12. Trout fishing in America

A colleague loaned this to me. It’s of a piece with writing of the time — squarely avant-garde, almost poetry, Sixties San Francisco. The phrase “Trout fishing in America” becomes a synecdoche, both for a number of representative people, places, thoughts, actions relating to America and for America itself. There’s something elegiac about it: Brautigan may feel that Trout fishing represents something both fundamental about and increasingly missing in his America, as especially represented by a late chapter in which he visits a scrapyard where they’re selling lengths of Trout fishing creeks and various waterfalls. His voice is relentlessly fun, and he’s willing to follow his pen to almost any absurdity it intends. A unique, quirky little book — one that’ll probably get stuck in my synapses long after it should reasonably have faded.

2 thoughts on “12. Trout fishing in America”

  1. I totally have this book! I think i first read it when I was like 14 after finding it in the garage. is that weird?

    also found in the garage around the same time: Vonnegut’s _Breakfast of Champions_ which = favorite book ever.

  2. Shane’s mom: “Now, that we have kids, maybe we should hide all the hippie books.”

    Shane’s dad: “Yes, I’d hate to see Shane unduly influenced by the stuff we read in college. But where?”

    Shane’s mom: “The garage?”

    Shane’s dad: “Perfect.”

    [12 years later…]

    Shane (to himself): “Hmm, what’s in this box out here behind my old Green Machine?”

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