Quotes from A River Runs Through It

Norman Maclean ·  168 pages

Rating: (5.5K votes)


“The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It


“Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.
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 those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It


“So it is that we can seldom help anybody. Either we don't know what part to give or maybe we don't like to give any part of ourselves. Then, more often than not, the part that is needed is not wanted. And even more often, we do not have the part that is needed.”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It


“As for my father, I never knew whether he believed God was a mathematician but he certainly believed God could count and that only by picking up God's rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty. Unlike many Presbyterians, he often used the word "beautiful.”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It


“The hardest thing usually to leave behind, as was the case now, can loosely be called the conscience.”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It



“On the Big Blackfoot River above the mouth of Belmont Creek the banks are fringed by large Ponderosa pines. In the slanting sun of late afternoon the shadows of great branches reached from across the river, and the trees took the river in their arms. The shadows continued up the bank, until they included us”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It


“At sunrise, everything is luminous but not clear”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It


“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 those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It


“That's how you know when you have thought too much-- when you become a dialogue between You'll probably lose and You're sure to lose.”
― Norman Maclean, quote from A River Runs Through It


About the author

Norman Maclean
Born place: in Clarinda, Iowa, The United States
Born date January 23, 1902
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