Review Of Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It

A River Runs Through It is a novella about fly-fishing and family, told from the first-person perspective of author and major character Norman Maclean. The book is actually an autobiographical account of Maclean. Barely over one hundred pages, the book is one continuous narrative, moving from one episode of fishing to another, without separation by chapters. By describing his fishing trips and related events during the summer of 1937, a much older Maclean seeks to understand the tragedy of his brother’s death, to pay homage to him, and to show appreciation for his father's love and wisdom. In A River Runs Through It, Maclean’s use of language, first-person narrative, descriptive writing, and metaphors portray his themes of grace, family, …show more content…
Most of this story is told through Maclean’s memories of various fly-fishing episodes beginning with his father teaching him and his brother how to fish and culminating in the last time Norman, his father, and his brother fished together. The book revolves around the Maclean family, which has two sons — Norman, the author, and Paul, his younger brother by three years. Norman is more serious minded and eventually goes away to school, at Dartmouth College. There, he spends six years in study and returns home with his degree. Paul, on the other hand, chooses to remain close to home, wanting to remain connected to the uncaught fish in the Blackfoot River. When Norman is reunited with Paul for the first time after returning home, they go fishing on their "family river", the Big Blackfoot. As Norman attempts to reconnect with the river after such a long absence, he spies his brother, and realizes that, while he was away at college, his brother had become not only an expert at fly-fishing, but an artist. But the beauty of Paul's artistry ends when he is immersed back into his life in the city. Once away from the river and fly-fishing, Paul drinks excessively, gambles, and gets into too many fights. In the end, this is what drives Paul to his death. In the last pages of the book, Norman learns that Paul had been beaten to death by the butt of a

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