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Summary

In its first time in audio and with an introduction written and read by poet Billy Collins, Trout Fishing in America is an indescribable romp, by turns a hilarious, playful, and melancholy novel that wanders from San Francisco through America's culture.

Richard Brautigan's world is one of gentle magic and marvelous laughter, of the incredibly beautiful and the beautifully incredible. Trout Fishing in America is a pseudonym for the miraculous. A journey that begins at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin statue in San Francisco's Washington Square, that wanders through the wonders of America's rural waterways, and that ends, inevitably, with mayonnaise. Funny, wild, and sweet, Trout Fishing in America is an incomparable guidebook to the delights of exploration - both of land and mind.

Richard Brautigan was a literary idol of the 1960s and 1970s whose comic genius and iconoclastic vision of American life caught the imagination of young people everywhere. His early books became required reading for the hip generation, and on its publication Trout Fishing in America, considered by many as his best novel, became an international best seller. With it Brautigan caught the public's attention and became a cult hero. By 1970 Trout Fishing in America had become the namesake of a commune, a free school, an underground newspaper, and more.

©2016 Richard Brautigan (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Trout in the Kool-aid

Read this years ago, loved it and went on to check out other books by Brautigan. Some better than others but never less than engaging and always beautifully written. I'm yet to read a better Brautigan than this one though.

Given the highly poetic quality of his prose, I was curious to hear how it transferred from page to air. I find it loses a little because the mental space between word and image he plays within is so visual that the shape of the language on the page is a significant absence in the audiobook version. That said, the music of the narrative comes across nicely enough to compensate pretty well.

What a remarkably original voice. A new consciousness brought to fiction. No wonder he seemed to be for the 60s what Kerouac had been for the previous decade. Of course it goes upstream and down but forget the idea that this is stream-of-consciousness stuff or a quirky variant of literary surrealism. Neither is it clunky cut-up. Influences yes, but this is a brilliantly composed work of fiction. Free and fresh as sun in a jar.

For me, the novel has all the depth and grace of The great Gatsby and is as perfectly a reflection of the America of its decade as Fitzgerald's masterpiece remains for the Twenties. I think its fluid, facetted perspective is more original though.

An advantage of this audiobook edition is that it contains an excellent forward by Billy Collins in praise of a stone classic. He got to read the manuscript in San Francisco back in '65 two years before publication and puts its counter-cultural impact in context.

If you are new to Brautigan my advice would be to start here. Forget the hype and just relax. Keep an open vista, settle back and enjoy the look and feel of the ride. Pretty soon you may well find yourself admiring the exquisite detailing, plush finish and lighter-than-helium heaviosity of this lovely trout.

Then you may want to experience the hard-copy. Accept no substitute for the feel of the look of the words.

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  • just asking for some common sense
  • 18-05-19

Still strange and wonderful after all these years

Richard Brautigan wrote some strange things and this is wonderfully so. I read this in the late 1970s or early 1980s when I read several of his books. He might not be to everyone's taste, but I do like some quirky literature so he fits right in. Brautigan died by suicide at age 49 - he had a lot of personal problems that he could not work through. I'm glad he left us with some great writing.

This is book 9 of my Spring Back theme where I'm listening to books I read decades ago by favorite authors. All books have held up with at least 4 stars so far. This was a last minute switch and I'm glad I changed my list.

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  • Arthur
  • 30-07-17

Bizarre

Not about Trout Fishing in the classical sense. Absolutely bizarre. Interesting, demented, and bizarre.

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  • Morgan
  • 06-04-21

Brautigan is an enjoyable goof. Very 1960s.

It’s suggested - via introduction - that Brautigan is some sort of modern Lewis Carroll / John Steinbeck experience. Not quite. If you enjoy the humor of Paul F. Tompkins (Paul F. Tompkast), then I expect you’ll enjoy Brautigan as well. Trout Fishing in America is largely a bunch of silly, however, enjoyable rambling (There are random moments of brilliance here). I listened to TFA while sitting on the ground in a Petco parking lot, waiting (2 hours) for an auto glass company to replace the cracked windshield in my van. Brautigan was perfect company for the occasion. This is a mildly funny and memorable little book. C.A. Ciulla does an excellent job of reading it. He sounds like Tompkins too -Ha!

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  • K. C.
  • 20-03-21

this is the worst book!

terrible, just terrible! racist, vulgar and is definitely not about trout fishing in america. the author clearly was on LSD and created literary nonsense!

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  • Karen Marie
  • 18-02-21

"A heading is required"

The reading of this book is terrible. I'd read Trout Fishing back in the 1970s and enjoyed it. Pick up a copy and read it yourself. Don't let this terrible reading put you off Brautigan.

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  • Nancy Griffith
  • 05-01-21

Stupid

This is the worst book I have hootenanny on Audible. Nothing really about TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA but a bunch of bizarre rambling in every area. Would not recommend. The narrator fine voice to read a stupid book.

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  • Jo A Lapointe
  • 02-01-21

TimeLess

His words are even more relevant now than they were then. He was there at the Beginning of the Communist Revolutionary Take Over of America. He was Warning All of us and few had the ears to hear back then. It’s No Wonder He Killed Himself. He was too sensitive to live in this world.

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  • SparkleMouse
  • 01-01-21

The original. Real poetry...

... from Kurt Cobain’s “spiritual uncle”.
(I made that up. Don’t Goolag it.)
The Pacific Northwest makes damp anxious beautiful Nordic men go mad, but before they go they leave us treasure.

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  • Altoswan
  • 18-12-20

One Of A Kind

An enlightened English teacher had us read this book in high school.
Revisiting it now thirty years later was such a delicious treat;
like listening to creme brulee, beautiful. It has to be experienced to be
fully appreciated. Listen and be blessed by the beauty that is Richard Brautigan.

I'm going in for All of Brautigan's
books now and looking forward to listening to other amazing deserts.

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  • Brandy
  • 23-09-20

Don't bother.

I really don't know why anyone gives drug addicts so much praise for writing absurd books that make no sense. This book was written on a weekend by a man in the depths of an LSD binge while on a camping trip in, I believe Idaho, and it shows. Absolute rubbish.