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Summary

In A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean claims that “in my family, there is no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.” Nor is there a clear line between family and fly-fishing. It is the one activity where brother can connect with brother and father with son, bridging troubled relationships at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana. In Maclean’s autobiographical novella, it is the river that makes them realize that life continues and all things are related.

Just as Norman Maclean writes at the end of A River Runs Through It that he is “haunted by waters,” so have readers been haunted by his novella. A retired English professor who began writing fiction at the age of 70, Maclean produced what is now recognized as one of the classic American stories of the 20th century.

Here, with "A River Runs Through It", are two Norman Maclean stories never before on audio:

  • Logging and Pimping and “Your Pal, Jim”
  • USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky
©1976 A River Runs Through It and Other Stories © 1976 The University of Chicago Press. Recorded by arrangement with John N. Maclean and Jean Maclean Snyder. (P)2010 (p) 2010 HighBridge Company

What listeners say about A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

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Immersive experience

I loved how the book allowed me to dive into, understand and feel natural environments and people that are entirely foreign to me. Extremely well read with a soothing voice.

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Haunted by waters

This is a stunning book. Careful, genuine and true writing make this as close to a masterpiece as possible

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  • Joe
  • 10-08-14

Loved the Movie- and the Short Story is Better!

The central short story, "A River Runs Through it"- deals with the themes of love, family, obligation, and the huge challenge of what it is that we can and can't do on behalf of those that we love. Of course, fly fishing is also mentioned a time or two. :)

I loved this and I glad I found it. The themes are timeless and really resonated with me. I can't imagine anybody not thoroughly enjoying these stories.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Nothing really matters
  • 12-04-15

Fly-fishing, US Forest Service, and Life.

As others have noted, there are parts of these stories that are very beautifully written. I rushed through the book, though, and missed some of the finer points. My loss. On the other hand, perhaps some of the points were too subtle for me to catch. I wonder it it’d become more clear to me if I saw the movie...

In any case, the descriptions the author provides of life in small-town Montana and working in the woods with the US Forest Service in the early twentieth century were very interesting. And the fact these details were worked into the stories was neat.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Martha
  • 30-06-19

Just Simply Beautiful

This is one of the ten most beautiful books I have ever read. While the first, "A River Runs Through It," the basis of the movie, is often referenced, the last one, "USFS 1919" totally blew me away. The language, the writing, the perception, insights into the natural world and human nature, and the way they are all interwoven, it is just simply astonishing. This is not a book to read once and then move on, it is one to savor and linger over, returning to time and time again. It is deep. It reminds me a lot of Annie Dillard, "A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" -- if you liked one, you will love the other.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • 02-11-16

Timeless tales, outstanding reader

The descriptive language is both rich and simple. The people and places have great texture. This is one of the most well-narrated books I have even listened to, and that's out of over 200 titles. What a gem.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Chuck
  • 08-12-15

Where did the time go??

Would you consider the audio edition of A River Runs Through It and Other Stories to be better than the print version?

I believe that outstanding part of this audio edition came from the Narrator, David Manis. He told the stories with such passion and color that one might think that he was the actual author! It was only when he referenced dates that brought me back to reality.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A River Runs Through It and Other Stories?

For me it was when he referenced the father dealing with a person calling a fly "Rod" a pole in much the same same fashion that a United States Marine Corps Sergeant might chastise a Marine recruit calling his rifle a gun...

What does David Manis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Color... Passion... It was as if he was the real Norman Maclean...

If you could take any character from A River Runs Through It and Other Stories out to dinner, who would it be and why?

David Manis... I would really like to understand how he prepared to for the read...

3 people found this helpful

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  • Andre
  • 08-07-20

Blodgett Canyon Runs Through It

I already knew the title story "A River Runs Through It," but found an unexpectant surprise in the lesser known and last of the three novellas: "USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky." It wowed me. In it, Maclean writes fondly of the summer he worked for the United States Forest Service in Idaho. One part Jack London and one part Mark Twain, "USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky" is a great adventure story, the type I would have loved to have read when I was a teen. The writing is crisp and beautiful, some of the best I have encountered. His descriptions are like diamonds because they are sharp and sparkly. He has a humorous insight into human foibles that had me laughing at loud. This novella made such a strong impression on me that I returned to listened to it a second time and skipped the title story. When I finished, I felt like I had traveled on a journey with Maclean through Blodgett Canyon.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Johnnie
  • 12-06-18

A Great American Storyteller

Norman Maclean is truly on the short list of great American storytellers. He invites one to join him as crosses the Bitterroot divide or tosses a fly into the Big Blackfoot. There is much to be enjoyed in the masterful performance by David Manis who does justice to the storyline.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Catie Scarlette
  • 18-06-15

It resonates long after the read is done.

If you could sum up A River Runs Through It and Other Stories in three words, what would they be?

Luminous Poignant Inspiring

What did you like best about this story?

Mclean's cadence; it is as nearly perfect poetry as prose gets. And the reading by David Manis is just right; not rushing but letting the poetry of it move along at it's own pace, somewhat like the river.

Which scene was your favorite?

Oh so many. They all come alive in your mind's eye . . . you can feel the cold, glacial water on your feet . . . the thirst in the final story . . . it's all there.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was wishing Mclean had started publishing and writing before he was 70 and that there were many more stories for me to read.

Any additional comments?

I had actually read this in hardcover several years before and yet, (for one of the very few times in my life) it was better in audio book. You don't need to see the movie (though I understand why he made it). This is better, somehow more personal.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 02-10-15

Love completely without complete understanding

“We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.”
― Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

A near perfect novella, carved into a near perfect book; a beautiful thing. That is all I have to say about that. Well, perhaps a literary/geologic inequality as a postscript:

Prose + Structure > Time + Ablation

16 people found this helpful

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  • Scott Hiddelston
  • 10-09-16

Completely Involving and masterfully narrated.

What made the experience of listening to A River Runs Through It and Other Stories the most enjoyable?

This is probably the best-narrated book I have ever listened to. The narrator's pace and tone are absolutely perfect for this book: If you didn't know the dates in the book you would think it was the author narrating. Beautiful work.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The Author. Being the older brother he has the wisdom and experience to understand what is going on in his life at the time, a rare gift.

What about David Manis’s performance did you like?

Everything. David Manis has pulled off the perfect feat here. This is easily the best-narrated book I have listened to. Tone, timing, inflection, everything is spot-on. I would listen to a reading of the telephone directory if he were narrating (do they still have those?).

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The last chapter. No spoiler here but I think all readers/listeners/viewers will agree.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended, although the author's passion for fly fishing does tend to make him go into a lot of detail that might turn non fly fisherman off. Don't let it! The story is well worth it.

1 person found this helpful