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Novels > In Watermelon Sugar

Front cover San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1968
5.5" x 8.25"; 138 pages; ISBN: 1-131-52372-5
Released simultaneously in a limited edition hardcover and a trade paperback edition with printed wrappers

Limited Edition: 50 numbered copies signed by Brautigan
Hard Cover, issued without dust jacket
Blue-gray paper-covered boards; Black cloth spine; Title gilt stamped on spine

Paperback: Facsimile reproduction of the limited edition hardcover

Front cover photograph by Edmund Shea of Brautigan and Hilda Hoffman

Novel's opening sentence used in lieu of title and author's name

The phrase "Writing 21" on the opening page indicates placement in publisher's writing series edited by Donald Merriam Allen (1912-2004).
First published in 1968, In Watermelon Sugar was Richard Brautigan's third published novel and, according to Newton Smith, "a parable for survival in the 20th c[entury]."
[It] is the story of a successful commune called iDEATH whose inhabitants survive in passive unity while a group of rebels live violently and end up dying in a mass suicide. (Smith 123)
A familiar unnamed first person narrator speaks in a colloquial voice not always conscious of being heard. Another common theme was the sense of solitude and incapacity. Stephen Gaskin speaks of the "strange mythology" of this novel and says, "I knew Brautigan slightly and felt the acid weird in his book" (Gaskin 54).

Writing History
According to Brautigan's dedication (see below), the novel was written four years prior to its first publication in 1968, between 13 May and 19 July 1964.

An unpublished notebook of Brautigan's suggests, however, that he began making notes about a fantasy/future world where the sun shone a different color every day and everyone worshiped at a temple called "Ideath" as early as August 1960. In this notebook, Brautigan wrote a possible title: "In Watermelon Sugar," as well as ideas for chapter titles, and a rough sketch for a chapter entitled "A Brief History of the Trout Fly Named the Beautiful Lady of Death."

Early in May 1964, Brautigan wrote ideas for the new novel in a pocket-sized memo notebook. on Wednesday, 13 May, he switched to notebook paper, writing in his earnest longhand the opening paragraph of the novel. From there he incorporated the magical elements of the novel: the tigers, the nameless narrator, the trout, iDEATH, and inBOIL, all originally noted in his memo book.

By the end of June, Brautigan had completed seventeen short chapters for the novel, several a page or less in length. The last chapter he wrote in Bolinas was "Arithmetic," the tale of the talking tigers who ate the narrator's parents.

In July, Brautigan returned to San Francisco, taking up residence at 123 Beaver Street, where he shared a house with poets Philip Whalen and Lew Welch. Brautigan had the front room of the house and enjoyed its marble fireplace and large, Victorian windows. Here he finished the first draft of the novel on Sunday, 19 July, typing the dedication page (see below).

Brautigan took the manuscript to Jack Spicer, hoping he would provide the same guidance and editorial insight he had provided from Brautigan's earlier manuscript, Trout Fishing in America, but Spicer turned him away with explanation. Stung, Brautgan turned to Robin Blaser, a Boston poet who migrated to San Francisco. Brautigan read Blaser his manuscript aloud, and they talked about its imagery, but Blaser did not supply any editorial input.

In September, Brautigan began submitting In Watermelon Sugar to magazines and publishers, hoping for some interest and publication opportunities. Although this new novel was under contractual obligation to Grove Press, Brautigan did not submit a copy there because they had not accepted Trout Fishing in America and he wanted to keep his options open.

Inspiration for the Novel
Several possible inspirations for the novel are noted. Michael McClure said IDEATH may have been a utopian parable for the artistic/literary community of Bolinas, California where Brautigan wrote this novel. McClure also notes a possible inspiration for the "Forgotten Works" may have been a Sears Department store across from Brautigan's apartment at 2546 Geary Street (Michael McClure 41). Brautigan moved to this typical turn-of-the-century San Francisco apartment in 1965, where he lived until 1975. Moving to this apartment after he had finished writing the novel makes this explanation less than plausible. The view of San Francisco from across the bay in Marin County is suggested as another possible inspiration for the Forgotten Works, as is Brautigan's separation from his first wife, Virginia Alder, on 24 December 1962.

