Monday, January 30, 2006

Richard Brautigan

Today would have been Richard Brautigan's 70th birthday. I've never known exactly what to make of Brautigan. I read his short stories and novels back in the late 1960s and early '70s like a lot of other people, and I enjoyed them quite a bit. Fanciful, funny, poetic stuff, it seemed to me then. Literary critics didn't feel the same way, as I recall, and I suspect Brautigan's in no danger of becoming part of the canon. Still, there was something about those books, and I feel the need to read one of them again, maybe to see if I can recapture something of the way it felt to be young and to discover a writer whose work touched me in ways I didn't quite understand.


mtmorgan said...

My sentiments exactly. Although I didn't read him until the late 80's. At the time I was also digging Harlan Ellison, J. G. Ballard, Chas. Bukowski, Edward Abbey, Kerouac and Burroughs. Thinking deep thoughts then, I guess. His stuff is sensitive, odd, thoughtful and I believe ultimately profound. Profoundly profound perhaps. I've since moved on to pulpier stuff. Much lighter load that.

Anonymous said...

I read all his books in the seventies, too. I probably didn't understand everything, but I found him to be very original and offbeat as well as poetic.

Remember in watermelon sugar. What a weird idea.

There's at least one Brautigan library that people bring their books to (See


Anonymous said...

According to a 2005 news bulletin from the Fletcher Free Library in Vermont, The Brautigan Library was going to be moved to the Presidio Branch of the San Francisco Public Library, which is where Brautigan placed his fictional library in "The Abortion: An Historical Romance, 1966".

The photo on the cover of "The Abortion" was taken on the steps of the Presidio Branch and Brautigan's description of "high arched windows ... above the bookshelves" is a description of the interior of the library.

The article Karin mentions in her comment (as well as the rest of the Brautigan Archives) has moved to a new location as well. Articles concerning the Brautigan Library can now be found at