The perfect writer
Chicago Tribune cultural critic Julia Keller reviewed The Norman Maclean Reader last Saturday. Maclean published only one book, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, during his lifetime, but that one book—published when he was 74—assured his place in American literature.
Keller talks about why he didn’t publish more:
Whether living in Illinois or Montana, though, Maclean wrote constantly; it was his perfectionism that kept him from publishing until he was in his seventh decade, his sense that a work could always be made better, the ideas sharper, the images more telling.
Because he cared so much about getting it just right, writing never came easy for him. In a 1986 interview reprinted in The Norman Maclean Reader, he said of literature, “It’s a highly disciplined art. It’s costly. You have to give up a lot of yourself to do it well. It’s like anything you do that’s rather beautiful.”
We have a website for Norman Maclean.