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Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America, The Pill Versus the Springhill Min e Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar Paperback – March 1, 1989


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Frequently Bought Together

Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America, The Pill Versus the Springhill Min e Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar + Richard Brautigan: A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, and  the Hawkline Monster + Revenge of the Lawn, The Abortion, So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away
Price for all three: $40.92

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (March 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395500761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395500767
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Brautigan (1935–1984) was a god of the counterculture and the author of ten novels, nine volumes of poetry, and a collection of short stories.

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Customer Reviews

His writing style is very avant-guard.
"jess_e"
As they once did they make me cry, they make me laugh, and in many ways I think they made me a better person.
Kenneth J. Solus
It might be my #1 favorite book (and I read about 70 per year).
A fellow with a keyboard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Eric Petersen on December 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
The late, great Richard Brautigan was one of America's most talented and original writers. An icon of the 1960's counterculture, Brautigan was more than just another hippie writer, he was the Mark Twain of the 60's! A brilliant satirist with the soul of a poet, Brautigan's works were way ahead of their time, and this volume collects three of his best. "Trout Fishing In America", his most celebrated novel, chronicles the life and times of a fellow named, well, Trout Fishing In America, as he wanders across a bizarre landscape in search of enlightenment, a Zen fisherman, so to speak. "The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster" is a collection of poetry that mixes lyricism with smarmy humor. "In Watermelon Sugar" is a beautiful, lyrical novel about a group of people living in a commune, supporting themselves by making things out of watermelon sugar in a factory they call the Watermelon Works. That's just an abstract description of the plot - you have to read the book thoroughly to enjoy the unique structure of the narrative. Brautigan was indeed a writer far ahead of his time, combining brilliant Vonnegutesque satire with the homey charm of Mark Twain. Treat yourself to a great read and buy this book!
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
"In Watermelon Sugar" was the first Brautigan I read, and is still my favorite. In fact, it is my all-time favorite novel in any genre! The language is poetic and lulling, the characters are almost heartwrenchingly real, and the story is subtle and bizarre. I (forcibly) lend this book to everyone I know, and they invariably thank me after having read it.
And that's just one story...
Trout Fishing in America is abstract, disjointed, and witty. Excellent excellent stuff, although in a vastly different form than In Watermelon Sugar. And even if you don't like reading poetry, The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster will make you a fan. It's such simple, elegant, writing and it grabs the reader so effectively that you can't not like it.
Any of these three books are easily worth the price of the collection. All of them together is a treasure.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By P. Schumacher on December 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Of the three books in this volume, two are classics: Trout Fishing and The Pill.

The third, In Watermelon Sugar, is surreal (OK, MORE surreal) and interesting as an experiment, but not as interesting as the first two.

Trout Fishing comes in a straight line from Whitman and Ginsberg, as modified by Hemingway and Hammett: spontaneity and absolute lack of inhibition, tempered by gemlike use of language.

Funny and eye-opening by turns, the two books redefine fiction and make poetry approachable, simple, Zenlike, and humorous.

Both are pies-in-the-face of pretension and academia. One of the best poems in The Pill Versus is the one about being Poet-in-Residence at Cal Tech: I'm bored, and there's nothing to do.

Do not expect character development or linear plots (or any plots).

Instead, expect to see and be new things.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By NomDePlume on August 31, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I was thrilled to see that "American Humorist" Richard Brautigan had gone digital. THE PILL VERSUS... was my first introduction to the author's work. When I read his novels, I already knew of him as a poet. A genius with words. Brautigan creates textures and evokes emotions and he does it as economically as Count Basie played the piano. No wasted notes, no wasted words. I'm happy to have it on my Kindle and will always cherish my old, tattered copy.

I guess I should not have been surprised to see the 1 and 2 star reviews, as I am sure Brautigan is not everyone's cup of tea. It's impossible to respond to the criticism of reviewers like "John" who writes:

Everyone who likes this book praises it with as much ambiguity as the text itself. The reviews all say "Mind blowing," "real," "provocative," "revolutionary," and "Satirical." When asked to elaborate on why the text is all these things, no other relevant aphorisms are given.

No relevant aphorisms? How about this: "An aphorism ought to be entirely isolated from the surrounding world like a little work of art and complete in itself like a hedgehog."
(Friedrich Von Schlegel)

The "problem" is that you either get the poetry in his prose, or you don't. John actually searched these reviews and the internet looking for the answer as to why we appreciate this man's talent...

His advice: If you want to read literature that makes fun of the well known absurdity of the modern (postmodern) world then you will be better off reading Vonnegut.

I love Vonnegut. Brautigan was not Vonnegut. The only thing they had in common was a profound sense of humor that permeated their best work. Whether he was writing TROUT FISHING or SOMBRERO FALLOUT, he approached each word as a poet.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By another one on August 3, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So I finally decided to try out this Kindle thing and this was the first book I purchased because it's an old favorite. The three books are as good as ever, but the Kindle edition has a lot of typos which I suspect are from a lazy OCR transcription.

Hopefully these things get ironed out eventually, otherwise, going from print to Kindle is like transferring all of your good-quality music CDs to poorer-quality digital files (oh, wait I'm doing that too).

My review of the book: five stars

for the Kindle edition: three stars
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