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About the Author
Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) 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. He was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, and moved to San Francisco in the mid-1950s when he became involved in the emerging beat scene. During the 1960s, he became one of the most prominent and prolific writers of the counterculture. Out of this period came some of his most famous works, the best known of which are Trout Fishing in America; his collection of poetry, The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster; and his collection of stories, Revenge of the Lawn. Translated the world over, his works helped establish him as one of the most significant American writers of his generation. As his popularity waned towards the end of the 1970s, he became increasingly disillusioned about his work and his life. He committed suicide in 1984. He was the author of eleven novels, ten volumes of poetry, a collection of short stories, and miscellaneous nonfiction pieces, works that often employed parody, satire, and black comedy.
Jim Meskimen is a stage, film, and television actor who has appeared in many well-known movies and television shows. He acted in Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon for director Ron Howard, both of which were nominated for Best Picture Oscars. His television appearances include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Friends, Lie to Me, Criminal Minds, and Parks and Recreation. He is also a painter, award-winning audiobook narrator, and audiobook director for Galaxy Audio.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I discovered that I could not find a reader review for a single Brautigan book. I fear he's being forgotten. His books are all similar, all good and worth reading. They're quirky and humorous with an undertone of deep and profound sadness. Most exist in an altered reality. Confederate General is probably the most grounded and I believe was meant as a sort of a hippy, latterday, "Cannery Row". Trout Fishing in America was his first big hit and it's psychedelic, fantasmagorical prose seems maybe a little silly and dated now. The Abortion was interesting, as was In Watermelon Sugar. But Confederate General was my personal favorite and the one that I would recommend to others.
I have a soft spot for this book. I think it's the humour that got to me as much as anything else - a few neat turns of phrase and I'm anyone's. I especially like when the narrator runs into an old friend in the street and lies about never seeing him - to his face. I think that's how the joke goes.The story itself is brief and somewhat slight, the link to the civil war and the confederate general more ambiguous and tenuous than one would necessarily like, but I like the ending, which stretches of into infinity, and is happy.
A very different book. Narrator Jesse drops out and leaves San Francisco for a jobless and moneyless existence in the Big Sur of the early sixties with his ne'er-do-well friend Lee Mellon, a man who claims his ancestor was a general in the Confederate army.After making it through some tough times - little or no food, female companionship, or peace and quiet at night due to an evil frog army, their luck starts to change and a certain uneven beauty comes over their simple lives.Although the novel is set in the early sixties and seems to bridge the gap between the beat and hippie generations, there are many callbacks throughout to the civil war - a hundred years before - and the parallels between Lee Mellon and his ancestor are tenuous-to-nonexistant, almost to the point of being non-explicable (maybe they share the theme of being seen as something you are not?).This is the first of Brautigan's books I have read and was happy to find out this was not his best. If you like beat/hippie lit it is probably worth a read, but it just wasn't good enough to recommend to a general audience.
He put the box down and took one of the alligators out. The alligator was stunned to realise that he was not in the pet shop. He looked around for the puppies that had been in a wire cage next to his aquarium. The puppies were gone. The alligator wondered where the puppies were. Lee Mellon was holding the alligator in his hands."Hello, alligator!" Lee Mellon shouted. The alligator was still looking for the puppies. Where had they gone?"You like frogs legs?" Lee Mellon shouted to the alligator and put the alligator carefully down into the pond. The alligator lay there stationary like a toy boat. Lee Mellon gave him a little push and the alligator sailed out into the pond.First published in 1964, Richard Brautigan's first novel is an early example of American counter-culture literature. Lee Mellon (who believes that one of his ancestor's was a Confederate general in the American Civil War), leaves San Francisco for a shack on the cliffs of Big Sur and Jesse (who narrates the story), soon follows him. They live from hand to mouth in a ramshackle hut with a ceiling so low that no-one can avoid banging their head, and persecuted by the noise of the frogs in the pond outside. Their downbeat but extremely funny adventures with girls, gasoline thieves, alligators and crazy businessman, while drinking copious amounts of beer and smoking dope, are punctuated every now and then with flights of fancy like the one quoted above.