“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.”
In his eighty-eight years, Norman Maclean (1902–90) played many parts: fisherman, logger, firefighter, scholar, teacher. But it was a role he took up late in life, that of writer, that won him enduring fame and critical acclaim—as well as the devotion of readers worldwide. Though the 1976 collection A River Runs Through It and Other Stories was the only book Maclean published in his lifetime, it was an unexpected success, and the moving family tragedy of the title novella—based largely on Maclean’s memories of early twentieth-century Montana—has proved to be one of the most enduring American stories ever written. The posthumous publication in 1992 of Young Men and Fire, Maclean’s deeply personal investigative account of a deadly forest fire, only added to his reputation, reacquainting readers with the power of his sparse, evocative prose.
With The Norman Maclean Reader, the University of Chicago Press is proud to add a fitting final volume to Maclean’s celebrated oeuvre. Bringing together previously unpublished materials with incidental writings and selections from his two masterpieces, the Reader will serve as the perfect introduction for readers new to Maclean, while offering longtime fans new insight into his life and career.