Rebecca McCarthy
2024 |
Biography & Autobiography

The first biography of one of Montana’s most celebrated writers A River Runs Through It and Other Stories turned Norman Maclean into a late-in-life literary phenomenon and then a household name after the success of the Hollywood film based on the title story. Yet fewer know of Maclean’s lifelong struggles to reconcile very different parts of himself: the revered teacher and writer in the intellectual hub of Chicago and the Montana man compelled by the wildness and traumas of his home state and family, including the tragic Mann Gulch fire and the murder of his brother. Rebecca McCarthy’s intimate portrait of Maclean draws on her long friendship with the author from the time she became a student at the University of Chicago through the rest of his life. Irrepressible as a teacher, Maclean shared guidance, advice, campus and city rambles, and loyal friendship with generations of students. Behind the scenes, he honed an art as meditative and patient as his approach to fly fishing. McCarthy’s experiences intertwine with stories from friends, family, colleagues, and others to detail an incredibly rich life that seemed destined to remain divided—until the creation of his classic American story. A vivid evocation of an iconic figure, Norman Maclean reveals the forces and events that shaped the author-educator and formed the bedrock of his beloved stories.

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Norman Maclean

A Life of Letters and Rivers