David James Duncan Essayshark

Once in a great while a writer comes along who can truly capture the drama and passion of the life of a family. David James Duncan, author of the novel The River Why and the collection River Teeth, is just such a writer. And in The Brothers K he tells a story both striking and in its originality and poignant in its universality.
This touching, uplifting novel spans decades of loyalty, anger, regret, and love in the lives of the Chance family. A father whose dreams of glory on a baseball field are shattered by a mill accident. A mother who clings obsessively to religion as a ward against the darkest hour of her past. Four brothers who come of age during the seismic upheavals of the sixties and who each choose their own way to deal with what the world has become. By turns uproariously funny and deeply moving, and beautifully written throughout, The Brothers K is one of the finest chronicles of our lives in many years.
Praise for The Brothers K
“The pages of The Brothers K sparkle.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Duncan is a wonderfully engaging writer.”—Los Angeles Times
“This ambitious book succeeds on almost every level and every page.”—USA Today
“Duncan’s prose is a blend of lyrical rhapsody, sassy hyperbole and all-American vernacular.”—San Francisco Chronicle
The Brothers K affords the . . . deep pleasures of novels that exhaustively create, and alter, complex worlds. . . . One always senses an enthusiastic and abundantly talented and versatile writer at work.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Duncan . . . tells the larger story of an entire popular culture struggling to redefine itself—something he does with the comic excitement and depth of feeling one expects from Tom Robbins.”—Chicago Tribune

David James Duncan (born 1952)[1] is an American novelist and essayist, best known for his two bestselling novels, The River Why (1983) and The Brothers K (1992). Both novels received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers award; The Brothers K was a New York Times Notable Book in 1992 and won a Best Books Award from the American Library Association.[1]

Film adaptation[edit]

In 2008, The River Why was adapted into a "low-budget film" of the same name[2] starring William Hurt and Amber Heard.[3] On April 30, 2008, the film rights to The River Why became the subject of a lawsuit by Duncan alleging copyright infringement, among other issues.[4][5] The lawsuit has been settled and Duncan has said, “I engaged in a three-year legal battle against the producers of the film over their handling of my film rights. That battle was settled last fall. My name is off the film, Sierra Club’s name is off the film, and the rights have returned to me. I tried to remove my title from their film, too, but the federal magistrate in San Francisco let them keep it”.[6]

Other works[edit]

Duncan has written a collection of short stories, River Teeth (1996, ISBN 0-553-37827-9), and a memoir of sorts, My Story As Told By Water (2001, ISBN 1-57805-083-9). His latest work is God Laughs and Plays: Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right, published in 2006 (ISBN 0977717003).

An essay, "Bird Watching as a Blood Sport", appeared in Harper's Magazine in 1998; Duncan wrote the foreword to Thoreau on Water: Reflecting Heaven (2001, ISBN 0-395-95386-3).

An essay, "A Mickey Mantle koan: The obstinate grip of an autographed baseball" appeared in Harper's Magazine in 1992.

Personal life[edit]

Duncan was born in Portland, Oregon[1] and lives in Lolo[7] in Missoula County, Montana.[5] He has written op-ed pieces in support of preservation of Montana's Blackfoot River.[7]


External links[edit]

  1. ^ abcDavid James Duncan: An Inventory of His Papers, (1959-2002) at Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University
  2. ^The River Why on IMDb
  3. ^Ambush, Hurt jump into River Why from a July 1, 2008 article from Variety magazine
  4. ^Hollywood Docket: River Why Author Claims Producers Infringed on Film Rights from "The Hollywood Reporter, Esq." blog
  5. ^ abDuncan v. Cohen, Case No. 08-CV-2243 (USDC, N. Calif. filed April 30, 2008) from courthousenews.com
  6. ^Interview: David James Duncan: Author of "The River Why" on water, salmon and the policies that are killing themArchived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine. from 1859 Oregon's Magazine
  7. ^ ab"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 


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