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Summary

iDEATH is a place where the sun shines a different color every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of the counterculture generation.

©1968 Richard Brautigan (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about In Watermelon Sugar

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Strange and touching

I've read this book about 20years ago and was taken by it, so I immediately listened to it when I saw it on Audible (just a night after I listened to Kafka's Metamorphosis which is also available "for free"). I am truly confused by some of the negative reviews and think that people these days are used to everything being dynamic and full of action, heading to some clear result (I myself am guilty of it sometimes). If you expect that then you won't like this wee book. It's like a strange dream in a constant flux with a nightmarish dystopian pang to it. You can't rely on time, space ,or even the sun, to have its traditional properties. For me it's somehow almost like a 2D world, including the narrative. Like with the Metamorphosis, I carry it around with me for days, even weeks or months. It somehow invades your mind, which for me is a sign of a great literature. This doesn't often happen with dynamic stuff bringing clear results, as there's just no time for such nonsense.

1 person found this helpful

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what a trip

while the book may be discribed as dystopian, don't go into the book expecting any world-building and sci fi grandiose extravagance. the first person pov and minimalist style makes it hard to understand what's going on alot of the time. the fun comes from trying to peace together what's going on from the little amount of context clues you get and from when you eventually feel attached to these characters you don't really know much about

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Profile Image for ALYX
  • ALYX
  • 25-05-21

Shout Out To My English Professor

A great recommendation from my English Professor and glad to say I was not disappointed. I appreciate the narrator role playing his voice for each character. It did take a couple times to get into because there is a lot that goes on. My best advice is give it a try! It did open my imagination box. I definitely will listen over and over. I look forward to reading more of his work. 😊

6 people found this helpful

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  • Danny Friesen
  • 29-06-21

If you're a sane person, this isn't for you

Found this book in a list of classics under 200 pages, and when I saw it was free on audible, I decided to give it a try. I was excited to start it since I've been trying to see how many books I can read this year, and as most of them have been monstrosities almost too thick to open like "Brothers K" and "It," I thought it would be good to pad my numbers a bit.
I was extremely disappointed and only made it through the first 40 minutes. There's basically no plot, nor much in the realm of character. Also the writing style was simplistic yet grating. Overall, I found nothing of substance in it, but don't worry because it's "literary."
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of literature and find it a pleasure to work through a fat Dostoevsky novel. But I do hate a lot of modern literature where the only goal is to be different. This book is different. It's so different that it's unreadable. True, I didn't make it even halfway through but I've got "the Hero of Ages" by Sanderson and about a million other books on my reading list and this book is firmly at the bottom. Am I curious what the Tigers and iDEATH are? Sure. But not enough to waste an hour and half finding out.
If you're a sane person looking for a sane book meant for sane readers written by a sane author, I'd definitely recommend for you to pass on this one.

3 people found this helpful

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  • PradaPrincess
  • 27-08-21

Are you up for a little mind trip?

This book is bizarre — I’m not going to lie. I recommend giving the whole book a try if you’re up to have a little mind trip, because reading this, you have to forget your assumptions about how the world and society works. It’s post-apocalyptic and the timeline can be a little difficult to follow. There are a few flashbacks, and one of them is an extended flashback. You have to suspend your disbelief for this one, and I had to read it twice to understand things I missed the first time. The climax and resolution of the book were unexpected. In Watermelon Sugar made me contemplate society and our perception of good and bad. The end of the book had me dazed and thinking a lot. It was a strangely euphoric feeling, as another reviewer stated.

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  • Shaun O'leary
  • 21-07-21

What the watermelon did I just sugar???

This story is a collection of nonsensical ramblings from a sixth grader. It makes me wonder if the book actually came with a cipher to decode some things to make it a coherent story. If this entire book ended with the phrase "...and then he woke up", it would have made the two-hour listen tolerable; or possibly at least understandable.

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  • Christina
  • 09-07-21

Bizarre

Utterly bizarre. Two hours of “wtf is this” that I won’t be getting back. Thank goodness it was free.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy Mumford
  • 15-02-22

A period piece

I loved this book when I found it on my parents bookshelf as a kid, partly for the sex, partly for the fantasy setting: a rural commune where the sun shines different colors on the different days of the week, people are buried in glass coffins at the bottom of rivers, and things are built from planks made out of watermelon sugar. I did find it odd that the name of the place was iDEATH.

Listening to it now, it seems to be about the dark side of close knit groups: how they single out individuals who threaten their harmony and destroy them; how factional disputes end in violence which is perceived and remembered in distorted, mythological ways.

The other thing that jumps out to a modern reader is the sexist, patriarchal ethos of the back to the land movement.

20 years later, Brautigan was living again in Bolinas California where the novel was written and maybe inspired by, when he killed himself.

In spite of all that, it’s a beautiful book, streamlined, fantastical, never boring. The reader’s style is just right for the material. I wish he raised the pitch of his voice a little less for women’s voices.

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  • Secondadonna
  • 08-02-22

Nothing’s clear, but an enjoyable listen

One man providing a little glimpse of life in his friendly, post-apocalyptic neighborhood. Bronson Pinchot is great as usual, and has the perfect voice for this narrator. I found it interesting and have listened to it numerous times, though I’m not sure what it all means. Maybe iDeath will be the final Apple product?

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  • Michael J Gore
  • 20-06-21

Magically disturbing

As wonderful and wonderfully mysterious as it was when I first read it in high school ln the late 60’s.

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  • Sharon
  • 16-02-22

This one needs to be read

The narrator doesn't do this justice. Having said that I don't think this is Richard Brautigan's best book. It is quirky, but only just. There is not the runaway prose that marks some of his other work. I wish the others were out on audio, especially "An abortion: a Historical Romance" and "Sombrero Fallout". Those two are great.

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  • Ben F.
  • 11-01-22

A forgotten favorite

The inventiveness and curious beauty of Richard Brautigan is a national treasure. I almost forgot how much I love this man’s writing. I was also pleasantly surprised to find Bronson Pinchot, a perennial favorite to this 80s child, to be such a captivating narrator. This book and Trout Fishing in America (of course) are a good place to start if you’re unfamiliar with Brautigan.