Mike Ashley

A River Runs Through It

This is Norman Maclean’s classic novella that was made into a movie by the same name. It’s a semi-autobiographical story about him and his brother in Montana in the early 1900s.

I like stories about family relationships. In the story Norman cares deeply for his younger brother Paul but also knows he cannot change who Paul is. I struggle with this as a parent and a sibling: you want the best for the people you care most about, but sometimes all you can do is love them. I never balance it right, and Maclean shows I’m not alone.

I also like stories about the simple beauty of work done well. The passages describing Paul’s fly fishing are very nearly poetic in rhythm and imagery. They remind me of the joy in being lost in one’s work and letting go of the rest of the world for a few hours. I don’t need a vacation to try something new and break the monotony of work. I need a vacation to practice deeply a craft mastered.

Back to my reading list.