BOOK ☤ Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970 ♊

Without doubt the greatest collection of stories I ve read He was an absolute genius. Angry chickens by the old pondWhen I was a kid growing up in a small town north of Boston, I used to take care of a neighbor s chickens It was only when the family went to the Cape for vacations I had to let the chickens out of their coop in the morning They always seemed glad to see daylight Though they were hungry, they never got used to me They d run around clucking and squawking, wishing I d disappear and leave them to their chicken business When I threw food on the ground, they really got wild They d run around like crazy I had to collect the eggs, take them up onto the neighbors back porch and put them in a basket The chicken coop stood just before a patch of weeds and brush by a old pond where turtles lived and I could catch tadpoles I grew up Then it was the Sixties and I started to read Richard Brautigan I loved that guy s writing And you know I still love it He must be one of America s great twentieth century writers, but forgotten I haven t forgotten him He s all around, just like chicken Maybe writing today is like supermarket frozen chicken, but Brautigan has that feeling of early summer mornings when you hadn t been spoiled by too much living His work is poignant, funny, sad, and beautiful You can fill in your own adjectives if you read books like REVENGE OF THE LAWN I strongly recommend that you do A lot of his stories are pieces of genius Describing them only destroys them You have to read them, each a little haiku of its own A haiku on a hundred bucks a month Having a lot of money isn t everything Just take a good look at life Chickens are as good a place to start as anywhere Brautigan killed himself and that was the world s loss I still miss having Brautigan stories I ve read them all several times. BOOK ☸ Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970 ⚖ A Collection Of Very Short Stories Set In S California, Particularly Around The Author S Home Town Of San Francisco Richard Brautigan Is The Author Of Willard His Bowling Trophies , Trout Fishing In America , In Watermelon Sugar A Confederate General From Big SurRevenge Of The Lawn Cotton Mather Newsreel The Gathering Of A Californian A Short Story About Contemporary Life In California Pacific Radio Fire Elmira Coffee The Lost Chapters Of Trout Fishing In America Rembrandt Creek And Carthage Sink The Weather In San Francisco Complicated Banking Problems A High Building In Singapore An Unlimited Supply Of Millimeter Film The Scarlatti Tilt The Wild Birds Of Heaven Winter Rug Ernest Hemingway S Typist Homage To The San Francisco YMCA The Pretty Office A Need For Gardens The Old Bus The Ghost Children Of Tacoma Talk Show I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone Trick Or Treating Down To The Sea In Ships Blackberry Motorist Thoreau Rubber Band Perfect California Day The Post Offices Of Eastern Oregon Pale Marble Movie Partners Getting To Know Each Other A Short History Of Oregon A Long Time Ago People Decided To Live In America A Short History Of Religion In California April In God Damn One Afternoon In Corporal Lint A Complete History Of Germany And Japan The Auction The Ard Car The Literary Life In California, Banners Of My Own Choosing Fame In California, Memory Of A Girl September California A Study In California Flowers The Betrayed Kingdom Women When They Put Their Clothes On In The Morning Halloween In Denver Atlantisburg The View From The Dog Tower Greyhound Tragedy Crazy Old Women Are Riding The Buses Of America Today The Correct Time Holiday In Germany Sand Castles Forgiven American Flag Decal The World War I Los Angeles Airplane A compilation of works that are flash fiction than short stories, Brautigan s unique voice is displayed in 62 pieces set in San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest Too many of the stories feel like the first brush strokes of a bigger work abandoned and stacked like the detritus of a forgotten childhood an attic to be discovered and published 50 years later Here s what I mean one of the stories, The Gathering of a Californian , is four paragraphs long 1 2 of page and it reads like the opening words of a Great American Novel Here s the first paragraph Like most Californians, I come from sompelace else and was gathered to the purpose of California like a metal eating flower gathers the sunshine, the rain, and then to the freeway beckons its petals and lets the cars drive in, millions of cars into but a single flower, the scent choked with congestion and room for millions.150 words later, it ends It s not by accident that my favorite pieces from the collection are stories that stretch to several pages Were some of these just ideas that Brautigan had for future longer works like Woody Allen s stack of matchbook covers with ideas for movies or were they always intended to exist as they are Fans of Barthelme and Keret will find a lot to love in any Brautigan work, and those longer stories here the title story and The Post Offices of Eastern Oregon are my favorites are brethren to those authors works My three star rating of this collection isn t a reflection on the author s craft as it is my reaction to the jarring nature of too many stories ended before I had the chance to suck the marrow from them. in lieu of any review, let me just present the text of one of my favorite stories from this collection PACIFIC RADIO FIRE The largest ocean in the world starts or ends at Monterey, California It depends on what language you are speaking My friend s wife had just left him She walked right out the door and didn t even say good bye We went and got two fifths of port and headed for the Pacific It s an old song that s been played on all the jukeboxes in