“A River Runs Through It” – Introduction

Introduction
May 9, 2015

This marks the 8th year in which I’ve read Norman Maclean’s “minor classic” novella, A River Runs Through It. If you have never read the story (it is only a little over 100 pages long), but have seen the movie, then I will either surprise or confirm your suspicions of my intellectual pretensions by saying: the movie a more than decent adaptation of the book…but the book is still better.

Let me give you a little history of my experience with the story:

My first reading was in May of 2008, when my family’s dog, Otis, and I were staying with my Great Uncle Mike at his place way up in the mountains of West Virginia, along the south branch of the Potomac River. It was the beginning of the summer before my final year of college, and I knew everything. My express purpose for reading the story was in preparation for a seminar on Norman Maclean which I was taking in the fall, along with my four of closest friends, both at that time and to this day.

Fredand Otis
(Me, with my friend, back in 2008.)

Now you have two of the elements of why the story is important to me: I was going on a (mostly) fishing trip, and was preparing for an intellectual excursion with a group of trusted companions. But behind and before that is my upbringing, learning to fish from my father on this same stretch of river.

All of these things are appropriate, because the story is very much about fathers and sons and brothers. That those things are in the story, as well as in my reading and understanding of it, will likely be reflected in what I write about it here.

The story (along with a kind of companion story which is included in volume) has taken on additional meaning(s) as well, over the last few years. And I think this year will be no exception, which is what makes a book enduring in one’s mind, and worth reading time after time.

This year will probably be more spiritual or faith-based in what I take from it, I can already tell. Something more from my Heavenly Father, and my spiritual brothers (and sisters!), and in mind that only strengthens the foundation of love I have for the story already.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I expect to.

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