A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition
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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."
fishermen had to sit between them and buy the drinks. That's where Neal and I sat when we came in. “Hi, Long Bow,” Neal said, and overshook his hand. Long Bow did not like to be called Long Bow, although he knew he was called Long Bow behind his back, but to Neal he was just plain old Long Bow, and after a couple of shots of 3-7-77 Neal was outshooting, outhunting, and outtrapping the government trapper. There was something deep in Neal that compelled him to lie to experts, even though
declared our love for each other, given the restrictions Scots put on such public declarations. Actually, I was feeling lordly with love and several times broke into laughter that I can't explain otherwise, but he could have thought I was trying to be brave about having made a mess of my life. I don't really know what he thought, but he was as tender as I usually tried to be to him. On the way he said, “Mother will be glad to see us, too. But she gets excited when we show up without telling
big waters alone, although 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 a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was
woman looked older but not so old as she was supposed to be, because when she finally was introduced she was introduced as Annabelle's mother. Naturally, I wondered how she figured in Jim's operation and a few days later I ran into some jacks in town who knew her and said she was still a pretty good whore, although a little sad and flabby. Later that evening I tried talking to her; I don't think there was much left to her inside but it was clear she thought the world of Jim. I had to take
took off our telephone receivers and listened to her voice when it was her turn to report to the station. She was married and talked every night to her husband in Kooskia, but we did not listen to avoid feeling sorry for ourselves. After a few days of resting and not mending the tent, I started to feel tough again. I knew I had been sent up here as punishment. I was expected to sit still and watch mountains and long for company and something to do, like playing cribbage, I suppose. I was going