However, by Brautigan's own account in an unpublished notebook, the inspiration came from a visit to Merrill's Drugstore on Saturday, 16 April 1960, where a brandy bottle label reading "IDeath supreamd [sic] California Brandy" caught his attention. ("Supreamd" may be a misspelling of "supreme.") Brautigan noted this found art and used it, later, when he began writing notes for a fantasy/future story that eventually became the novel.

The Front Cover
The young woman on the front cover is Hilda Hoffman, who had recently moved to San Francisco from New York. Brautigan wrote the poem "The Virgo Grace of Your Ways Versus This Poem" for Hoffman. The poem was collected in Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt. The photograph was taken on the stairs leading down from the kitchen of Brautigan's Geary Street apartment by Edmund Shea (William Hjortsberg 378).

Dedication reads:
This novel was started May 13, 1964 in a house in Bolinas, California, and was finished July 19, 1964 in the front room at 123 Beaver Street, San Francisco, California. This novel is for Don Allen, Joanne Kyger and Michael McClure.
Donald Merriam Allen (1912-2004) was an editor whose work with Grove Press and Four Seasons Foundation made the most important contribution to enlarging the contemporary American poetry canon. He was the driving force behind the publication of Brautigan's first novels.

Joanne Kyger was a leading figure in the San Francisco poetry circles during the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, especially those formed around senior poet Robert Duncan. She recalled that in 1964, while working on the manuscript for this novel, Brautigan called her daily. A Confederate General from Big Sur "is being nominated for a prize," she said.
The phenomena of the Beat Generation writers springing into instant fame after publication is on his mind, and we are sure the same thing will happen to him once he wins the prize. And that life will never be the same for him and we will never have these ordinary conversations again. But he doesn't win the prize and with some embarassment life goes on as usual. He goes on to write In Watermelon Sugar, which he dedicates to me and his other daily phone touchdowns, Don Allen and Michael McClure. His "fame" comes a few years later with the rise of the hippy reader. (Kyger 196-197)
Michael McClure was a poet and playwright who achieved fame in the 1960s when productions of his play "The Beard" were routinely raided by the police on obscenity charges. Of Brautigan, he said:
. . . his dedication to me and Don Allen and Jo Anne [sic] Kyger in In Watermelon Sugar is lovely. Especially so since it is his most perfect book. (McClure 38)
Inscribed Copies
A copy inscribed to Donald Allen
This copy is for Don Allen
Richard Brautigan
April 17, 1969
Brautigan drew a small fish next to the inscription
Edition inscribed is first limited edition, Four Seasons, 1968 (see below)
No specific dedication
Richard Brautigan
February 4, 1971

Signed and dated by Brautigan
Edition inscribed is the Delta fourth edition paperback
From the collection of Gregory Miller. Used by permission.
A copy inscribed to Robert Creeley
This copy is for Robert Creeley
Richard Brautigan
October 28, 1968
Brautigan drew a small fish next to the inscription
Edition inscribed is first edition, Four Seasons Foundation, 1968

Brautigan inscribed copies of In Watermelon Sugar (1968), The Abortion (1971), The Hawkline Monster (1974), Dreaming of Babylon (1977), and June 30th, June 30th (1978) for Creeley.

