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A River Runs Through It | [Norman Maclean]

A River Runs Through It

A River Runs Through It is a universal story of family love and a lyrical masterpiece, as beautiful as the great trout rivers of western Montana upon which it is set. Its beauty is especially evident through the "near-perfect match" of reader Ivan Doig and author Norman MacLean.
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Publisher's Summary

Life for the MacLean family in Missoula, Montana, in 1937 centers around family, fly fishing and the Big Blackfoot River. Fly fishing is the one activity where the family can bridge troubled relationships, where brother can connect with brother and father with son. And in the end, it is through the river that they realize how life continues and all things are related. This is a universal story of family love and a lyrical masterpiece, as beautiful as the great trout rivers of western Montana upon which it is set.

©1976 by The University of Chicago; (P)1992 HighBridge Company; ©2000 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Exquisite...this recording joins the ranks of the few near-perfect matches of reader and author." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (149 )
5 star
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4.3 (80 )
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4.2 (79 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John 05-27-05
    John 05-27-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lyrical - wonderfully done"

    A River Runs Through It is one of my favorite books of all time. It is not simply a book on fishing, but instead an elegantly articulated story about relationships, about beauty ("My father was one of the few men who would comfortably use the word beautiful"), and, above all, a story about the individual spirituality of fly fishing (from the first line: "In my family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing").

    It is, as well, a wonderful example of how to write well. The prose is evocative, yet lean and spare - MacLean could draw more from fewer words than anyone else I ever read.

    Having the book read by Ivan Doig, another Montana author, gives it a familiarity of someone who also writes well (but not in Norman MacLean's league) about Montana and the out doors and relationships. I will listen to this book again and again...whenever I need context to contemplate the challenges and the beauty of life!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate Calamus, IA, USA 08-24-05
    Nate Calamus, IA, USA 08-24-05
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    "almost excellent"

    Without a doubt the text of this story is wonderful. I great book to listen to and contemplate. However, the sound quality broke up in places and that much of the experience makes me hesitate to give all 5 stars - a review the book itself deserves.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa University City, MO, United States 06-30-11
    Melissa University City, MO, United States 06-30-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Gorgeous"

    Prose and story are both gorgeous and a delight to listen to. For those who wrote about the overuse of fly-fishing, it's a metaphor for life. I've never fly-fished, nor will I, but I can appreciate the way the lessons of fly-fishing have informed the narrator's worldview. The narration, like the prose, is understated. Truly a treat.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Santa Cruz, CA, United States 08-09-10
    Sharon Santa Cruz, CA, United States 08-09-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A River Runs Through It"

    I wish I had this book in my hands to quote from it...a definite lack in this listening thing. I find this short novel exquisite. Every line has meaning. The relationships are achingly full of perception and grace. The metaphor of the river, and fly fishing, is omnipresent and speaks of the love that is shot through the main characters' interactions with each other. I have listened to this book twice, and read it once. The film is ghastly....the meaning is in the words, and layered: the river, fly fishing, one's relation to one's god, brothers and families, the story of the prodigal son, violence and mayhem of the heart, the beauty of knowing something. And in closing: I plan to just ignore reviews that don't recognize or understand the craft of fiction.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 07-25-14
    Kim 07-25-14 Member Since 2010
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    "It Just Doesn't Go Anywhere"

    A lyrical turn of phrase is well and good. I enjoy an exploration of relationships, but this one leaves so much out that I found I was very frustrated that the personalities were not further developed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 06-16-14
    Richard 06-16-14 Member Since 2011
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    "One of the very few..."
    Any additional comments?

    Very worth the listen, but truthfully, one of the few times that I have actually enjoyed a movie more than the book it is based on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 05-10-14
    Linda 05-10-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A River Runs Through it"
    What did you like best about A River Runs Through It? What did you like least?

    The very last section where there was some action. The connection with the river and the lives of the brothers felt strained and a bit laboured. It would have been a more enjoyable read if I had experience of fly fishing and also if I were male. Making assumptions here!


    Would you be willing to try another book from Norman Maclean? Why or why not?

    Unlikely on the basis of this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Stoughton, MA, USA 02-28-08
    Frances Stoughton, MA, USA 02-28-08
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    "Big Mistake!"

    This was the most boring and poorly written novel ever! The author went on and on about fly fishing; that I questioned whether this book was about anything else. If I didn't know it, I would of thought I just read "Fly Fishing for Dummies" reference book. I thought it was about brotherhood, relationships, and good old family bonding. Don't choose this book, if that's what you're looking for. It was a mistake selecting this read.

    1 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    taratooley 01-20-06
    taratooley 01-20-06
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    "A Horrid Book"

    My middle school children were assigned this book and I decided to listen along. Boy am I glad I did. My children (12 & 14) are connoisseurs of excellent literature - "Mom, this is boring and stupid." We ceased the reading/listening mid way.

    I/we were offended not only by the lame writing, but by the content. A very remedial "he said, she said” book with drunken characters wandering aimlessly through the book. This is NOT Montana and I hope you will reconsider before purchasing this waste of time.

    2 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Oklahoma City, OK, USA 03-18-09
    Christopher Oklahoma City, OK, USA 03-18-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sorry, bad book"

    The narrator is boring. The book is not really well written. I was expecting to find much better work, considering the movie, but this is a case where I'm kind of stunned, yet elated, that Robert Redford found teh book interesting. I believe he saw teh heart of the message, and the potential for a lavishly visual and rich storey, but that doesn't mean teh book is any fun to listen to. The poetic passages are confusing, and not inspiring, and the general flow of teh storey is boring and choppy and just bad.

    I love audiobooks, seriously consider not buying this book.

    0 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Tim
    stotfold, United Kingdom
    12/6/11
    Overall
    "A perfect Audio Book"

    Beautifully written and read. I have been an avid listener of audible books for many years with pushing 200 titles now on my ipod. But this is the one i keep coming back to and just can't fault it is totally absorbing the characterisation is perfect the pace and hummer gentle. There is nothing clumsy or that jars the story is hard and all the more poignant when you consider it is based on the authors own life. I should perhaps say that i fly fish and that fly fishing is a central theme of the book but don't let that put you off just be warned you may want to give it a try after listening to the book. The reader is so good you are unaware and him, this being my highest complement for any reader his effortless style and delivery are perfect for the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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