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A River Runs through It and Other Stories Kindle Edition
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Elegantly redesigned, A River Runs through It includes a new foreword by Robert Redford, director of the Academy Award-winning 1992 film adaptation of River. Based on Maclean’s own experiences as a young man, the book’s two novellas and short story are set in the small towns and mountains of western Montana. It is a world populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, but also one rich in the pleasures of fly-fishing, logging, cribbage, and family. By turns raunchy and elegiac, these superb tales express, in Maclean’s own words, “a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by.”
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About the Author
Norman Maclean grew up in and around Missoula, Montana, where he worked in logging camps and for the US Forest Service. He attended Dartmouth College and taught English for forty-six years at the University of Chicago. He began writing A River Runs Through It in his seventies at the request of his children.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B06X99WMNF
- Publisher : University of Chicago Press; Enlarged edition (May 3, 2017)
- Publication date : May 3, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 1466 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 241 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #35,249 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I don't usually write reviews, but I was compelled to write one for this book. I am a writer, not a fisherman. I actually don't really like fishing nor know anything about it. That didn't make me any less spellbound by this tale.
The writing is gorgeous and precise and sly and so unexpectedly beautiful and logical and funny and emotional. It reads differently than the books I'm used to reading. There's no faux suspense. There's no tricks or shock value. It's just a beautiful story.
It took me a little while to get completely invested. I'd say I read the first 30 pages slowly, and then the remainder all at once (of the title story).
I know this isn't a great book review, but just wanted to add my opinion. I'm a 26 year old female who works in the tech industry. My one fishing experience was when I caught a fish with my grandpa when I was 7 and it was bleeding and I cried for two days. I loved this book. Don't discount it because it's about fishing. It is beautiful and perfect, or maybe I should say "more perfect."
I mostly give this book to men, young men. Preferably young men with brothers. I think young men with brothers will get the most out of it. Others may read it and disagree with MY target 'gift' audience. You are free to read the book and give it to who YOU think best! I've read many reviews and all about Noman Maclean. His book(s) affect me deeply and I can get moved just by recalling the storyline - which never leaves me because of its similarities to my own personal experience.
Spoiler Alert: It's mostly about the regrets we all will feel one day for not taking action to SAVE someone dear to us who we know needs saving - but that we also know we cannot save. Who we know we are helpless to save. I've had that in my life, as have many others. Perhaps it's a sibling who's a substance abuser. Or a gambler. A ne'er do well. Read this book and you will be moved to understand that your personal inadequacies in the face of such terrible loss was part of a larger spiritual plan.
"Logging, Pimping, and Your Pal Jim" I have learned is somewhat of a cult classic for those who love the woods and stories about the men who inhabit them. Years ago a pastor friend recommended the story to me, and I think it was the best gift he ever gave me.
"USFS 1919, The Ranger, the Cook and the Hole in the Sky" Is an autobiographical account of the early days of the U.S. Forest Service and the men who worked the woods. In telling the story you get a feel for Montana almost a hundred years ago, but that is true of all the stories in this book. It was a Montana full of loggers, loose women, cowboys and card games. When at the end of the story Norman ends up nursing back his health in the Hamilton whorehouse, (where better?) his first thought is, this is just like one of those old west whore houses my friend described to me, before he realizes that it is in fact the thing itself. The door on that house shuts behind it tales of a misspent youth in the wilds of a Montana that was still young itself.
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The title piece (published in 1976) is famous amongst a wide circle of literary afionionados, and was given a major popular boost when it was turned into a sensitive and visually beautiful film by Robert Redford in 1992.
Redford wrote a Foreword to the University of Chicago 2017 edition of the three stories, which is impressively intelligent and low-key, focused on what it was like to court and work with Maclean, which is just what one wants to know. (Incidentally, Redford has always seemed to me to be rather a fey hero in his conventional movies, slightly uncertain and uncommitted - handicapped by his thoughtfulness? - never fully in the part, in contrast, for example, to Paul Newman and Brad Pitt.)
Contrary to what Maclean said about his three tales - that they express 'a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by' - they seem to me to be overwhelmingly focused on American, male machismo: extolling the 'devil may care' disdain for anything except the hero's old-fashioned sense of personal honour, self-sufficiency and the landscape (in this case, Montana). This is the classic material of Westerns, but with forestry work as the context, instead of confrontations with desperados.
The three stories are closely based on the author's early life in Montana in the 1920s. It says something about the enduring patriotism of American critics that Maclean is still acclaimed by many as a great writer on the basis of these slim offerings (he published no other fiction). They are redolent in style and purpose of a homespun Hemmingway, but with less emotional range and little complexity of relationship.
Not that the tales are not very good. They are deftly told, and the terse and short dialogues are brilliantly evocative of character. All three stories are about 'strong' men, who may appear slightly simple-minded to our more nuanced and progressive 21st century sensibilities. Above all, it is Maclean's singular and laconic style which attracts, as well as the vision of a simpler, more heroic world. There is also the occasional sighting of an underlying tenderness - close to nostalgia - in the author's relations with his family and, equally, with the straight-forward mountain-lad which he once was.
At one point, the author speaks to us more or less directly, in the voice of his father, near the end of A River Runs Through It: 'we can seldom help anybody. Either we don't know what part to give or maybe we don't like to give any part of ourselves. Then, more often than not, the part that is needed is not wanted. And even more often, we do not have the part that is needed.' This opens up a necessary strain of compassion, which redeems the ultimately unattractive self-sufficiency of the main characters.
The last story, USFS 1929, is the most dramatic. It's about a mountain-lad of 17 working for 'the finest the early Forest Service had to offer', in the person of the ultra-taciturn, heroically direct Bill Bell. Man and story both exhibit great economy of style. With masterly dexterity, Maclean builds a kind of laid-back tension, leading to a climactic poker game in a mountain town. As everyone expects - and wants - it ends in a sprawling back-room fight which is over minutes after it starts, but not before the lad socks the one member of his own crew whom he can't stand, and gets clobbered by the other side.
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.