New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1974
ISBN 0-385-28451-9: First printing 1 September 1974
Printed wrappers
London: Jonathan Cape, 1970
5.5" x 8.75"; 138 pages; ISBN 0-224-61850-4; First printing 23 July 1970
Hard Cover, with dust jacket
Cover and dust jacket printed same
Blue background of front cover extends to spine. Titling printed in black ink.
Back cover (white) features a brief overview:
. . .a story of love and betrayal that takes place in an extraordinary environment where the sun shines a different color every day. It is Richard Brautigan's third published novel. . . .
quotes from reviews of Trout Fishing in America by Herbert Gold, and Stephen Schneck, and a quote from a review of A Confederate General from Big Sur by poet John Ciardi, and a brief biographical statement about Brautigan.
Front dust jacket is a facsimile reprint of the Four Seasons first American edition.
Back dust jacket extends blue background from front dust jacket. No illustration, photograph, or text.
Front cover New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1969
5.75" x 8.5"; 112/108/138 pages; ISBN 1-1997-8543-1; First printing September 1969
Hard Cover, with dust jacket. Collects, as facsimile reprints, Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar in the manner of their original editions, including front cover photographs and title pages. This is one of several collections of Brautigan's works.
Front cover New York: Dell Publishing, 1969
138 pages; First printing November 1969
Printed wrappers
Front cover facsimile reproduction of first American edition
Front cover New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1989
5.5" x 8.25"; 112/108/138 pages; ISBN 0-395-50076-1; First printing 1 March 1989
Reprint of 1969 DelacortePress/Seymour Lawrence edition. Collects, as facsimile reprints, Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar in the manner of their original editions, including front cover photographs and title pages. This is one of several collections of Brautigan's works.
Front cover New York: Dell Publishing, 1973
167 pages; ISBN 0-440-34026-8; First printing August 1973
Printed wrappers
Front cover London: Picador-Pan Books, 1973
144 pages; ISBN 0-330-23443-9; First printing 5 January 1973
Printed wrappers
Also included in slipcase with A Confederate General from Big Sur and Trout Fishing in America, 1973.
Front cover London: Vintage/Random House UK Limited, 2002
142 pages; ISBN 0-099-43759-7; First printing 4 July 2002

Front Cover V Melounovém Cukru. Trans. Olga Spilarová. Praha (Prague): Odeon, 1986.
196 pages; ISBN 80-7203-551-7
The first book by Brautigan published in the former Czechslovakia
Second printing 1996; Third printing 2004; both by Argo (Praha).
Front cover Spejienes Statue. Trans. Jens Juhl Jensen. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde og Bagger, 1978.
143 pages
First Danish edition
Printed wrappers
Cover art work by Anette Rasmussen
Front cover In Watermeloensuiker. Trans. Helen Knopper. Bussum: Uitgeverij Agathon, 1973.
102 pages; ISBN 9-026-95926-5
First Dutch edition
Printed wrappers
Front cover, multi-color illustration by Micha Joseph
Front cover Arbuusisuhkrus. Trans. Enn Soosar. Tallin: Hotger (20/21), 2002.
106 pages, including 8 with black and white photographs
Printed wrappers
Front cover Arbuusisuhkrus. Trans. Enn Soosar. Tallin: Kirjastus "Perioodika," 1977.
94 pages
First Estonian edition
Printed wrappers
Melonin Mehu. Trans. Jarkko Laine. Helsingissä: Otava, 1975.
128 pages; ISBN 9-511-02081-1
Bourgois editions
Front Cover Romans 1. Trans. Marc Chénetier. Paris: Bourgois, 1994.
471 pages; ISBN: 2-267-01253-7
Printed wrappers
Collects three novels: A Confederate General from Big Sur, Trout Fishing in America, and In Watermelon Sugar. Introduction(s) by Marc Chénetier.

Front Cover Sucre de Pastèque; La Pêche à la Truite en Amérique. Trans. Michael Doury. Paris: Bourgois, 1974.
First French edition
282 pages
Printed wrappers
Collects two novels: In Watermelon Sugar and Trout Fishing in America

