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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.

What listeners say about Trout Fishing in America

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    5 out of 5 stars

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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  • LC
  • 22-04-22

Something different

I enjoyed this one and found it entertaining and also an interesting experience.
There is something about it that makes me want to carry on listening that is hard to describe. However, the length of the book is short, which works well as it may become boring if longer. It is more like an experience than a story, and the experience goes on long enough.

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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.

7 people found this helpful

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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!

1 person found this helpful

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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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  • Ed
  • 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.

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  • Kaiyaque
  • 27-02-22

Too silly

I am not certain why this book made such a big splash. It is repetitive and inane to my faded 21st century ears. Fairly dull and boring. I might have have found it daring and edgy if I had read it back in the 1960s. Now, not at all.

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  • George Campbell
  • 26-02-22

mayonnaise

This book truly has no meaning besides what the reader deems that meaning to be. It is thoughtful and full of insight, while also being total nonsense and has no idea of what it wants to be. A phenomenal experience.

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  • Zeno
  • 22-02-22

Not a novel, not even a novella - still humorous

This doesn't even qualify for a novella - it's very brief, it's a jumble, there's no story - it's an amusingly meandering jumble of words - a comical - occasionally poetical - word salad. And yeah, its dressing is mayonnaise. In our time, the only reason for reading this is to get a sense of beatnik culture. It's creative in places, almost desperately tries to be cool and so in and above all things in others. Yeah, amusingly meandering ... that's about it.

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  • Jeff Waytashek
  • 04-02-22

Mental Wanderer

Mostly the book is the random thoughts of a drug addled, 60's hippie. Years ago, I was told to read a fortune cookie and add "in bed" to the end. This book is a large scale version of the same concept. Every random thought has "trout fishing in America" added. While I could only recommend this to an old hippie, I didn't hate it either.

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  • Clyde
  • 05-01-22

Terrible

I don’t care if it is or isn’t about trout fishing, it’s terrible. The book is all over the place with random, meaningless stories. In the forward the guy said he was on drugs when he read it, and you’d have to be to get through it. The only highlight was the narrator was decent,