Author Details The Stories Behind a “River Runs Through It”
If you're like me, you remember where you were and who you were with when the movie "A River Runs Through It" came out. Or, you've probably run into more than a few fishermen who visit Montana, and the reason they fly fish- the reason they come to Montana- is because of the book and the movie.
There's a new book out by the son of "A River Runs Through It" author Norman MacLean that tells the stories behind the story. John MacLean has been a longtime reporter for The Chicago Tribune, but he also makes it back to Montana every year to visit the family cabin and spend time on the storied Blackfoot River. He recently wrote a new book, "Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and a River" that gives us the stories behind "A River Runs Through It."
You can listen to the full interview by clicking on our podcast below:
Here's a partial transcript
How does he describe the book?
I describe it as a chronicle because it goes very far back to 1806. It starts with the Lewis exploration on the Blackfoot Valley, and it moves up to the present day and even beyond that. It's dedicated to the next generation of my family. So it's not really a personal memoir. It's called a memoir, and people can call what they want. But I call it a chronicle and it's about family and A river. Family in general. A river specifically, of course, the Blackfoot River.
How did the story of his Uncle Paul, the role played by Brad Pitt, help people who have lost loved ones?
It turns out that there are a lot of people like my father, who had a wayward sibling. And they tried to help her or him and the help was refused, and they felt very alone, and they felt hurt and lost. But after reading A River Runs Through It, they realized that there was a large community of people just like them, that their suffering had been taken to a high eloquent level, and they felt comfort about that and they wrote my dad about that. And now they write me.
He describes "A River Runs Through It" and how it made fly fishing popular
The dark side of that is that people have poured into Montana and are overcrowding the rivers all over the state, as they are across all of trout land today. It's not having a good effect. I was talking to a friend of mine who said he counted vehicles at one put-in on the Blackfoot and there were over 100 vehicles. Well, no big river, not even twice or three times the size of the Blackfoot like from Missouri or the Clark Fork can handle that kind of pressure and just gotten over done. But that said the river is a lot better today than it was before the book in the movie. (Referring to the health of the river)
He will be in Montana for a book signing in September in Seeley Lake
On September 5 at the Double Arrow Ranch at Seeley Lake. I'm going to do a presentation, and it's free. All are welcome, and we will pass a boot for the Seeley Lake Volunteer Fire Department. And the last time we did that when I was doing a fire book, we passed the boot and took in over $700 from a small community in cash that went to the VFD. So that's a generous community. It's a great place, and Double Arrow has been there forever.
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