Additional Resources
Lottman, Herbert R. "France: A Growing Taste for Anglo-American Authors." Publishers Weekly 4 Sept. 2000: 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62-63.
An overview of the publishing industry in France and its interest in American writers. Notes that publisher Christian Bourgois says
"there's a new generation of French critics&mdasah;and book buyers—curious about what comes out of America and prepared to embrace it." Bourgois . . . is one of the rare publishers in France (or anywhere for that matter) publishing under his own name—and independent. Not being able to afford the greats, Bourgois began with writers of his own generation, such as Richard Brautigan. (62)
Bourgois published several French translations of Brautigan's works including Trout Fishing in America, In Watermelon Sugar, The Hawkline Monster, Willard and His Bowling Trophies, Sombrero Fallout, Dreaming of Babylon, The Tokyo-Montana Express, So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away, and Revenge of the Lawn.
10-18 editions
Sucre de Pastèque; La Pêche à la Truite en Amérique. Trans. Michael Doury. Paris: 10-18, 1984, 1990, 2004.
Collects two novels: In Watermelon Sugar and Trout Fishing in America.

2004 printing
French translation front cover ISBN: 2-264-03901-9
Printed wrappers

1990 printing
French translation front cover Printed wrappers
Front cover illustration is a detail from Edward Hopper's painting "White River at Sharon"

1984 printing
Printed wrappers
Front Cover In Wassermelonen Zucker. Regensburg: Kartaus Verlag, 2003.
160 pages: ISBN 3-936-05403-7
Printed wrappers

Online Resource
Der Kartaus Verlag website
Front cover In Wassermelonen Zucker: Roman. Reinbek by Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag (rororo 13110), 1993.
124 pages; ISBN 3-499-13110-2
Printed wrappers
In Wassermelonen Zucker. Trans. Günter Ohnemus. Frankfort am Main: Eichborn Verlag, 1988.
171 pages; ISBN 3-821-80157-3
Printed wrappers
In Wassermelonen Zucker & Forellenfischen in Amerika. Trans. Céline and Heiner Bastian. Frankfurt am Main: Ullstein Taschenbuch Verlag (Ullstein Buch Nr. 3080), 1974.
176 pages; ISBN 3-548-03080-7
Printed wrappers
Collects two novels: In Watermelon Sugar and Trout Fishing in America.
In Wassermelonen Zucker. Trans. Céline and Heiner Bastian. München: Carl Hanser Verlag (Reihe Hanser 46), 1970.
142 pages
Printed wrappers
Front cover In Wassermelonen Zucker. Trans. Céline and Heiner Bastian. München: Carl Hanser, 1970.
142 pages
Printed wrappers
Front Cover Görögdinnye édes Levében. Trans. Gspann Veronika. Budapest: Magveto Konyvkiado, 1981.
First Hungarian edition
170 pages
Printed wrappers
Front Cover Vatnsmelónusykur. Trans. Gyrðir Elíasson. Akranesi: Hörpuútgáfan, 1991.
164 pages; ISBN 9979-50-216-9
Printed wrappers
Feedback from Gyrðir Elíasson
Gyrðir Elíasson. Email to John F. Barber, 22 December 2010.
Zucchero di Cocomero. Milano: Serra e Riva Editori, 1990.
First Italian edition
Printed wrappers
Front Cover Suikatô no hibi. Trans. Kazuko Fujimoto. Tokyo: Kawade shobo shinsha, 1975 and 2003.
209 pages
Front Cover
Front cover Dar Ghand Hendevaneh [In Watermelon Sugar]. Trans. Mehdi Navid. Tehran, Iran: Cheshmeh, 2004.
184 pages; ISBN: 964-362-218-5
Printed wrappers
Front cover illustration by Farhad Fozouni
No translator's preface or other front matter
Feedback from Mehdi Navid
Mehdi Navid. Email to John F. Barber, 26 August 2006.
Front cover In zahar de pepene. Trans. Liviu Bleoca. Iasi: Polirom, 2004.
First Romanian edition
264 pages; ISBN 973-681-690-7
Printed wrappers
Feedback from Liviu Bleoca
Liviu Bleoca. Email to John F. Barber, 22 Oct. 2004.
Front cover V Arboosnom Sacharye. St. Petersburg: Azbuka, 2002.
320 pages
Hard Cover, with dust jacket
Collects In Watermelon Sugar, The Abortion, and Please Plant This Book.
I Sockret Av Meloner. Trans. Caj Lundgren. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1971.
108 pages
First Swedish edition
Printed wrappers
Karpuz Sekerinde. Trans. Ayse Nihal Akbulut. Istanbul: YKY, 1994.
First published April 1994
ISBN: 975-363-263-0

