In "The Woods, Books and Truant officers" an essay included in the American Authors Series volume entitled Norman Maclean, edited by Ron McFarland and Hugh Nichols, Maclean says of A River Runs Through It and Other Stories:
"I meant these stories to be a record of how certain things were done just before the world of most of history ended---most of history being a world of hand and horse and hand tools and horse tools. I meant to record not only how we did certain things well in that world now almost beyond recall, but how it felt to do those things well that are now slipping from our hands and memory.
Not nearly enough has been written, or perhaps not even thought, about this loss, about the fact that in the past 75 years or so that humankind has lost touch, pun very much intended, with the world, with that wherein our very Being has come about. We are now "once removed" from our world, touching the world "virtually," and touching virtually nothing of the world.
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