The River Why by David James Duncan, one of those special books, hard to describe and a joy to read. While the book certainly pays homage to fly fishing, it is much more than a novel about fishing. A more apt description would be a book about life, living in the present, truly being aware of the grandeur surrounding us, and walking gently on the earth. Now I am making it sound too serious, see what I mean about describing this story. It is also funny. An upper crust Brit transplanted to Oregon where he writes about fly fishing encounters a tough as nails Eastern Oregon cowgirl, sparks fly, progeny result. Their parenting styles are different, but somehow it all works. The narrator of the story is their son, Gus, a gifted fisherman, also a young man coming of age and finding solace in nature. It is not necessary to fish to thoroughly enjoy this beautiful story that is both entertaining and thoughtful.— Deon Stonehouse
Since its publication in 1983, The River Why has become a classic. David James Duncan's sweeping novel is a coming-of-age comedy about love, nature, and the quest for self-discovery, written in a voice as distinct and powerful as any in American letters.
Gus Orviston is a young fly fisherman who leaves behind his comically schizoid family to find his own path. Taking refuge in a remote cabin, he sets out in pursuit of the Pacific Northwest's elusive steelhead. But what begins as a physical quarry becomes a spiritual one as his quest for self-knowledge batters him with unforeseeable experiences.
Profoundly reflective about our connection to nature and to one another, The River Why is also a comedic rollercoaster. Like Gus, the reader emerges utterly changed, stripped bare by the journey Duncan so expertly navigates.
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Praise for The River Why:
"A whirlwind, madcap, humorous and sensitive novel"New York Times