Title Page Seven Watermelon Suns: Selected Poems of Richard Brautigan. The Cowell Press: University of California at Santa Cruz, 1974.
A speciality press collection of seven works by Brautigan, each printed as a separate 6" x 8.5" broadside with embossed color etchings by Ellen Meske. Includes a passage from In Watermelon Sugar (pages 38-39), and six poems.

Album cover In 1970, Brautigan released a record album titled "Listening to Richard Brautigan" that featured him reading poetry, short stories, and selections from some of his novels. One reading was "The Watermelon Sun," from In Watermelon Sugar.

LISTEN to Brautigan read "The Watermelon Sun."
In addition to the specific reviews detailed below, commentary about this book may also be included in General Reviews of Brautigan's work and his place in American literature, or reviews of his Collections.

Allen, Trevor. "Richard Brautigan." Books & Bookmen April 1973: 141.
Revies the Picdor edition. The full text of this review reads
Still more fantasy about people who've rejected hate, violence of old gang, lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. An allegory not to everyone's taste but individual; a cult among US young.
Anonymous. "Polluted Eden." The Times Literary Supplement [London Times] 14 August 1970: 893.
Reviews and compares Trout Fishing in America and In Watermelon Sugar. Concludes In Watermelon Sugar has the charm of the fairy story it almost is. But it has neither the emotional complexity, nor the imaginative ingenuity, nor the implicit historical and cultural awareness, nor the acute and tough critical-mindedness of Trout Fishing in America.

READ the full text of this review.
Belinski, P. X. "Belinski on Brautigan." Georgia Straight [Vancouver, BC, Canada] 5(211) 19-22 October 1971: 19.

READ the full text of this review.
Blakely, Carolyn. "Narrative Technique in Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar." CLA Journal 35 (2) December 1991:150-158.

READ the full text of this review.
Britt, Ryan. "Genre in the Mainstream: Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar. Tor.Com 14 June 2011.
This column in the blog maintained by science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor Books examines "books and authors from mainstream literary fiction that contain aspects of science fiction, fantasy, horror and other genre elements" with "hopes to be part of the ongoing discussion about serious literature and how it interacts with artistically sound genre fiction." Says, "Brautigan is an author who likes playing word games by demonstrating to us that language itself can be fictionalized." While In Watermelon Sugar contains "language appropriation and an exploration to discover the meanings of words and our desires behind them, there is a quite literal, even if ethereal, fantasy world depicted here."
Like many of Brautigan's works, he asserts his absurd premises with almost aggressive casualness. Sounds like a paradox, but it’s completely true. If one were to flip through the pages of In Watermelon Sugar each "chapter" appears to be one page, and you might think you'd picked up a collection of poetry, rather than a short novel. But Brautigan has a singular ability to tell a complete and compelling story through a series of small passages, which all on their own are extremely beautiful. If Bradbury had the surrealistic sensibilities of a poet, the towns in Dandelion Wine and In Watermelon Sugar could very well be neighbors. The casual part is that the individual passages of the book look simple and almost child-like. The aggressive part is that these passages contain a weighty story about death, betrayal and love. . . . [While] there may not seem to be anything fantastical about In Watermelon Sugar . . . the simple truth is the act of reading the book does transport the sensibilities of the reader elsewhere. Brautigan doesn't spend a whole lot of time trying to convince you the world of In Watermelon Sugar is real. But the characters and emotions certainly are. Whenever I read this book, I always imagine I've been given an account of a specific incident from an alternate universe. If one could send messages in bottles from alternate universe, I imagine we would often stumble upon ones like this. Where watermelons might not mean watermelon, and tigers might be a different creature all together. All fiction should give us a glimpse into the way an author views his or her own version of the world. It's a special treat when the world being described is so perfectly odd as this one.
READ the full text of this review.

