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A River Runs Through It Hardcover – May 15, 1989
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Amazingly, Norman MacLean, who taught English at the University of Chicago for 43 years, did not publish this book until 1976, after retiring from his teaching job in 1973. I don't know whether he had worked on the story throughout his whole life, as was the case with the posthumous book
Young Men and Fire, but the final product has such beautifully sculpted language, that it would not be hard to believe that it is the end result of four decades of effort. Here is the famous opening:
In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others.Read more ›
This allows "A River Runs Through It" to reveal a story of surprising depth and meaning while still remaining, as Maclean writes in his introduction, "Western." There is no mistaking the story as anything but a western piece of literature; the sparse and rhythmical style Maclean uses mirrors the themes and content of his work; the careful simplicity of the prose mirrors and emphasizes the careful simplicity of the story, in a similar fashion to how Fitzgerald's decadent style mirrors and emphasizes his own Jazz-age tales.
But what of the story itself? It is, as others say, more than a 'fly-fishing' story, and it expresses truths so simple and fundamental that they remain elusive despite their qualities. The story has humor and poignancy, and is undeniably powerful.
It is a shame Maclean didn't write complete more writing between the publication of "River" and his death ("Young Men and Fire" being published posthumously and in a somewhat ramshackle shape), but it is also perhaps fitting. A long list of titles does not a great author make. Maclean writes of simple truth with such humanity that even taken alone, "A River Runs Through It" forces one to include Maclean among the great American authors, and stands as a testament to both its truths and its author.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reading Maclean makes me feel like no matter how long I write, I will never be able to compress so much meaning into so few words.Published 2 days ago by Radiomojo
This is a coming of age book no matter how old you are. It is the every mans story only altered by location.Published 8 days ago by d Gustafson
Possibly the best writing of our century. I love this novella.Published 15 days ago by Alison Reardon
Classic. Even if you don't fly fish, Maclean's descriptive rhetoric about the beauty of Montana and the majesty of the trout will excite your imagination.Published 1 month ago by Amanda McNulty