TK421's Reviews > A River Runs Through It

A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Feb 17, 13

it was amazing
bookshelves: literary

My younger brother and I had a conversation growing up that went something like this:

Him: “I can’t wait to get out of here. I’m never coming back when I leave. What about you?”

Here I would always put on the most innocent of grins and reply: “Oh, I’ll never leave South Dakota, brother. It needs me here, like I need it.”

At that we would both start laughing because he knew I had just done a poor impression of Norman talking to his own brother, Paul, the mysterious brother who has wanderlust and dark secrets.

Time has passed for both my brother and I; he has been in two wars, I remained in South Dakota and started teaching at one of the colleges. Occasionally, he’ll reference this conversation on the phone but his voice belies the fact that he misses what he left. I think that is the point of A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT. We are all destined to be some place. Some of us will try to create this place. Some of us will try to run from that place. But no matter that we do, that place will always call to us. Haunt us.

This short novel, novella really, is about family and fly-fishing and religion, three mainstays of South Dakota. It was easy to transplant myself within the story, as I grew up with many of the same experiences that the Maclean boys did, albeit a bit different considering age differences of those brothers to my brother and me. I romped through woods with my fly-reel, looking for a perfect place to not only fish, for fishing was really a secondary prize, but also to seek a silence that is only offered in the most remote of locales. Perhaps my sentimentality about ths book has taken me captive with age and time. But that is okay.

Boss, if you’re reading this, I miss you. Always remember that I’ll be here. Waiting. Thinking. Hoping for your arrival.

76 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read A River Runs Through It.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by mark (new)

mark monday i really like this review gavin.

TK421 mark wrote: "i really like this review gavin."

thank you

message 3: by Edmund (new)

Edmund Davis-Quinn Gorgeous book, even lived at Maclean Hall at the University of Chicago.

Nothing makes me cry more.

Jenny (Reading Envy) Very touching. I love when a book means this much.

message 5: by Mark (new)

Mark what a lovely personal review. Thank you

message 6: by Leslie (new) - added it

Leslie Lovely Gavin. I have always loved that movie and didn't even know it was a book first. I bet it's full of long, detailed landscape decriptions that some people hate but live for.

message 7: by James (new)

James Thane Gavin--a nice review of one of my two or three favorite books of all time. I was lucky enough to grow up in Missoula myself, and, as Maclean suggests, the spirit of the place never leaves you.

TK421 Jenny, Mark, Leslie, and James: Thanks for all your kind words; that book is magical. Very few books (that I have come across) have ever made me feel such a powerful and emotional connection to the characters and setting. If only Maclean wrote thirty books!

message 9: by Gwynhwyfar (new)

Gwynhwyfar Your review brought tears to my eyes! I once had a friendship like that with my sister, but it's gone. I DO have the memory of those places, in the Berkshires and other spots in the Connecticut River Valley. We even did some trout fishing (but like Neil, we guessed it, worms--just not in a Hills. Bros. coffee can..."When I am in the half-light of the canyon...", well YOU know the rest!

message 10: by David A (new)

David A Beautiful review Gavin. I fell in love with this film when it came out in 1992. I fished with pals in school and for a few years after, until life took us on separate paths. I often think back to the innocence of those days, young lads heading away to fish for hours on end. We sorted out all of life's problems in those days. Sadly one my pals who fished with us passed away years too early, way before his time. He was so like Paul in the film it's uncanny. I take out the book and read it every now and then and it never fails to stir my soul with good memories but tinged with some sadness. How I long to have 1 more day on that river like the days we used to have.

back to top