Online Resources
Britt's review at the website
Coleman, John. "Finny Peculiar." The Observer [London] 26 July 1970: 25.
Reviews the Jonathan Cape edidtions of both Trout Fishing in America and In Watermelon Sugar. Says, concerning In Watermelon Sugar,
There may be an idea lurking and Mr. Brautigan has a genuine gift for imposing the unexpected, a loner's vision. But this myth, slackly sustained, dismisseth me."
READ the full text of this review.
Farrell, J. G. "Hair Brained." Spectator [London] 225(7415) 8 August 1970: 133.
Reviews The Book of Giuliano Sansevero by Andrea Giovene, The Age of Death by William Leonard Marshall, An Estate of Memory by Ilona Karmel, and Trout Fishing in America and In Watermelon Sugar by Brautigan.

READ the full text of the reference to Brautigan.
Foster, Jeffrey M. "Richard Brautigan's Utopia of Detachment." Connecticut Review 14(1) Spring 1992: 85-91

READ the full text of this review.
Furbank, P. N. "Pacific Nursery." The Listener [London] 84(2158) 6 August 1970: 186-187.
Reviews the Jonathan Cape editions of Trout Fishing in America and In Watermelon Sugar. Says of the books, "it is best to think of them as children's books" and of Brautigan, "His is a most entrancing kind of pop writing, the prettiest of wallpapers for that great nursery by the Pacific."

READ the full text of this review.
Gillespie, Bruce R. "Rats Reviews." SF Commentary: The Independent Magazine about Science Fiction 40 May 1974: 52-54.
Reviews the Picador editions of Trout Fishing in America and In Watermelon Sugar.

Published in Melbourne, Australia. Bruce Gillespie, publisher. SF Commentary began publishing in 1969 and continued on an irregular basis. Publication suspended 1981-1989 and 1993-1997. Focuses on science fiction commentary, criticism, history, and book reviews.

READ the full text of this review.
Hernlund, Patricia. "Author's Intent: In Watermelon Sugar." Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction 16(1) 1974: 5-17.
Presents a sequential "time scheme" to help readers understand the novel's fragmentary structure. Discusses the novel's theme and the evolution of Brautigan's style. Of the emotional repression and the deprivation that is necessary for "the gentle life" portrayed in the novel to succeed, Hernlund says,

READ the full text of this review.

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1976. 67-72.
Hollinger, Veronica. "Cybernetic Deconstructions: Cyberpunk and Postmodernism." Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Fiction. Ed. Larry McCaffery. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991. 202-218.
The full text of the reference to Brautigan reads
A random survey of postmodernist writing that has been influenced by SF [Science Fiction]—works for which Bruce Sterling ([Crystal Express] 1989) suggests the term "slipstream"—might include, for example, Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar (1968), Monique Wittig's Les Guérillères (1969), Angela Carter's Heroes and Villains (1969), J. G. Ballard's Crash (1973), Russel Hoban's Riddley Walker (1980), Ted Mooney's Easy Travel to Other Planets (1981), Anthony Burgess's The End of the World News (1982), and Kathy Acker's Empire of the Senseless (1988).
Kušnír, Jaroslav. "Diversity of Postmodern Fantasy: Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar and Donald Barthelme's The Dead Father." Paper submitted for PostModerne Produktionen conference, University of Erlangen, Germany, November 23–25 2001.

Kušnír is a faculty member at the University of Prešov, Slovakia..

READ the full text of this paper.

Online Resource
Kušnír's paper at the PostModern Productions conference archive website

Feedback from Jaroslav Kušnír
Jaroslav Kušnír. Email to John F. Barber, 14 May 2008.
Leavitt, Harvey. "The Regained Paradise of Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar." Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction 16(1) 1974: 18-24.
Says Brautigan is recreating Eden with the novel's narrator as "Adam II." Notes that both the Old Testament and this novel are divided into three sections.

