Monday, December 5, 2011
"A River Runs Through It" has always been one of my favorite movies. It is an amazing and powerful movie and since I found out it was originally a short story by Norman Maclean, I have wanted to read it. I looked in several book stores, but couldn't find it so I broke down and ordered it online. I took a break from Sherlock Holmes to read it and it was amazing. I thought the movie was powerful, but the story is simply amazing. It is poetic, beautiful, moving and haunting. The language and pace was unreal. It is really a novella around 100 pages, which gives Maclean enough time to go into detail, but also allows a steady, yet descriptive pace. Beyond the magnificent skill of Maclean this story is a perfect crossing of subject matter, pacing, language and scenery. As I have stated before I have many styles of writing that I love (Bradbury and Hemingway). Each left up to his own devices, though I still enjoy it, can lean towards their stronger style. For Hemingway it is short, direct sentences that allows your mind to fill in the blanks, while Bradbury uses an array of language to excite a feeling from within you that can sometimes be poetic with it's allusions. Maclean I believe can do both and does them both very well. At times he is short and sweet and lets you fill in gaps, but he does indulge in the poetic and romantic prose along the way. I liked this transition. Sentences that are to long, poetic and descriptive can wear me out and my ADD kicks in and I forget what is being described, this is why I totally agree with Twain's comment on Jane Austen- paraphrased- "Reading her makes me so mad, I want to dig her up and hit her in the head with her own shin bone." The scenery is also possibly one of my favorite landscapes, the Rocky Mountains and plains. I love the Rockies and to see the Great Plains crash into the majestic Rockies is truly breathtaking. I have been relatively near Montana where the story takes place, Wyoming, so when Maclean describes these majestic scenes I am entranced. Plus the idea of fly fishing in the Rockies is about the closest human can now get to it's original state in nature, short of getting lost in the woods and eaten by a bear. This story is part London, part Hemingway and part Robert Frost. It is simply beautiful and amazing and the final couple paragraphs I would vote as the best finish to any story I have ever read.