This book is so true, and that's what makes it immensely powerful. The sheer ecstasy of existence is laid bare to the reader. It's part novel, part fly fishing manual, and part guidebook to life as it should be. Among the key points of the book are:

"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."

Clear, lively waters flirt with sunlight in a way that can only be described as sparkling. The trees babble as the river does; you are silent, too, save the swift whip of your line. Looping in the sunlight, the graceful casting does not interfere with the river around it. Rather, it is part of the whole.

Fly fishing is less sport than religion, less activity than tradition, less distraction than awakening. In his novel, A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean writes about his childhood in Montana. The sons of a minister, Norman and his brother struggle against their father's authority without breaking their greatest family tie: fly fishing. His story describes the peaceful beauty of the river, the struggles of a family and the theraputic qualities of fishing. By novel's end, his words reflect an almost taoist understanding of life.

More powerful is the 1992 movie, directed by Robert Redford. One might draw comparisons between this and The Legend of Bagger Vance, although the latter (also directed by Redford) is more thoroughly developed. And--while the acting is superb and the message clear--it's the cinematography that defines this film. Absolutely breathtaking scenes in Montana's wilderness, along rivers and in forests and countryside, make A River Runs Through It a terrific two-hour investment.

Cast Listing:

Brad Pitt                Paul Maclean 
Craig Sheffer            Norman Maclean  
Tom Skerritt             Rev. Maclean  

Brenda Blethyn           Mrs. Maclean 
Nicole Burdette          Mabel 
Rob Cox                  Conroy 
David Creamer            Ken Burns
Michael Cudlitz          Chub 
Emily Lloyd              Jessie Burns 
Edie McClurg             Mrs. Burns 
Fred Oakland             Mr. Burns 
Stephen Shellen          Neal Burns 
Buck Simmonds            Humph 
Susan Traylor            Rawhide

Courtesy of

"The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters."

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