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A River Runs Through It is based on a true tale of Norman MacLean’s childhood in a tiny Montana town in the 1920s, when he lived with his father, mother, and extraverted younger brother.

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Norman Maclean (1902–1990) wrote A River Runs Through It and Other Stories in 1976, which is a semi-autobiographical compilation of three stories.

It was the University of Chicago Press’s first fiction publication.

You will find below our curated collection of ‘A River Runs Through It’ and other stories quotes and sayings for you to read and share with others.


Best A River Runs Through it Quotes

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The world is full of bast*rds, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

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I am haunted by waters. ~ Norman Maclean, 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, A River Runs Through It.

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How can a question be answered that asks a lifetime of questions? ~ Norman Maclean, 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, A River Runs Through It.

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

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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, 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, A River Runs Through It.

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In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

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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, A River Runs Through It.

Also read: The Perks of Being a Wallflower Quotes and Death of a Salesman Quotes by Arthur Miller.

Top A River Runs Through it Quotes

She was one of the most beautiful dancers I’ve ever seen. She made her partner feel as if he were about to be left behind, or already had been. It is a strange and wonderful and somewhat embarrassing feeling to hold someone in your arms who is trying to detach you from the earth and you aren’t good enough to follow her. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

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Eventually the watcher joined the river, and there was only one of us. I believe it was the river. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

All there is to thinking, he said, is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren’t noticing which makes you see something that isn’t even visible. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

Paul opened the trunk of our car and counted out eight bottles of beer. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

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Power comes not from power everywhere, but from knowing where to put it on. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

Sunrise is the time to feel that you will be able to find out how to help somebody close to you, who you think needs help even if he doesn’t think so. At sunrise, everything is luminous, but not clear. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

Amazing A River Runs Through it and Other Stories Quotes

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It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

Well, until man is redeemed he will always take a fly rod too far back, just as natural man always overswings with an ax or golf club and loses all his power somewhere in the air; only with a rod it’s worse, because the fly often comes so far back it gets caught behind in a bush or rock. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

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If our father had had his say, nobody who did not know how to fish would be allowed to disgrace a fish by catching him. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

Although I have never pretended to be a great fisherman, it was always important to me that I was a fisherman and looked like one, especially when fishing with my brother. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

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What a beautiful world it was once. At least a river of it was. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

Yet even in the loneliness of the canyon I knew there were others like me who had brothers they did not understand but wanted to help. We are probably those referred to as our brothers’ keepers, possessed of one of the oldest and possibly one of the most futile and certainly one of the most haunting of instincts. It will not let us go. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

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Many of us would probably be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

I tried to find something I already knew about life that might help me reach out and touch my brother and get him to look at me and himself. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

Popular A River Runs Through it and Other Stories Quotes

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We can love completely what we cannot completely understand. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

Help, he said, is giving part of yourself to somebody who comes to accept it willingly and needs it badly. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs through It and Other Stories.

Poets talk about spots of time, but it is really fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

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At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

One of life’s quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself softly becoming the author of something beautiful even if it is only a floating ash. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

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Ahead and to the west was our ranger station – and the mountains of Idaho, poems of geology stretching beyond any boundaries and seemingly even beyond the world. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

If he comes back, she nodded. I thought I saw tears in her eyes but I was mistaken. In all my life, I was never to see her cry. And also he was never to come back. Without interrupting each other, we both said at the same time, Let’s never get out of touch with each other. And we never have, although her death has come between us. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

Famous A River Runs Through it and Other Stories Quotes

My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

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At the time I did not know that stories of life are often more like rivers than books. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

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 the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

Sometimes all you have left to win with is the knowledge of why you’re taking the beating and the realization that nobody else is going to save you from it. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

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It is those that we live with and love and should know who elude us. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. You can love completely without complete understanding. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

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Slowly we became silent, and silence itself if an enemy to friendship. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

It is a strange and wonderful and somewhat embarrassing feeling to hold someone in your arms who is trying to detach you from the earth and you aren’t good enough to follow her. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

When I looked, I knew I might never again see so much of the earth so beautiful, the beautiful being something you know added to something you see, in a whole that is different from the sum of its parts. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

Must-Read A River Runs Through it and Other Stories Quotes

Sunrise is the time to feel that you will be able to find out how to help somebody close to you who you think needs help even if he doesn’t think. At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

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For all of us, though, it is much easier to read the waters of tragedy. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

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 the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

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It would be hard to know what gigantic proportion of human life is spent in this same ratio of years under water on legs to one premature, exhausted moment on wings. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

Perhaps we always wondered which of us was tougher, but, if boyhood questions aren’t answered before a certain point in time, they can’t ever be raised again. So we returned to being gracious to each other, as the wall. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.

When I was young, a teacher had forbidden me to say “more perfect” because she said if a thing is perfect it can’t be more so. But by now I had seen enough of life to have regained my confidence in it. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

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I hope there are others also who don’t mind trees. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren’t noticing which makes you see something that isn’t even visible. ~ Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories).

One of life’s quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself softly becoming the author of something beautiful, even if it is only a floating ash. ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs through It and Other Stories.



So these were the 51 quotes from A River Runs Through It book.

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