READ the full text of this review.

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1976. 67-72.
Front cover
Malley, Terence. Richard Brautigan. New York: Warner, 1972.
First printing October 1972.
The first critical survey of Brautigan's work through 1971. Chapter 5, "A Delicate Balance," deals with In Watermelon Sugar. Says,
In In Watermelon Sugar, Brautigan shows us that coping with one's life requires strength and a complex act of will. The triumph of the novel, it seems to me, is the way Brautigan diagrams what the narrator calls (in reference to Pauline [a character in the novel]), "strength gained through the process of gentleness (21)." (142)
One of several reference books focusing on Brautigan.
Martin III, Edward. "In Watermelon Sugar." Edward Martin III: Book Reviews
Part of a website titled "Welcome to the Petting Zoo!" which represents the interests and activities of a group of people living communally in the Pacific Northwest. Martin lists himself as a "freelance writer/creator."
In this place where the sun shines a different color every day, and everything is made from watermelons, the only thing we know for sure is that each person is alive and has a soul and for some, this soul is restless and roaming. It could be about the death of innocence, but in this case, the innocence is so strong that it prevails over death in the end. Now that ought to scare your parents.
Online Resource
Martin's essay at the Petting Zoo website
Nilsen, Don L. F. and Allen Pace Nilsen. "An Exploration and Defense of the Humor in Young Adult Literature." Journal of Reading 26 October 1982: 64.
Says humor draws teenage readers to writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, John Irving, Joseph Heller, and Richard Brautigan. Argues that despite the importance of humor, little attention has been paid to what teenagers think is humorous. Reports on a study undertaken by the authors which finds choices by teenage readers "not quite as appalling as we had first thought."

Recommends, in a note at the end of the article, A Confederate General from Big Sur, In Watermelon Sugar, and The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster as "recommended humorous books."

The full text of the reference to Brautigan reads
Richard Brautigan also surprises readers with innocent sounding grossness. For example, he explains the title of his novel [sic] The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster: "When you take your pill it's like a mine disaster. I think of all the people lost inside you."
Rohrberger, Mary. "In Watermelon Sugar." Masterplots II. American Fiction Series. 4 vols. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1986. Vol. 2, 787-791.

READ the full text of this review.
Rohrberger, Mary and Peggy C. Gardner. "Multicolored Loin Cloths, Glass, Trinkets of Words: Surrealism in In Watermelon Sugar." Ball State University Forum 23(1) Winter 1982: 61-67.

READ the full text of this review.
Schäbler, Bernd. "Versuche einer Projektiven Rezeption: 5. Richard Brautigan: In Watermelon Sugar." Amerikanische Metfiction im Kontext der Europäischen Moderne [American Metafiction in the Context of the European Modern]. Giessen: Hoffmann Verlag, 1983. 674-713.
Review from a German perspective.
Schroeder, Michael L. "Rhetorical Depth or Psychological Aberration: The Strange Case of Richard Brautigan." Mount Olive Review 3 Spring 1989: 45-49.
Says that some critics think In Watermelon Sugar and the narrator expresses an affirmative approach to life, while some think it expresses a negative approach. The problem is "how does one explain the presence of a narrator who is disarmingly lyrical and placid while at the same time harboring such ugly traits? Perhaps an answer is provided by a consideration of Brautigan himself, as he is described by those who knew him best." Schroeder then quotes from articles by Peter Manso and Michael McClure and Lawrence Wright and concludes that the narrator of In Watermelon Sugar
shares with Brautigan not only the divided personality and the attempt to project a wholly favorable view of himself, but also several other character flaws: egotism, rudeness, unreliability, and a tendency to demand too much of women, using them largely for his own ego gratification. The narrator in In Watermelon Sugar does not reveal the degree of physical violence that Brautigan did, but his calm acceptance of violent acts suggests him to be little better.
With a nod to rhetorical depth ("Brautigan might be demonstrating more literary sophistication than many readers would give him credit for.") Schroeder asks,
Did Brautigan consciously give his character elements of his own darker side, or did they appear without his being aware of the self-revelation? Whatever the case, the correspondences between the author's faults and his narrator's are too direct to be purely coincidental.

