The River Why

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9780553344868: The River Why

Since its publication by Sierra Club Books more than two decades ago, The River Why has become a classic, standing with Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It as our era’s most widely read fiction about fly-fishing. This captivating and exuberant tale is told by Gus Orviston, an irreverent young fly fisherman and one of the most appealing heroes in contemporary American fiction.
Leaving behind a madcap, fishing-obsessed family, Gus decides to strike out on his own, taking refuge in a remote riverbank cabin to pursue his own fly-fishing passion with unrelenting zeal. But instead of finding fishing bliss, Gus becomes increasingly troubled by the degradation of the natural world around him and by the spiritual barrenness of his own life. His desolation drives him on a reluctant quest for self-discovery and meaning -- ultimately fruitful beyond his wildest dreams.
Stylistically adept and ambitious in scope, The River Why is a touching and powerful novel by an important voice in American fiction.
In a new Afterword written for this twentieth-anniversary edition, David James Duncan reflects on the genesis of his book and on the surprising link between fishing and wisdom.

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Product Description:

This captivating and exuberant tale is told by Gus Orviston, an irreverent young fly fisherman and one of the most appealing heroes in contemporary American fiction.

Leaving behind a madcap, fishing-obsessed family, Gus decides to strike out on his own, taking refuge in a secluded cabin on a remote riverbank to pursue his own fly-fishing passion with unrelenting zeal. But instead of finding fishing bliss, Gus becomes increasingly troubled by the degradation of the natural world around him and by the spiritual barrenness of his own life. His desolation drives him on a reluctant quest for self-discovery and meaning, ultimately fruitful beyond his wildest dreams.

Here, then, is a funny, sensitive, unforgettable story about the relationships among men, women, the environment, and the human soul.

Review:

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.

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David James Duncan
Published by Bantam (1984)
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