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A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition

A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]

Norman Maclean
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Ostensibly a 'fishing story, ' 'A River Runs through It' is really an autobiographical elegy that captivates readers who have never held a fly rod in their hand. In it the art of casting a fly becomes a ritual of grace, a metaphor for man's attempt to move into nature."--Andrew Rosenheim "The Independent "

Product Description

Just as Norman Maclean writes at the end of "A River Runs through It" that he is "haunted by waters," so have readers been haunted by his novella. A retired English professor who began writing fiction at the age of 70, Maclean produced what is now recognized as one of the classic American stories of the twentieth century. Originally published in 1976, A River Runs through It and Other Stories now celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, marked by this new edition that includes a foreword by Annie Proulx.

Maclean grew up in the western Rocky Mountains in the first decades of the twentieth century. As a young man he worked many summers in logging camps and for the United States Forest Service. The two novellas and short story in this collection are based on his own experiences—the experiences of a young man who found that life was only a step from art in its structures and beauty. The beauty he found was in reality, and so he leaves a careful record of what it was like to work in the woods when it was still a world of horse and hand and foot, without power saws, "cats," or four-wheel drives. Populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, and set in the small towns and surrounding trout streams and mountains of western Montana, the stories concern themselves with the complexities of fly fishing, logging, fighting forest fires, playing cribbage, and being a husband, a son, and a father.

By turns raunchy, poignant, caustic, and elegiac, these are superb tales which express, in Maclean's own words, "a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by." A first offering from a 70-year-old writer, the basis of a top-grossing movie, and the first original fiction published by the University of Chicago Press, A River Runs through It and Other Stories has sold more than a million copies. As Proulx writes in her foreword to this new edition, "In 1990 Norman Maclean died in body, but for hundreds of thousands of readers he will live as long as fish swim and books are made."

"Altogether beautiful in the power of its feeling. . . . As beautiful as anything in Thoreau or Hemingway."—Alfred Kazin, Chicago Tribune Book World

"It is an enchanted tale. . . . I have read the story three times now, and each time it seems fuller."— Roger Sale, New York Review of Books

"Maclean's book—acerbic, laconic, deadpan—rings out of a rich American tradition that includes Mark Twain, Kin Hubbard, Richard Bissell, Jean Shepherd, and Nelson Algren. I love its sound."—James R. Frakes, New York Times Book Review

"The title novella is the prize. . . . Something unique and marvelous: a story that is at once an evocation of nature's miracles and realities and a probing of human mysteries. Wise, witty, wonderful, Maclean spins his tales, casts his flies, fishes the rivers and the woods for what he remembers from his youth in the Rockies."—Publishers Weekly

"Ostensibly a 'fishing story,' 'A River Runs through It' is really an autobiographical elegy that captivates readers who have never held a fly rod in their hand. In it the art of casting a fly becomes a ritual of grace, a metaphor for man's attempt to move into nature."—Andrew Rosenheim, The Independent

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 501 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0226500667
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (14 Aug 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,675 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Poured Out! 23 Nov 2009
Sometimes when an author's words are possessed of such crystalline truth, purity and beauty, it is easier to simply let the words do the talking. These words are from Norman MacLean's wonderful little novella "A River Runs Through it". They sparkle with the same shimmering clarity as a star on the bright clear waters of the Big Blackfoot River in Montana where the author fished.

"It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us."

"Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them.

Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and some friends think I shouldn't. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that fish will rise.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters."

Beautiful words that blur the distinction between prose and poetry like the canyon half light. How tragically true it is that we often fail to understand those closest to us. On my computer at work I have these words above a photo of my family. Yes, I have unashamedly girlified my work place. I have in fact out girlied the girlies! These words remind me of just how precious a thing time is and that I am slowly being poured out.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Beautifully Written Novellas 25 Jan 2006
By MrShev
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is three stories, but A River Runs Through It is the pick of the bunch that is as emotionally charged in print as it is in celluloid. The story is about more than fly fishing, but fishing is the glue that binds in this tale. The author captures the majesty of the region perfectly and the joy of being with people that you love doing things that you love on a beautiful summers day.
I would say that this is more evocative than anything else, but one feels that it would have been an honour indeed to have met the author. Enjoy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, brave and funny 21 Mar 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To say that someone is living in the past is usually an insult, but Norman Maclean's early life was so momentous that you could hardly blame him. As the helpful introduction to this work explains, he was living at the end of an era, when the great days of the Wild West and the frontier spirit were coming to an end.
Perhaps above all A River Runs Through It is a hymn to the restorative power of nature. You get the idea that Maclean was not overly impressed with modern life and throughout these stories his voice rings out beautifully, bravely and more than a little sardonically. This a wonderful glimpse of life in the early years of twentieth century rural America.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One quote sticks out... 3 Nov 2007
One passage amoungst many sticks out from this book that is full of wisdom if you take the time to read closely and relate it to the many aspects of your life and the lives of others:

He thought back on what had happened like a reporter. He started to answer, shook his head when he found he was wrong, and then started to answer. "All there is to thinking," he said, "is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren't noticing which makes you see something that isn't even visible."

This book should be read by anyone seeking an understanding of life. If you've seen the movie, give the book a try. The combination of both will give a feel for a moment in one man's life and a lifetime of reflection. Both are superb!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fishing and the meaning of life 5 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If I had to only read one book about Zen and fly fishing this would be it.
The reflections of Old Norman on his youth and what was lost by words not being said are so poetic
The last lines of the book as it all "I am haunted by waters"
it's one of the books I go back to again and again unforgettable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars River runs through it 14 Nov 2013
By gollum
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wee written book that tells the story of a time that has now gone but only just over the horizon.
Film did the book proud...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Only good for keen fishermen
After reading the rave reviews about this book and also loving the film, I got it on my Kindle but found myself skipping pages and pages of descriptions of the fly fishing, the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ms. R. G. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classis
This is is a literary gem, very approachable and extremely poingnant. It is the true story in the form of a Novella, told through the eyes of a much older man, about growing up as... Read more
Published 18 months ago by C J Else
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for fishermen
This book is great for anybody keen on fishing and Canada and has been was turned into a film a few years ago a great read.
Published 18 months ago by Peter W Warren
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as the film!
But still worth a read. The other short stories are interesting, too. There is better American Literature. Waldon springs to mind, and some of the books by Wendell Berry.
Published 21 months ago by Peter L McCallum
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderment
A really beautiful book full of the most amazing descriptions of fly fishing and of the wilderness around.
The human story was also compelling. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2012 by Liz
5.0 out of 5 stars Fishing reveals the meaning of life, and other stories...
Norman Maclean published his first work, this collection of three stories, when he was 73. He was an English Professor at the University of Chicago, and its Press broke precedent,... Read more
Published on 4 April 2011 by John P. Jones III
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