Synopses & Reviews
Since its publication by Sierra Club Books more than two decades ago, The River Why
has become a classic, standing with Norman Macleans A River Runs Through It
as our eras 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.
Since its publication by Sierra Club Books nearly two decades ago, The River Why
has become a classic, standing with Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It
as the most-read fiction about fly-fishing of our era. Duncan's protagonist, Gus Orviston, is an irreverent young flyfisherman--a vibrant character who makes us laugh easily and feel deeply, and who speaks with startling truth about the way we live.
Leaving behind a madcap, fishing-obsessed family, Gus embarks on an extraordinary voyage of self-discovery along his beloved Oregon rivers. What he unexpectedly finds is man's wanton destruction of nature and a burning desire to commit himself to its preservation.
The River Why is a tale that gives a contemporary voice to the concerns and hopes of all living things on this beautiful, watery planet. It is the story of one man's search for meaning, for love, and for a sane way to live.
Duncan's classic fly-fishing novel tells the story of young Gus Orviston, his quest for the elusive Pacific steelhead salmon, and for the even more elusive quality of self knowledge.