity, as Dickey began "talking his poems, his books, his big projects into existence, when there was little or nothing on the page." Shortly after, Jim Dickey's wife died and he married a much younger?though equally alcoholic?woman. Dickey fils doesn't spare himself as when he recounts trying to sleep with his father's mistress and the destruction of his first marriage. But there is resurrection at the end: a solid second marriage, his rescue of his father and his young half-sister from their hellish life, and the reconciliation a few months before his father's death in January 1997. "Poetry is a matter of luck," Dickey recalls his father saying. "You can't teach it. You can point it out when it occurs." This unflinching and deeply affecting memoir is one of those places where real poetry occurs. Editor, Alice Mayhew; agent, Kathy Robbins.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
"Dead, I am most surely living
In the minds of farm boys: I am he who drives
Them like wolves from the hound bitch and calf
And from the chaste ewe in the wind.
They go into woods into bean fields they go
Deep into their known right hands. Dreaming of me,
They groan they wait they suffer
Themselves, they marry, they raise their kind."
It is a chilling image, a more serious look perhaps at the same sexual compulsions that plagued poor tortured teenager Alex Portnoy. Another poem I remember is "Fog Envelops the Animals" with its images of a bow hunter stalking a deer in early morning fog. The poem's subject was revisited in a scene in Dickey's highly successful novel, Deliverance.
For all of his writing life, James Dickey aimed at writing totally orginal virile, vigorous and "muscular" poetry and prose, and he seemed to succeed in poems like "Fog...Read more ›
The section of the book about the making of the Deliverance movie was especially fascinating, with peeks into the personalities of the rich and famous who arrived to participate in the movie's making.
I hope we get more books from Christopher Dickey--I thought his writing was excellent.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A beautifully written, honest, heartfelt story. A must-read for writers. No, make that a must-read for all fathers and sons. One of the best memoirs I have ever read.Published on May 16, 2014 by Styles
The book was in good shape except for the cover of which one half was torn off.Published on April 10, 2009 by Appletinie
This company has been the worst I have ever ordered from.
I ordered the book on January 4, 2009 and did not EVER receive it. Read more
If you loved the film and the book this is excellent back-ground on James Dickey. The inside story on the making of Deliverance was a gem.Published on June 17, 2008 by a reader
A difficult read. Like the House of Atreus, James Dickey caved into fate and tragedy while also famous. Read morePublished on September 11, 2007 by Bachelier
I think Deliverance is an excellent book, and when I saw this memoir, I couldn't resist giving it the once-over. Read morePublished on November 2, 2005 by lightnin_hopkins
I picked up this book thinking that it would be a good gift for Father's Day (coming up June 19, boys and girls), and after finishing it I concur. Read morePublished on June 2, 2005 by Kevin Killian
This book has some excellent parts, but I was frustrated by some aspects of this book.
The best reason to read the book is the relation of James Dickey's apparent last... Read more