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Northwest of Normal

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  22 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Set in the quirky mountain town of Ipsyniho, Oregon--a community of artists, loggers, dope growers, and river guides--"Northwest of Normal" is the humorous story of one village reinventing the American dream. Andy Trib is a troubled fly-fishing guide returning to his hometown of Ipsyniho after a year on the run. He embarks on a quest to repair his life's greatest sin, the ...more
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Barclay Creek Press
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Scott C
Jul 25, 2009 Scott C rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fly fishing guides, Oregonians
I read lots of stories where the characters lead lives far removed from my experiences. They have problems I have never had and probably never will. Yet I empathized with them at some level. How does an author do that?

One way is by creating characters that have traits and behaviors that the reader admires or relates to. Even when a character has weaknesses or problems, if the reader admires some of their traits, they will cheer for them to succeed, forgive them when they make mistakes and cry fo
Not as good as "Holding Lies", but still good. I appreciated getting the back story on Danny, a character I particularly liked in HL. Larison is very good at putting you inside a particular person's reality, their body and their perspective and their frustrations with their own various limitations, and good with the timing of his reveals. Most of all I appreciate the richness of the language that flows with the same beauty and grace as his beloved Ipsyniho River.
I read this book because it was favorably compared to David J Duncan's "The River Why" which I thoroughly enjoyed and think is a great book, even for non-fishers.

This book, however, fell quite short of the high bar set by Duncan.

The best thing about this book are the author's descriptions of the setting: the river and it's streamside ecology (blackberries included) and the funky town in which it is set and it's (typical) cast of characters. The scenes with fishing involved are pretty good too as
Stacy Bearse
I love fly fishing. I love the Oregon rural lifestyle. And, I loved this novel. With steelhead fly-fishing as a backdrop, NORTHWEST OF NORMAL is a saga of a deep friendship corroded by anger and betrayal. At the core of the story is a complex relationship between two male fishing guides and the woman who spurned one angler to marry the other. The characters are torn by feelings of regret, and by big lies that nibble away at their souls. Eventually the lies surface and the plot explodes. The powe ...more
Luke K.
The story is a fairly generic love triangle but the author does a great job of weaving the region and the passions of the characters into a complete story about love and growing older. A good read for anyone, seems more angled at those of us in between responsibilities and expectations
Ron Patch
Great story.
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