Some New Trend

The Waterfalls Were Selling for $19.00 a Foot :: Trout Fishing In America by Kevin Wilder

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TroutFishinginAmericaBrautiganBOOK REVIEW :: BY KEVIN WILDER

The next time I saw a first-grader, I borrowed my friend’s piece of chalk and said, “First-grader, you’re wanted over here.”

Bottom line: Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America is one of the strangest novels you’ll ever read. The story begins with some commentary regarding the photograph featured on the cover, and as the narrator promises early on, ends with the word “mayonnaise.”

You have to admire Brautigan for writing the eccentric book he wanted to, and then actually getting famous from it. Poetic language plays a major role in Trout Fishing, as this would be the author’s first foray into fiction. The story is certainly driven more by wordplay than plot or characters, like reading a counterculture-era James Joyce. At times the nonsensical humor reminded me of later-era stuff I’ve enjoyed from guys like Woody Allen and John Swartzwelder

One reviewer said

“The book isn’t really about anything, in the conventional sense.  It’s chapters are loosely unified by a repeated reference to fishing for trout in America (mostly Brautigan’s native Pacific Northwest) and to a character named Trout Fishing in America, and a hotel named Trout Fishing in America, and a book titled Trout Fishing in America, and so on…”

Apparently it was written while camping with his wife and daughter beside various creatively-named creeks and streams in Idaho. Trout Fishing made Brautigan one of the rising voices of the sixties. His popularity would be short-lived, as several contemporaries would later denounce him for never “growing up.” The man suffered through alcoholism, paranoid schizophrenia and clinical depression, and most unfortunately, would would die in 1984, joining the list of authors whose lives have been cut short by suicide.

There’s not much else to say about this enjoyable book, so if you’re curious, just dive into it. I’d recommend it for anyone in the mood for an incomparably weird and fun read.

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[…] Trout Fishing in America June 4, 2009 This was book #21, cross-posted in a slightly different form at Some New Trend: […]

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