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Texas Reader: Bridge to The River Why

Turn back time with David James Duncan’s The River Why.

Susan L. Ebert

In the innocence that was pre-Vietnam America, angler Gus Orviston strikes out from his eccentric family to search for solitude along his most beloved Oregon river. Escaping an upbringing he defines as “The Great Izaak Walton Controversy” — where his fly fishing father and bait-soaking mother can each drum out of The Compleat Angler whatever support for whatever argument they are ensconced in at the time — Gus unexpectedly collides with man’s wanton abuse of nature and discovers, within himself, a passion to dedicate himself to its preservation.

The River Why (Sierra Club, softcover, $14.95) has been compared not only to A River Runs Through It, but also Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Catch-22. lf you missed it the first time around, pick up a copy of the 20th Anniversary Edition. If you bought it 20 years ago, now’s the time to replace that tattered, dogeared, broken-spined and beloved copy with a fresh one.

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