READ the full text of this review.
Singletary, Taylor. "Of The Coming World: The Forgotten Works In Watermelon Sugar and its Tunnel Music." Everything2 6 Dec 2002.
Everything2 is a community publishing environment where members can read and write about any topic of interest

Online Resource
Singletary's essay at the Everything2 website
Tanner, Tony. "The Dream and the Pen." The Times [London] 25 July 1970: 5G.

READ the full text of this review.
Taylor, Justin. "On Brautigan." Lost magazine (17) September 2007.
Subtitled "The ins and outs of Richard Brautigan, and his novel In Watermelon Sugar." Provides a general overview of Brautigan, his works, and In Watermelon Sugar. Says, "In Watermelon Sugar is my favorite Brautigan. I believe it's the best book he wrote."

Lost magazine is an online literary magazine, publishing established and emerging writers in each monthly edition.

READ the full text of this review.

Online Resource
Taylor's review at the Lost magazine website
Thomson, George H. "Objective Reporting as a Technique in the Experimental Novel: A Note on Brautigan and Robbe-Grillet." Notes On Contemporary Literature 8(4) 1978: 2.
Says the convention of objective reporting, a narrative style associated with "a certain kind of realism in which ostensibly reality speaks for itself" while the implied author's attention is elsewhere, has "undergone a strange transformation in the experimental novel of recent years. Compares Robbe-Grillet's Le Voyeur and Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar. Concludes "the result is deliberately to subvert the kind of realism originally aspired to by the fictional practitioners of reportorial objectivity." (2)

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Villar, Raso M. "The Myth as Consumption: Richard Brautigan." Camp de l'Arpa: Magazine of Literature 19 1975: 23, 25.

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Warsh, Lewis. "Out of Sight." Poetry March 1970: 440-446.
Reviews Stones by Tom Clark, Instructions for Undressing the Human Race by Fernando Alegria, and The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster and In Watermelon Sugar by Brautigan. Says, of In Watermelon Sugar:
[T]he pace . . . is incredibly slow, almost listless: most of the activity seems the cause of something happening outside the persons involved. . . . Like Brautigan's other novels, this one is written in very short sections, so that a single consecutive activity . . . often takes several sections; and this is where the possibilities of transition or pacing take control of the book, for it's just as much how you read—how fast or slow—as what has actually been written that is important, how you let the weight of that simplicity stay in your head.
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Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 3. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1975. 86-90.
Welch, Lew. "Brautigan's Moth Balanced on an Apple." San Francisco Chronicle. 15 December 1968: This World 53, 59.
Those who'd read Richard Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America will be pleased to know that his new book, In Watermelon Sugar, is even better than that, and is even more beautiful. (53)
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Welch, Lew. How I Work As A Poet & Other Essays. Bolinas, CA: Grey Fox Press, 1983. 22-24.
Williams, Dan. "A World Within: Solipsism and Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar." ***?***.

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An oil painting by Noah Davis

Various theatrical and other performances

Hulsman, Noel. "20 Things To Do Before You Die." BC Business 31(8) August 2003: 17-19, 21-23, 25, 27, 29, 30-33, 35-37.
Interviews twenty Canadians regarding pursuits that can enhance and/or transform peoples' lives. Pursuit number eight, by author W. P. Kinsella, calls for reading five books. The third book on Kinsella's list is Brautigan's novel In Watermelon Sugar. Kinsella says
It's a completely mysterious book about what may be an alternative world, or maybe it's just some guy on an acid trip, I don't know, but it's very gentle and it's very funny and the language is superb. He is one of the two writers who really influenced me. (25)