The River Why

The River Why

by David James Duncan

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Overview

The River Why by David James Duncan

The classic novel of fly fishing and spirituality republished with a new Afterword by the author.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316261227
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 03/29/2016
Edition description: New
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 71,362
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

David James Duncan is the author of the novels The River Why and The Brothers K, the story collection River Teeth, and two nonfiction collections. His work has appeared in numerous national anthologies, including Best American Essays (twice), Best American Sportswriting, and Best American Spiritual Writing (five times). Duncan is widely renowned as an activist and expert fly fisher. He lives with his family in western Montana.

Table of Contents

Book 1The Compleat Angler
1"Gus the Fish"3
2The Rogue River Fishing War10
3aConcerning Statistics14
3bSome Biographical Statistics17
4Statistical Improbabilities20
5aThe Great Izaak Walton Controversy: the Parental Version29
5bThe Great Izaak Walton Controversy: My Own Rendition36
6Excerpts from the God-notebook40
7Being "Educated" and "Gittin' Brung Up"45
8The "Ideal Schedule"56
9Voiding My Rheum59
Book 2The Undoing of a Scientific Angler
1Where I Lived and What I Lived For70
2Water on the Brain83
3Anvil Abe and the Phantom Fisherman90
4Fainting Before the Duel98
5I Reckon106
6Anamnesis113
Book 3Characters in Nature
1The River Writes130
2Neighbors143
3The Warble of the Water Owl149
4Eddy157
5Jesus Keeps Fishing163
6Descartes170
7Philosophizing176
8Little, But Strong184
9Closing the Door191
Book 4The Line of Light
1Hemingway200
2Dutch208
3Nick the Convert220
4The Trek233
5The Raven and the [characters not reproducible]244
6Googler and Mangler252
7Trick or Treat260
8The Line of Light268
Book 5At the End of the Line
Last Chapter280
Acknowledgments and Dedications292
Heart Work: An afterword, twenty years later294

Customer Reviews

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The River Why 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
rmay525 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Definitely on my list of top ten books I have ever read. Despite the fact that I don't fish, and I'm not nor ever have been a teenage boy (the protagonist), this book spoke to me. Plus, it is laugh out loud funny.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book and 'The Brothers K' in such a rush, and loved both. Read these books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Possibly the best book I've ever read. David Duncan has mastered the English language and he creates a story that takes you through your emotions and leaves the Soul begging to truly live. Remember your dreefrees!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got the suggestion to read this book from my junior english teacher. When i read it it was a great book but 2 months later i read the book again and totally got emersed. i want to read it a third time but have other books to read. But definetely one of the elite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a required read in freshman lit class many years ago. I have read it several times over the years, and always discover something new every time I read it. This book touched me in many ways. The River Why isn't really about fly fishing, but is about finding out who you are and how you're going to live. This is, without a doubt, my favorite book ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book about 15 years ago and still think about it and rate it as one of my all time favorites. I'm not a fly fisherman, but obviously you don't have to be to enjoy this book. It grabs you right away and you can't put it down. It's funny, sad, thought provoking, GREAT!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book twice, and loved it each time. Duncan has spun a tale that spans generations and eras; a story of love, life, finding oneself, coping with adolescence and adulthood, trying to fit into society, and more importantly, trying to fit into one's family... this is a novel that anyone can read and enjoy. Passion for fishing is what drives the family of the story; however, Duncan also uses fishing as an analogy for life, love, and relationships. He captures the essence of the sport as easily captures the essence of life. Duncan's 'The River Why' is sure to become a classic in the years to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Duncan blends visul images of fishing that prove an irrisistable lure to even the least fisherman savvy of us. He tells a tale of growing up in a way that makes me want to run out and buy both a casting reel and a fishing pole. His parents are both two dimensional characters and down to earth people that I wish I had known in my youth. The analogies are so funny that when I was reading the book for the first time, I laughed in the bus seat I occupied out loud and without care. What a gift he offers by way of his stories. Not to miss, not to let go by you, this book is a must read for everyone.