Brautigan > Novels

This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's novels. Brautigan published ten novels during his lifetime. One was published after his death. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.

Background

In each of his eleven published novels, Richard Brautigan is noted for his
Detached, anonymous first person point of view
Idiosyncratic, autobiographical, quirky, yet easy-to-read prose style
Episodic narrative structure full of unconventional but vivid images powered by imagination, strange and detailed observational metaphors, humor, and satire
All presented in a seemingly simplistic, childlike manner.

By his own account, this unique style evolved from his efforts to write poetry.

"One day when I was twenty-five years old, I looked down and realized that I could write a sentence. Let's try one of those classic good-bye lines, "I don't think we should see so much of each other any more because I think we're getting a little too serious," which really meant that I wrote my first novel Trout Fishing in America and followed it with three other novels."
— Richard Brautigan. "Old Lady." The San Francisco Poets. Edited by David Meltzer. Ballantine Books, 1971, pp. 293-294.

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Published Novels

Richard Brautigan's published eleven novels. They are listed here, in order, first to last. First publication dates and publisher information are provided. Follow the links for more information about each.

1964

A Confederate General from Big Sur
Grove Press, 1964

1967

Trout Fishing in America
Four Seasons Foundation, 1967

1968

In Watermelon Sugar
Four Seasons Foundation, 1968

1971

The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966
Simon and Schuster, 1971

1974

The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western
Simon and Schuster, 1974

1976

Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel
Simon and Schuster, 1976

1977

Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942
Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1977

1980

The Tokyo-Montana Express
Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1980
(The Targ special edition, featuring twenty selections from this work was published in 1979)

1982

So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away
Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1982

1994

An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey
St. Martins Press, 2000
(The true first edition was Cahier d'un Retour de Troie [Return of the Woman of Troy]. Trans. Marc Chénetier. Paris: Bourgois, 1994)

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Unpublished Novel

There is one known unpublished novel by Richard Brautigan. Sometime between December 1955 and February 1956, Brautigan sent D. Vincent Smith, editor of the literary magazine Olivant, a manuscript for a novel titled The God of the Martians. The manuscript, written apparently May-June 1956, was very similar to other juvenilia novels written by Brautigan: very short chapters often containing only a few words. Here is a sample.

Chapter 1
My name is Edward Lincoln.
My father chose my name. My mother wanted to name me Jesse, but my father thought Jesse was a name for a homosexual.

Chapter 2
My mother was white.
My father was a negro.
The day they were married my father's mother blew her head off with a shotgun.
My mother's mother only had a nervous breakdown.

Smith never published the manuscript. On the recommendation of Smith, Brautigan, on 27 August 1956, sent the 600-word, twenty chapter manuscript to Harry Hooton (1908-1961), a Sydney, Australia poet, for possible publication in Hooton's magazine 21st Century: The Magazine of a Creative Civilization, which began publication in September 1955. The second issue was published in 1957. The accompanying letter from Brautigan noted his return address as "General Delivery," San Francisco, California.

Hooton never published the manuscript. Following Hooten's death the manscript remained with Hooten's papers which were eventually purchased by another Australian publisher, ETT Imprints.

Ianthe Brautigan, Brautigan's daughter, referred to the manuscript in interviews regarding her own book, You Can't Catch Death.

In November 2009, ETT Imprint revealed plans to publish a limited edition of The God of the Martians with drawings by Reg Mombassa. To book is not known to have been published.

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