Brautigan - again.

“If you get hung up on everybody else’s hang-ups, 
then the whole world’s going to be nothing more than one huge gallows.”
– Richard Brautigan

I’ve just wrapped up The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 by Richard Brautigan. Really folks, this man is wonderful. This wasn’t my favorite of all that I’ve read by him, but it was definitely worth reading. I originally wanted it simply because of the title.
Abortion and Romance don’t necessarily seem to go hand in hand.
I figured it would be funny and satirical, or have some outrageous story line, but it was really just a nice story about two love birds who decide to have an abortion… with a few wacky ideas thrown in.

The book is about a man in his thirties, who has taken over the job of running a library in San Francisco. Now, this is no ordinary library. No one comes to check books out, or peruse the shelves – instead it is a library for people to come and drop off books that they have written. Some of the books that were dropped off in the beginning of the book were titled as follows: “Pankcake Pretty”, It’s the Queen of Darkness, Pal”, “Jack, the story of a cat”, etc.
All the author must do is give the Librarian their name and a brief synopsis of what the book is about – then they are able to put the books on whatever shelf they want. When the shelves get too full the Librarian calls upon his friend Foster to come down and pick them up and drive them to the caves where the surplus of books are kept.
Anyway, kind of wacky right? Well, then a young girl comes in to drop off her book about hating her body (she is like outrageously beautiful, which makes people do crazy things), and then they just sort of fall in love. And – as love birds sometimes do – they find themselves in a bit of a predicament. A bun in the oven. Thus, they travel to Tijuana, Mexico.

The rest is in the title.

I’m not sure what it is about Richard Brautigan that I love so much. The wild ideas he writes about? The simplicity of his language? The heart and soul you can feel in his words? All of the above?
Yes, that’s it. All of the above.

Sometimes he just says things that make me go “YES! I get that.” And then I usually tend to hug my book [which may or may not be weird]. Anyway, this was one of those moments:

            In describing the Library: “There are some old cement stairs that pour through green and busy establishments down from the Clay Street side and there are ancient electric lamps, friends of Thomas Edison, mounted on tall metal asparagus stalks. They are on what was once the second landing of the stairs. The lights don’t work anymore and everything is so overgrown that it’s hard to tell why anything ever existed in the first place.”

Like I said though, this is not my favorite book. I think once I have successfully finished every one of his novels (I only have a few more to go), then I will compile a list in order of favor.

Finishing up The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood very soon for @1book140. I’m pretty excited about that one too.

On to reading!


  1. How weird -- I just discovered Brautigan last week. Not sure how it happened, I guess I read something about him online and got intrigued. I've been perusing snippets of his work here and there and decided this is definitely, definitely the next author I need to read (as soon as I get done with the novel I'm currently on). Question is, where to start? Which of his books would you recommend as an introduction to his work?

  2. Well - it depends. Do you like stories that are kind of sci-fi/have really strange story lines? Then you need to read In Watermelon Sugar. It's fantastic. So far - it is my favorite.
    Hawkline Monster was also a great read - just very wacky. (I did a review on the blog called Ghostbusters meets Tombstone, so if you check that out then you might want to read the book.)
    If you want something that is kind of like a little collection of essays about Oregon/Idaho then you should read Trout Fishing in America.
    I've heard really great things about A Confederate General from Big Sur, but I have yet to read it.
    Perhaps the best thing to do would be to read some of his short stories first - then you can get a feel for him and see if you want to continue. His books are really very short though, and take all of a day to read.
    Whatever you choose, let me know how you liked it!

  3. I will! Thanks.