America The song has been around so long that it s been recorded on the very dust of America and it has settled on everything and changed chairs and cars and toys and lamps and windows into billions of phonographs to play that song back into the ear of our broken heart We sat down on a small corner like beach surrounded by big granite rocks and the hugeness of the Pacific Ocean with all its vocabularies We were listening to rock and roll on his transistor radio and somberly drinking port We were both in despair I didn t know what he was going to do with the rest of his life either I took another sip of port The Beach Boys were singing a song about California girls on the radio They liked them His eyes were wet wounded rags Like some kind of strange vacuum cleaner I tried to console him I recited the same old litanies that you say to people when you try to help their broken hearts, but words can t help at all It s just the sound of another human voice that makes the only difference There s nothing you re ever going to say that s going to make anybody happy when they re feeling shitty about losing somebody that they love Finally he set fire to the radio He piled some paper around it He struck a match to the paper We sat there watching it I had never seen anybody set fire to a radio before As the radio gently burned away, the flames began to affect the songs that we were listening to A record that was 1 on the Top 40 suddenly dropped to 13 inside of itself A song that was 9 became 27 in the middle of a chorus about loving somebody They tumbled in popularity like broken birds Then it was too late for all of them. Brautigan died of a self inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 49 in 1984 Up until that moment, he was one of my favorite living authors I was distressed He was brought up in poverty and suffered abuse He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and clinical depression in his early 20s and was treated with shock therapy He was an alcoholic Trout Fishing in America was published in 1967 and made him famous He had one daughter, Ianthe Elizabeth Brautigan, born in 1960 Her one book You Can t Catch Death A Daughter s Memoir was published in 2000 People say the usual things about a book that latches onto the fame of a parent She inherited the talent of her father and Too bad she didn t write any books People wanted to know about her father and she had a story to tell.I don t find any deep meaning in a Brautigan short story I think they are just puzzles without solutions and you have to enjoy the process Clearly he had an inventive imagination Of course, there is some autobiographical content in his stories and poetry Brautigan wrote a book that got a lot of attention and that made anything else he wrote before or after shine a bit in the spotlight It would be easy to say that he is not a great writer and that, as is said, he had the good fortune to be the right person at the right time Literary critics labeled him the writer most representative of the emerging countercultural youth movement of the late 1960s By the end of the 1970s his popularity was declining He rode his wave for seventeen years.The last review I wrote about a book of short stories was fun because I picked a sentence out of each story to represent the story It might not have been so interesting to read but I can assure you that it was fun to do Picking a sentence or two out of each Brautigan story will not be hard He writes so many good stand alone sentences But sometimes it is hard to tell what it has to do with the story.In this case, the title of the story might be just as interesting as the sentence from the story But you can decide that for yourself Remember, you don t have to read any of this or you could just read a few The author is dead so will not criticize you at all no matter what you think REVENGE OF THE LAWN There was a pear tree in the front yard which was heavily eroded by the rain from years of not having any lawn 1692 COTTON MATHER NEWSREEL I lifted up the garbage can lid to the next garbage can but there wasn t any witch s garbage in that can either.THE GATHERING OF A CALIFORNIAN Like most Californians, I come from someplace else and was gathered to the purpose of California like a metal eating flower gathers the sunshine, the rain, and then to the freeway beckons its petals, and lets the cars drive in, millions of cars into but a single flower, the scent choked with congestion and room for millions.A SHORT STORY ABOUT CONTEMPORARY LIFE IN CALIFORNIA I think the only way to start a story about contemporary life in California is to do it the way Jack London started The Sea Wolf.PACIFIC RADIO FIRE As the radio gently burned away, the flames began to affect the songs that we were listening to THE LOST CHAPTERS OF TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA REMBRANDT CREEK AND CARTHAGE SINK I ve decided to return to the winter that I was twenty six years old, living on Greenwich Street in San Francisco, married, had an infant daughter and wrote these two chapters toward a vision of America and then lost them.THE WEATHER IN SAN FRANCISCO No, she said I don t want any hamburger, and I don t think it s going to rain COMPLICATED BANKING PROBLEMS Then she reaches into the folds of her coat and removes the shadow of a refrigerator filled with sour mild and year old carrots THE SCARLATTI TILT It s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who s learning to play the violin THE WILD BIRDS OF HEAVEN A clerk came over and sold the set to him by saying, Hi, there ERNEST HEMMINGWAY S TYPIST You just hand her the copy and like a miracle you have attractive, correct spelling and punctuation that is so beautiful that it brings tears to your eyes and paragraphs that look like Greek temples and she even finishes