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Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar Kindle Edition
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Sometimes I laughed out loud. Sometimes I was genuinely repulsed. And sometimes I nearly cried. That's exactly what poetry and short fiction should deliver!
Trout Fishing in America (1967), The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster (1968), and In Watermelon Sugar (1968) by Richard Brautigan (Mariner Books, 1989).
It was on my Kindle a couple minutes thereafter. Brilliant marketing: one of the best covers of all time, that I had still remembered from those counterculture days. Brautigan and friend, posed in front of the statue of Ben Franklin, in Washington Square, San Francisco (where else, for a counterculture book?). He with his jeans, vest, overcoat, and distinctive chapeau; she with her long skirt, boots, prominent brass buttons on her coat, high collar, wide headband. Both with wireless rim glasses. Three separate stories included, and isn’t “The Pill verse the Spring Hill Mine Disaster” a “must read” title? A cover that I judged a book by: herein lies wisdom, of the “different drummer” variety. Others must have felt the same way; over two million copies were sold. Alas, what I found was the literary equivalent of a “Pet Rock,” without the “how to care for” instructions.
The middle title, on “The Pill…” is actually a collection of short poems. Take the title one. It is four lines:
When you take your pill
It’s like a mine disaster
I think of all the people
Lost inside you.
Most of the rest are even more vapid. The last story, on the Watermelon, was primarily a bland catalog of meals eaten, coupled with greetings of the: “Hello, how are you variety?” The climactic moment did anticipate Brautigan’s own. Only the first story, on Trout fishing, had even a glimmer of redemption. There were real trout fishing stories included, perhaps with Chatham in tow, though he is not mentioned. As well as many other random associations, with a sprinkling of literary names, such as Baudelaire. Brautigan writes: “Longfellow was the Henry Miller of my childhood.”
I still recall a quip from the ‘70’s, about a comedy team, that will go only by its initials in this review: “If dope smoking doesn’t damage your brain, then how come so many people think C&C are funny?” Alas, the same might be said for the enthusiasts for this vacuity, many of whom apparently wised-up the following decade. 2-stars
Most recent customer reviews
“In Watermelon Sugar” is a book that is written very simply. It is not a trivial book. It is quite a profound book.Read more