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I saw an article in the New York Times discussing the 40th anniversary of the publication of Deliverance and decided to give it a try. Although reading it was not always a pleasant experience, I’m not sorry about my decision. I first saw the film years ago, so the plot was not new to me. In spite of this, I could not put the book down until I had finished it. The story begins when four Atlanta suburbanites decide to take a canoe trip down a wild river that is slated to be dammed up. The river itself is a mystical presence in the book: Far more so than in the film. A ghastly event occurs that propels the men into an unimaginable situation. The reader is cast into freefall as much as the characters in the novel. Everyone has experienced some frightening emergency that changes the way they see the world. These emergencies rarely come with a warning. Maybe this is what makes "Deliverance" so compelling.