... poetic ... captures the natural beauty and drama of Montana ... In slow, eddying prose, the memoir mines an ordinary life for evocative reflections on family, friendship, and the meaning found in a rugged landscape. It includes lengthy discourses on fly fishing, hunting for deer and pheasants, exquisite meals of game and foraged food, and the wisdom attained in 'resonant quietude.' It also features graceful passages about Dombrowski’s float trips and lavish feasts with poet Jim Harrison. The writing is at its most compelling, though, when its lines are taut, as with Dombrowski’s wistful reflections on his visits with two close friends before they died, on the anxiety of almost losing his second child, and on his conflicted feelings upon returning to northern Michigan for a year-long teaching job ... a profound, moving memoir that contemplates the earth, family, and community in its tributes to the intimate beauty of western Montana.
Dombrowski does a nice job of capturing the doubts he confronts, from concerns about whether he would be a good parent — the couple have three children, whom he writes about with endearing affection — to whether he should take a more stable job at a life insurance company, where his father-in-law arranged an interview. And his passion for the land, evident on every page, is particularly beautiful when he writes about the rivers ... Occasionally, he tries too hard to sound poetic ... Some details might put off more sensitive readers, such as a particularly graphic description of the way in which grouse is prepared. But even readers who aren't hunter-gatherers like Dombrowski will find themes they can relate to ... And the book contains fascinating scientific information ... There's enjoying nature, and then there's ability to write well about it. The River You Touch is a love song that readers with the same musical taste are sure to admire.
... both [Dombrowski's] passionate ode to the beauty of the western land that for him 'became my True North,' and an intimate memoir of the joys and challenges of pursuing his artistic vocation amid the demands of a growing family ... But for all his admirable candor about his family's persistent economic insecurity, Dombrowski doesn't drown in self-pity. Frequently, and gratefully, he raises his eyes to his breathtaking surroundings ... lush and keenly observant descriptions ... Dombrowski is a natural storyteller and he also shares some entertaining tales of his encounters with his friend, the late novelist, poet and outdoorsman, Jim Harrison. Harrison's writing and his robust embrace of a life in nature serve as both a touchstone for Dombrowski's pursuits and a cautionary tale for the young father when it comes to striking the proper balance between career and family. These are just some of the doors Dombrowski opens into his life and work. Pass through any of them and it's not likely you'll emerge unchanged.