Sunday, August 19, 2007

Discovering a Remarkable Writer

While browsing for something to read on my flight home from Oregon 10 days ago, I discovered a remarkable writer I'd not heard of before: David James Duncan. He's a Portland native who now lives in Montana, and is the author of The River Why, described as the second-best-selling novel ever about fly-fishing, after A River Runs Through It (seemingly a distant second, Duncan remarks, based on the status of his bank account).

I haven't yet read The River Why, or his other fiction. The nonfiction book I picked up at the Portland airport Powells' bookstore, which held me spellbound for several hours of Portland-to-Las Vegas, Las Vegas-to-Minneapolis plane time, has the following title: My Story As Told By Water: Confessions, Druidic Rants, Reflections, Bird-Watchings, Fish-Stalkings, Visions, Songs and Prayers Refracting Light, From Living Rivers, In the Age of the Industrial Dark.

A 2001 National Book Award finalist, it's fierce, astoundingly beautiful, moving writing, described by Publishers Weekly as "angry, heartbroken, yet hopeful and often quite comic nature essays... his unabashed polemic is nicely cushioned by rhapsody; he's the ranter as poet." Read more here.

Highly, highly recommended.


Ed Kohler said...

The River Why is a GREAT read. I highly recommend it.

Penny said...

It's definitely on my to-read list. Thanks.