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Download Summer of Deliverance: A Memoir of Father and Son epub

by Alexander Adams,Christopher Dickey

Download Summer of Deliverance: A Memoir of Father and Son epub
ISBN: 073664704X
ISBN13: 978-0736647045
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Arts & Literature
Author: Alexander Adams,Christopher Dickey
Language: English
Publisher: Books on Tape; Unabridged edition (August 1, 2000)
ePUB size: 1209 kb
FB2 size: 1961 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 340
Other Formats: txt lit azw docx

I was introduced to the poetry of James Dickey in a graduate school American Lit seminar in 1969-70. I was not then and still am not a poetry buff. My genre of choice was always fiction. But Dickey's stuff was different. His poems caught my attention. It probably didn't hurt that he was at the time the latest "darling" of the literary world, getting lots of press and his face on magazine covers. The poem I still remember from those long ago days is "The Sheep Child," with its dire and near-spritual consideration of and warnings to horny farm boys against the temptations of bestiality. In the ethereal and innocent voice of the half-sheep half-human monstrosity floating in a bottle in a forgottten corner of an Atlanta museum, this frightening 'rural legend' whispers:

"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..." and certainly did in DELIVERANCE.

Christopher Dickey's memoir of the tortured relationship he endured with his famous father sucked me in from page one, when he said:

"My father was a great poet, a famous novelist, a powerful intellect, and a son of a bitch I hated ..."

Although I probably had not given much thought to James Dickey in decades, that line certainly got my atttention. And held it, as the son spun out his tale of a family destroyed by alcoholism, celebrity and various kinds of denial and madness.

James Dickey was certainly a literary genius, no mistake. But he was also a man who never learned to take responsibility for his actions - a rake, a hedonist and a hopeless alcoholic. Although he seemed to recognize he was the embodiment of the stereotypical "drunken poet" he couldn't - or wouldn't - break the cycle of self-destruction that also destroyed his family. His first wife died at fifty of complications from her own alcoholism, and Dickey quickly remarried, to a student of his who was a mentally unstable drug addict and became physically abusive to him. And a daughter (thirty years younger than Christopher) from this marriage was caught in the middle of this mess.

Christopher Dickey acknowledges that his father was a great poet and that Deliverance was a compelling novel, but he says that for years years he blamed the phenomenal success of the novel and its equally successful film version for the disintegration of their family, as James Dickey plunged ever deeper into the nightmare pit of being the "messiah-celebrity." He comments: "We were not my father's kind any more. But we all wanted to believe, still, that we could be."
Sadly, they apparently could not.

The book's title has a twofold signifcance. It refers to the summer the film version of Deliverance was being made, describing how James Dickey had to be be sent away, because he was creating a distraction to the actors and director. More importantly it refers to the last summer of James Dickey's life, when Christopher came home and spent a couple of months with his father, sorting through a garageful of the detritus of a literary life and finally connecting with his long-estranged father, divorced and dying, tethered to an oxygen machine. Perhaps the most moving part of the whole book comes during those days in a brief exchange between father and son -

'I do love you so much.'
And for me at that moment it was as if he'd never said it before. 'I love you too,' I said, and wanted to tell him, to show him, to know for sure that he knew how much. But that was all I could say. 'I love you too.'"

Reconciliation. Relief. Peace. Love. Words fail at moments like that. But Christopher Dickey got it right in that important moment. "I love you too." I wept when I read those words. Fathers and sons. Why is it so hard for them to say those words to each other?

Christopher Dickey is, by any definition, a success. A respected journalist and foreign correspondent for decades now, he has written other books. But I would wager that this one, SUMMER OF DELIVERANCE, will always be, in his heart, the most important . It starts out with hate and anger, but it ends in forgiveness, reconciliation, love. This is one hell of a book - a brave book. I was mesmerized, I was envious, I was ... Once again, words fail. If you love love books, if you love great writing, read this book.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
A powerful and compassionate account of what it was like being James Dickey's son. Sometimes confessional and always told in the grippingly candid voice of a veteran news reporter, this beautiful memoir will provide searing insights into the complexities of Dickey--and how those complexities shaped the family around him. A beautifully written and masterful tale of love, love lost, betrayal, reconciliation, doubt, belief, more betrayal and, finally, a hard-earned (unconventional) peace that comes from acceptance--acceptance of the unconventional love that a father had for his son.
Most every one deals with dysfunctional some thing, this is an amazing story, well told, and sensitive to the topic... In the end, we get , that the best any one can do is the best they can do, and sometimes, it just isn't enough, but it is all we have. So it's okay.
Perhaps the best memoir I've ever read, not just because the memories are so riveting or the writing so strong (though they are), but because it is a living testament to the importance of understanding other human beings, especially those closest to us, no matter how hurt or betrayed or infuriated we might be by them. It's also very wise about families, in all sorts of ways. It's rare to have, or take, a second chance at understanding your past. You have to be brave to jump in and look. Dickey is brave, and an excellent guide not just to his past but to the decades through which that past unfolded. Having said this, the book is entirely unsentimental (a good thing, I think). While it probably was (in part, anyway) a cathartic exercise for the author, it is never self-indulgent.
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.
Great product.
Harrowing, powerful, haunting.
This company has been the worst I have ever ordered from.
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