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The Norman Maclean Reader

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  70 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In his eighty-seven years, Norman Maclean played many parts: fisherman, logger, firefighter, scholar, teacher. But it was a role he took up late in life, that of writer, that won him enduring fame and critical acclaim—as well as the devotion of readers worldwide. Though the 1976 collection A River Runs Through It and Other Stories was the only book Maclean published in his ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by University Of Chicago Press
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“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 have always loved these sentences from Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It. This book was the only one published by Maclean. He came to writing after a long and distinguished career teaching English Literature at the Unive
Webster Bull
Norman Maclean is a personal obsession of mine, and this collection is an indispensable supplement to his two great works, "A River Runs Through It" and "Young Men and Fire," his only two books, the second of them published posthumously. The beloved U/Chicago professor of English was raised and rooted in Montana, where he lived each summer in a cabin he and his father had built with their hands. Upon his retirement at age 70, prompted by his children, he committed himself to writing a few "remin ...more
I am pleasantly disposed toward Maclean’s writing. It’s not that it’s a simple style, it’s wily, there is an obvious effort behind the lines. It’s like you sense that a master has finely polished them. If an odd tone is played, there is a reason. His “Young Men and Fire”, although unfinished, showed his workmanship over the lines, there covering a group of doomed firefighters as well as the author himself on a self discovery mission. In this book, you find that he worked on “Young Men and Fire” ...more
At its best, this collection is remarkable. Some of Maclean's essays are great, and his letters to Marie Borroff are amazingly charming and witty. I can imagine some fans of Maclean's flipping for this book, but I bogged down in the Custer stuff that, between the selected chapters and the letters to Robert Utley just make up too many pages for someone not interested in the battle. If you've read his other books, you'll find plenty here to like, but it might be worth picking and choosing your spo ...more
This is a collection of sometimes unfinished writings by Norman MacLean. They are not all fully polished and the letters had not been written for publication, but wow, this is devastatingly good!

MacLean's style is individual and despite the decades since I read A River Runs Through It, I recognized his voice immediately.

Partway through a piece subtitled A Few Remarks on the Art of Teaching, I felt a melancholy that I never had the opportunity to have him as a teacher. I started and realized I w
Rob Blaine
This is a nice collection and sample of Norman Maclean, including pieces from his more acclaimed works as well as published and unpublished writings, lectures and letters. The Norman Maclean Reader gave me a greater appreciation of the depth of this writers craft, yet leaves me wondering what the world of literature would have looked like had he starting writing and publishing his stores early in life, instead of after a full and accomplished life of scholarship and teaching. I'm sure his studen ...more
His prose style is spare and clean, but he still is able to explore complex ideas. He's especially concerned with the notion of defeat. His explorations approach the tragic, but more often they seem to be from the point of view of the bystander who knows what the end will be but is powerless to change or prevent the event. I suppose it's the same dynamic that he uses in A River Runs Through It. One brother watching another and powerless to alter fate.
free ebook UofC. mini-read. good, work
When he's good, he's terrific.
Mar 23, 2009 Donna added it
I'm not sure that more background about a river runs through it is necessary or helpful, but there are some good essays. especially good is him talking about watching michelson (of interferometer fame) playing billiards at uchicago.
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Free ebook version of this book - December 2013 1 3 Dec 03, 2013 10:13PM  
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Born in Clarinda, Iowa, on December 23, 1902, Maclean was the son of Clara Davidson (1873-1952) and the Rev. John Maclean (1862-1941), a Scottish Presbyterian minister, who managed much of the education of the young Norman and his brother Paul (1906-1938) until 1913. The fam
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