Synopses & Reviews
In his passionate, luminous novels, The River Why
and The Brothers K
, David James Duncan has won the devotion of countless critics and readers, earning comparisons to Harper Lee, Tom Robbins, and J.D. Salinger, to name just a few. Now Duncan distills his remarkable powers of observation into this unique collection of short stories and essays.
At the heart of Duncan's tales are characters undergoing the complex and violent process of transformation, with results both painful and wondrous. Equally affecting are his nonfiction reminiscences, the "river teeth" of the title. He likens his memories to the remains of old-growth trees that fall into Northwestern rivers and are sculpted by time and water. These experiences shaped by his own river of time are related with the art and grace of a master storyteller. In River Teeth, a uniquely gifted American writer blends two forms, taking us into the rivers of truth and make-believe, and all that lies in between.
"The enormously popular writer of The River Why and The Brothers K offers an eclectic collection of fiction and nonfiction, in which the latter entries pack the greater wallop. There's a whimsical, sentimental and very Zen sensibility at work in the short stories, although Theme and Meaning often strut too blatantly....In these artful musings, Duncan...presents readers with marvelous nuggets mined from a complex, absurd, and magical life." Publishers Weekly
"Though some readers dislike blurred lines between genres, Duncan's compilation of fiction and nonfiction is fluid and diverse, if not easily definable. His writings, which are sometimes narrative, mostly defy formal structure and are based on a metaphorical and realistic image he calls 'river teeth,' or the knots in a tree that resist breakdown after the tree has fallen into a river and its main mass has disintegrated....Duncan deftly characterizes modern life and American culture our fears, desires, and drives revealing in these exquisite vignettes and tales all that shapes a life." Booklist
"Poignant, funny, and artful, Duncan's 'river teeth' are like elongated American haiku, stretching their grainy syllables from the home plate of nostalgia to the outfield fences of eternity." Tom Robbins
"To read River Teeth is to have a stranger's recollections loom up out of vagary and namelessness, and to grip you as if they were your own." Los Angeles Times
"David James Duncan is in love with water, the rivers and streams that coursed through his life. Believe me, you will be swept up by his rivers, carried downstream, and deposited in a new place. In that new place, Duncan will build a fire and tell you a bunch of stories. What else could you want?" Sherman Alexie
About the Author
David James Duncan is also the author of the novels The River Why
and The Brothers K
, and an essay collection, My Story as Told by Water
. The River Why
ranks thirty-fifth on the San Francisco Chronicle
list of The 20th Century's 100 Best Books of the American West. The Brothers K
is an American Library Association Best Books Award-winner and a New York Times
Notable Book. Both novels won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award.
Duncan has read and lectured all over the United States on wilderness, the writing life, the nonmonastic contemplative life, the fly fishing life, and nonreligious literature of faith. His work has appeared in Harper's, Outside, Orion, The Sun, Sierra, Big Sky Journal, Northern Lights, Gray's Sporting Journal, and many other publications. He lives with his family on a Montana trout stream.