sentences for you.HOMAGE TO THE SAN FRANCISCO YMCA He decided to take the plumbing out of his house and completely replace it with poetry, and so he did.THE PRETTY OFFICE There was not even a trace of them, and in their wake were six very pretty girls blonds and brunettes and on and on and into the various pretty faces and bodies, into the exciting feminine of this and that, into form fitting smart clothes A NEED FOR GARDENS having been buried at least fifty times during the last two years, the lion had gotten used to being buried in the back yard.THE OLD BUS Everyone else on the bus, about nineteen of them, were men and women in their sixties, seventies and eighties, and I only in my twenties.THOREAU RUBBER BAND The coffee needs taking care of right now and that is what she is doing for the benefit of all the generations of coffee drinkers to come.That s probably enough of Revenge of the Lawn to set you to reminiscing about Brautigan or thinking about whether you want to get acquainted If you are going to read one thing by him, Trout Fishing in American is the one That s probably the easiest book to get as well The binding of the book was breaking down as I was reading it I figure I can flip through it one or two times before the pages start to fall out That happens to a lot of the Brautigan books when they get old You should not read this book from cover to cover It is meant to be read a few random stories at a sitting A good bathroom book Sorry, Richard, that s what you have become thirty years after your death If you are too young to have any memory of the Brautigan era and you sit down to read this like a normal book, page by page, you may only give it two stars If you do the random reading in little bits, I think you will give it at least three stars I am giving Revenge of the Lawn four stars in nostalgic memory of what it used to be and what it still brings back In a hundred years Brautigan will be forgotten And that s OK At the end of the book there were a few good stories I m glad I made it to the back before the pages come out.The entry about Brautigan in Wikipedia is worth reading My grandmother, in her own way, shines like a beacon down the stormy American past She was a bootlegger in a little county up in the state of Washington She was also a handsome woman, close to six feet tall who carried 190 pounds in the grand operatic manner of the early 1900s And her specialty was bourbon, a little raw but a welcomed refreshment in those Volstead Act days.She of course was no female Al Capone, but her bootlegging feats were the cornucopia of legend in her neck of the woods, as they say She had the county in her pocket for years The sheriff used to call her up every morning and give her the weather report and tell her how the chickens were laying Simplicity can be specially poetic What is a human life Human life is just a soap bubble we are blown, we are beautifully iridescent, we soar awhile then we burst An on a cosmic scale a human destiny is no important than a destiny of a soap bubble There were children playing a game with bubbles at the place I had chosen to leave the park They had a jar of magic bubble stuff and little rods with metal rings to cast the bubbles away with, to join them with the air.Instead of leaving the park, I stood and watched the bubbles leave the park They had a very high mortality pulse I saw them again and again suddenly die above the sidewalk and the street their rainbow profiles ceasing to exist.I wondered what was happening and then looked closer to see that they were colliding with insects in the air What a lovely idea and then one of the bubbles was hit by the Number 30 Stockton bus.Wham like the collision between an inspired trumpet and a great concerto, and showed all those other bubbles how to go out in the grand style Even soap bubbles may have their star moments Brautigan is one of my favorite writers The way he describes the world is so odd at times that I find it a joy to read He began his career as a poet, and in a way his stories have in common with poetry than the usual narrative fiction This collection contains flash fiction, and short stories that very often feel like prose poems It s not my favorite Brautigan book, but it is still a very good collection One of my favorite story in this book is called Complicated Banking Problem and is quite typical of the kind of stories in it There is a good reading of it on YouTube, you can listen to it here m going to have to read this book again some day. Revenge of the Lawn Stories 1962 1970, Richard BrautiganRevenge of the Lawn Stories 1962 1970 is a collection of 62 short stories written by the American author Richard Brautigan from 1962 to 1970 Like most of Brautigan s works, the stories are whimsical, simply themed, and often surreal Many of the stories were originally published elsewhere The book also contains two missing chapters from his work Trout Fishing in America, Rembrandt Creek and Carthage Sink 2006 1384 193 9789643058067 20 1382 85 9649429670 62 101 31. I m late to Brautigan, but I plan to stay at his party for a very long time now that I m here Aside from the longer title story and a few others, the 62 pieces here are like poems or quick charcoal sketches than stories No, charcoal isn t right You can t capture so much mood and mist with charcoal More like watercolor or pastel sketches then Some are sad, some are witty, some are nostalgic, some are as beautiful as haikus Most are all of these things at the same time My favorites were some of the shortest ones that read like wisps of smoke or sips of beer If you re an artist or a poet or even just a sensitive art or poetry lover , you ll probably love Richard Brautigan I d also recommend him to fans of Haruki Murakami and or Donald Barthelme.Five stars and on my Favorites List.