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Richard Brautigan Books
Richard Brautigan Enters My Life
I was only 13 when my sister Kathy gave me a copy of Trout Fishing In America by Richard Brautigan. I had no idea what to say to her. I was an avid reader (and not the coolest kid in school) by that point and was willing to read anything she gave to me. She was 12 years older than me, so, of course, that had to mean it was great.
Still, I had trouble getting by the cover. Who was this tall, gawky looking man with the thick mustache who looked like a rumpled Mark Twain?
"Trust me," Kathy said. I always did.
I sat up most of the night reading it cover to cover. Even at that age, I knew I had found an amazing author. One who would make me pursue him on every bookshelf I could find.
The next day I brought my copy of Trout Fishing In America to school to reread it in study hall. I opened my backpack and took my new prized possession. The teacher, one of my favorites of all time, commented on it. "I love him," she gushed. She reached into her desk drawer and pulled out her copy of Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar.
"Borrow it and let me know what you think." She came over and slid the book to me. I was overjoyed, both because she wanted my opinion on a book and she was the prettiest teacher I had ever had.
Thus, began my affair with Richard Brautigan. The coolest author for the uncoolest kid.
Below is a list of Brautigan's books and poetry collections. Some you can easily find, while others are out of print.
Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America, the Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar
This collection includes the book that started it all for me, as well as a wonderful collection of poetry and a trippy novella where the landscape changes constantly.
'Trout Fishing In America' is Brautigan's first book, although it wasn't the first of his work to be published. It is a collection of abstract anecdotes of Brautigan's life with several characters showing up in different chapters. Not a linear story, but it's one to challenge your ideas.
'The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster' is a collection of nearly 40 poems. They reveal Brautigan's views on life, love, and death especially in the title poem.
'In Watermelon Sugar' he writes of a commune named iDEATH. Here, things are made of watermelon sugar. It is replete with tigers, many colored suns, and looming violence.
Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in...
"He created his own Kool Aid reality and was able to illuminate himself by it."
Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America
Richard Brautigan Reads from 'Trout Fishing In America'
Revenge of the Lawn, The Abortion, So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away
'Revenge of the Lawn' is a collection of Richard Brautigan's short stories from 1962-1970. They are "wonderfully loopy" and surreal. Although several of the short stories are short-short stories, they still convey a depth not expected in such brevity.
'The Abortion' is a novel about a librarian working in a library where none of the books have ever been published. The books are left by anyone who wants to and the librarian places them where he sees fit. Then he falls for a beautiful woman. When she becomes pregnant they must go to Mexico and get...well, the title says it all.
'So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away' concerns a boy who spends his hamburger money to buy bullets. When he accidentally shoots his friend, his family's life is ruined. Based loosely on Brautigan's life experiences as a boy.
Revenge of the Lawn, The Abortion, S...
“My God, ma'am, you're so pretty I'd walk ten miles barefooted on a freezing morning to stand in your s***.”
Richard Brautigan, The Abortion
Revenge of the Lawn - An Outstanding Reading and Short Film
A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, and the Hawkline Monster
'A Confederate General from Big Sur' tells the story of a man named Mellon who is under the impression that he is related to a Confederate General from Big Sur (who may or may not have existed). Mellon meets a drifter named Jesse and the two go off in search of the truth, booze, and drugs. It has a wonderful diatribe on Ecclesiastes. Worth the read just for that.
'Dreaming of Babylon' is Brautigan's pulp noir. C. Card, a private eye, is so poor that he can't even afford bullets. When he's not having daydreams about Babylon, he fumbles through detective work. Kind of.
In 'The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western' two gunmen are hired by a young woman and her sister in 1902. Their task is to find and kill the monster that they believe killed the women's scientist father. They come to the conclusion along the way that the monster is altering their perception. I won't give away any more, but if you like David Lynch, this is a great short novel for you.
“The bees in my stomach are dead and getting used to it.”
Richard Brautigan, A Confederate General From Big Sur
Richard Brautigan on Kindle
Biographies on Richard Brautigan
Not a biography, but it intertwines aspects of Brautigan's life in a very unique way.