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The river why by David James Duncan
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The river why (edition 1983)

by David James Duncan

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1,022258,311 (4.18)45
Member:teelgee
Title:The river why
Authors:David James Duncan
Info:San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, c1983.
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, favorite authors, Top Twenty, on my re-read list

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The River Why by David James Duncan

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
This is one book that I've bought over and over again and given to friends. I just loved it. It would be fun to read this again - it has been years - and see if I love it as much as I did originally. I recall the writing to be very witty and clever. ( )
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
"Gus Orviston, a young flyfisherman whose parents are manic fishers (father Henning with flies, mother Carolina with worms), runs away from the city and family to immerse himself in catching fish on a small river near the Oregon coast. But he finds that doing nothing but what you love isn't ultimately rewarding, and the degradation of the natural world around him troubles Gus as well. While he tries to decide what to do with himself as well as how to save his beloved rivers and streams, he learns how to relate with his oddball neighbors and meets a lovely woman who is almost as good at fishing as he is. This wonderful 1983 novel is sort of a _Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance_ of flyfishing."
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
I read this a long time ago. I think the author is caught between his mother and father, both fishers but one is a fly fisher and the other uses worms(?) which is a source/symptom of marital woes. I remember enjoying the peaceful reflects the author includes. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
This is guylit and has a special place in my heart. I read it at the behest of a firefighter I was chatting with online, whom I subsequently met and...nothin' happened. Which was fine, because he was in his world and I was in mine and, well, this book is more about our relationship than the book.

But it was a very good book. ( )
  MoriahJovan | Sep 23, 2013 |
I wanted to like this one. I loved Duncan’s novel The Brothers K and had been looking forward to reading this one, but it just didn’t work for me. I felt myself dreading it every time I was about to pick it up. It was incredibly hard for me to get into. It’s about fly fishing and philosophy, an odd combination in any book, but in this meandering novel neither subject captured my interest.

Gus is a fisherman to his core. His parents are both talented fishers and he was raised on a steady diet of hooks and lines. His father is a prim and proper Englishman and his mother is a redneck hot-tempered woman. Though their personalities clash, their loyalty to each other is unshakeable. The odd pairing, along with their eccentric son Bill Bob, were my favorite elements in the book, but the trio made far too few appearances to keep my interest. Gus’ parents are thrilled when he turns out to have a natural ability for the past time.

BOTTOM LINE: I definitely seem to be in the minority here, but I just couldn’t get into it. There were some beautifully written sections and a few really unique supporting characters, but in the end it wasn’t enough. The rest of it fell flat for me. It’s not good when your favorite part of the book is finishing it so you don’t ever have to pick it up again.

“… because of fishing I grew up osprey-silent and trout-shy and developed early on an ability to slide through the Public School System as river water slides by the logjams, rockslides and dams that bar its seaward journey.”

“Perhaps not to know him is to know him well. He has a height and weight, face, voice, hair, the usual number of limbs – all the accoutrements of a brother. Yet there is an impregnability about him that thwarts easy intimacy.” ( )
  bookworm12 | May 3, 2013 |
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Having harbored two sons in the waters of her womb, my Mother considers herself something of an authority on human foetuses.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553344862, Paperback)

David James Duncan's first novel has gained an increasingly wide audience over the years--some might even call it a following. This coming-of-age tale of Gus Orviston's search for the Pacific Northwest's elusive steelhead, a metaphor for Gus's internal quest for self-knowledge, appeals to all who cherish a good yarn and memorable characters. Uncle Zeke's colorful rendition of Gus's conception on the banks of the Deschutes River is itself worth the price of purchase.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Since its publication by Sierra Club Books nearly two decades ago, "The River Why" has become a classic, now standing with Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through It" as the most-read fiction about fly-fishing of our era.

(summary from another edition)

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