The River Why
Leaving behind a madcap, fishing-obsessed family, Gus decides to strike out on his own, taking refuge in a secluded cabin on a remote riverbank to pursue his own fly-fishing passion with unrelenting zeal. But...more
Or simply one reaches a moment when action and emotional implication start to feel so forced, so disjointed, that a clean break is needed to reconnect again with the invisible chord of communion that binds us to others.
Like the convoluted, meandering river that exists onl ...more
The narrator starts his personal tale with his parents’ honeymoon…
…honeymoons are intended to seal the union of bride and groom till death does them part. But whereas we imagine the usual chemistry of such excursions to be a uniting through corporeal and spiritual familiarity – a sharing of meals, scenic wonders, wines and bathrooms, of kisses, caresses...more
The paperback copy I had was a later edition, and I sent my copy to the Sierra Club in San Francisco, explaining that I knew they would not share the author's address, could they please s ...more
It had aspects of all of my favorite books combined.
Comedy and fantastic writing that is at times beautifully simple, and intellectually dense.
Every character stood out as an incredibly interesting individual, so much so that if the author hadn't of said this was a work of fiction himself I wo ...more
--- Henry David Thoreau
Part spiritualishy-quest, part fishing tales, part family drama, add in a quirky, fanciful introduction to romance, a coming-of-age tale, some interestingly eccentric characters with their own strange stories to share, and a reverent approach to Nature – all set in / on / near the mythical Tamawanis River in Oregon.
I added this book to my to-read list three years ago, right after I ...more
It is the best of any!
‘Tis full of pleasure, void of strife
And ’tis beloved by many.
Sometimes it’s good to go outside your comfort zone and try something completely different. I’ve never been interested in fishing, despite some close friends’ repeated invitations to come along on their trips. Turns out I’ve been a fisherman all my life and didn’t know it. Gus, the young man who is crazy about fishing in this seminal novel, is the one who opened my eyes to the deeper ...more
Some books draw you in.
Some books read you-- and in the process lay you out, naked and utterly absorbed in every sensation and feeling as though you were just born.
Welcome to The River Why.
I never thought of fishing and philosophy as a duo. I don't even particularly care that much about fishing (despite having done so with my grandfather when I was a little girl).
But Duncan has created a story so rich in thought and depth, that even the technicalities of fly making, cast ...more
It’s hard for me to express just how much I love this book. One of the biggest reasons why is because it’s laugh-out-loud hysterical. There are just not ...more
Still, some bits do kinda-sorta appeal:
In praise of his Ma, who claims to have 'dumb luck,' Gus says, "I thin ...more
Towards the end of the book, I read this passage, and then re-read it and re-read at least ten times...
"Dawn came up behind the hills, extending ...more
Gus Orviston's story begins with his total dedication to fishing, a birthright, it seems, since his Ma is an earthy fisherwoman who uses bait, and ...more
I feel like David James Duncan uses the English language the way a baseball player uses a bat. Anybody can swing a bat, but a baseball player knows how to do something special with it.
Anyone watching a baseball player, or anyone reading David James Duncan, can perceive the art in front of them, but if they pick up the bat or a pen and try to replicate the artistry, they will surely strike out. Per ...more
First let me say that I am neither religious nor "spiritual". I find books about discovering one's spirituality tiresome. I am solidly in the secular materialist camp. So with that said, let me now say that I loved this book. I loved it despite the moral of the tale, which is that God is (qui ...more
I've read this book at least ten times, twice out loud to my wife. My copy has fallen apart, and today I found a mint condition one in my local used book store. My f ...more
The River Why incorporates everything I could ever want in a book- it's hilarious, its spiritual, it involves fishing, and it's (again) hilarious.
The book is a fictional autobiography about a man who leaves his nutty family to discover himself as a sort of recluse-fisherman. He makes great friendships along the way, and eventually comes to appreciate his part in the bigger picture. It's a great book, nearly impossible to categorize, but trust me when I say that t ...more
Essentially a story about a confused ...more
Both received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers award; The Brothers K was a New York Times Notable Book in 1992 and won a Best Books Award from the American Library Association.