Norman MacLean's "Spots of Time"

March 13, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

In the March 30 issue of The Nation, Philip Connors writes a terrific profile of and tribute to author Norman MacLean, who didn’t pick up his writer’s pen until turning 70, and only then on the request of his children. In the three-page article, which is one of the deepest discussions of MacLean’s writing you’ll find, Connors happens to pick out of my favorite passages: “Below him was the multitudinous river, and, where the rock had parted it around him, big-grained vapor rose. The mini-molecules of water left in the wake of his line made momentary loops of gossamer, disappearing so rapidly in the rising big-grained vapor that they had to be retained in memory to be visualized as loops. The spray emanating from him was finer-grained still and enclosed him in a halo of himself. “