Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

The author of the book, Norman, writes about his brother and their shared love of fly fishing.

What most stands out in this story is the beautiful imagery and the relationship between the brothers. Norman is looking at the foam from the waterfall and thinking that "the speckled foam was eggnog with nutmeg sprinkled on it." But then Norman says the giant fish frolicking around in that foam was a "lucky son of a bitch" that Norman was the one fishing and not the more talented Paul. There's enough of this guy-speak in the story to remind you that this is a story about brothers and not Walden Pond.

... "One of life's quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself softly becoming the author of something beautiful." (p. 47)

And later... Norman and Paul go fishing together and they have to drag along Norman's brother-in-law, Neal, who brings a girl with him. The two brothers bury their beers in the bed of the icy cold river and then stand in the hot sun all day fishing. Parched with thirst at the end of the day, they go to retrieve their beers, but the bottles are missing. They walk back to the direction of the car in search of their beers and spot Neal and his girl passed out drunk face down in the sand, completely naked, their skin bright red from sunburn. The girl has a tattoo on her tush : (LO/VE)

And on his last day fishing, Paul is about the catch a whopper when his Presbyterian minister of a father lugs a giant stone into the water, scaring all the fish away. Paul smirks and goes to the other side to try again.

It's a novella and there are two other stories in the book. The second one is about Norman's experiences as a lumberjack and I skipped the third. This title caught my eye because I vaguely remember my parents watching the movie when I was a kid.

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