Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Trout Fishing In America

Richard Brautigan. Trout Fishing In America. Delta, 1967.

I loved reading this book. A blast from the past to be sure. What was I doing in 1967? Was that the Year of Love? Finished first year university. Went to Expo '67 in Montreal. Canada was 100 years old.

I love the sense of place in these sketches. Each different trout stream or crash pad, sort of linked, a web spun by one spider who returns to its centre, the Ben Franklin statue in Washington Square in San Francisco. I love the idea that it's a code that I haven't quite figured out yet. I love the anonymous notes from other writers, trying to guess the senders just from the style. And I love the surprising insights.

"The Red shadow of the Gandhian nonviolence Trojan horse has fallen across America, and San Francisco is its stable." [p. 99]

And the selling of streams by the linear foot. Waterfalls sold separately. [pp. 102-107]

"You hardly see those cars any more. They are the old cars. They have to get off the highway because they can't keep up." [p. 57]

I love the fact that he, the narrator, was in Ketchum just after Hemingway died, but heard about it later, through Life. [p. 89] Knowing how this writer too ends up.

As if Brautigan went fishing and snagged a hook on his dreams. Or are they nightmares?

Would anyone publish this book today? That's so sad. 

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