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You Can't Catch Death: A Daughter's Memoir
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You Can't Catch Death: A Daughter's Memoir

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  319 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In all of the obituaries and writing about Richard Brautigan that appeared after his suicide, none revealed to Ianthe Brautigan the father she knew. Through it took all of her courage, she delved into her memories, good and bad, to retrieve him, and began to write. You Can't Catch Death is a frank, courageous, heartbreaking reflection on both a remarkable man and the child ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 10th 2001 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 2000)
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Told as a series of vignettes, the book describes one daughter’s relationship with her father, who eventually kills himself. I am on a memoir kick, and can’t remember who recommended the book to me, but it was a lovely read.

Mrs. Brautigan’s father was a famous writer and throughout the book famous people flit in and out, seemingly to behave like the real people that they are. Her father split his time between San Francisco and a ranch outside of Bozeman. Ianthe did the same.

Pictures of her, and
Christopher Litsinger
Ianthe Brautigan's struggle to come to terms with her father's brilliance, love, alcoholism and suicide is captured in a nearly perfect package in this book. She has obviously inherited her father's gift for words, and I'm deeply disappointed that she hasn't written many more books for me to immediately go out and read.
You want passages? I'm tempted to simply excerpt the entire book, because it's that good, but I think that might get me in trouble so here are two:
We never talked about his mother
Although this book offered insights to Richard Brautigan's life that only Ianthe could, I'm not sure that it was written in quite the tone or with quite the magic with which would have been admirable and delicious as a memoir to an author who, on reading his work, makes me absolutely childishly delighted. It would have been nice if some of the Brautigan magic could have been apparent in this book, but I suppose the sole purpose of a memoir isn't to delight or fill the reader with a sense of magi ...more
This is a maybe overly upbeat book of a daughter coming to terms with her father's suicide. She glosses over his black moments (alcoholic rages, refusing to come to her wedding) and instead chooses to remember his loving moments, as probably a child should do.
She records her life with her father in San Francisco, Montana and Japan and her pursuit of her father's childhood on a road trip to Washington : meeting a grandmother she never met and trying to understand her father's early life. As wel
Recommended by Greg Wittig :-)
Lovely engrossing daughter's dig into her famous father's suicide.
"Sometimes the love I have for my father overtakes my whole being, and I want to leap into the air and grab onto whatever color is there to express how my heart feels. At times like those I envision myself as a sort of sky acrobat, swinging from handhold to handhold in the blue atmosphere. This love is not weak and doesn't fail and remains forever mine."
Aug 18, 2007 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dads.
I'd read most of Dream Catcher - written by Salinger's daughter, Margaret - a year or two beforehand and so, when I stumbled across this book I jumped at it. I have to say I really enjoyed it. It is quite sad because Brautigan killed himself and here is his daughter, who was nine years old when he died, trying to connect with him. The chapters are very short and it's not hard to see that she's his daughter.
Ianthe inherited her fathers grace and sublty. Any Brautigan fan should read this.. She carries the torch as she recounts her childhood and procceses the suicide of her father. A sad but beautiful book. xo b
Richard Brautigan rocked my expectations from literature. Sophomore and junior years of high school, I adored the beatniks and wished I could have lived among their ranks. It was not Kerouac, nor Ginsberg, nor Ferlinghetti (though I loved to visit City Lights and stroll through North Beach) that I most admired; it was Brautigan.

Because of this, Iantha Brautigan's tome was a must-read. I admire that she wrote the book for herself and not for fans like myself. It ensured a personal and honest resu
The always essential counterpoint to the 'tragic genius' that history creates and recreates. A woman who is given a rich, free, troubled life by her brilliant father, who was plagued by mental illness. A story more about how you don't have to inherit the legacy of your famous parent.
I am a recovering alcoholic who was once hospitalized to protect me from myself (5150'd it's called in California). I had no idea what I'd find when I discovered this book in my local library; my primary interest was Richard Brautigan. I read and I cried as I realized the impact my alcoholism and self-destructive ways must have had on my ex-wife and son. I wish all children could and would write as well as Ianthe about their lives under these conditions. This was NOT a downer book for me. It sho ...more
Scott Charles Walker
I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in knowing Brautigan a little better--his daughter is an excellent writer herself, and this book is her attempt to come to terms with his suicide--it is also a beautiful homage to fathers in general, made even more touching by the inclusion of family photos. She also references many of Brautigan's writer friends such as Robert Creeley, Tom McGuane, Jim Harrison; and actors/directors like Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, and Hal ...more
The book was written exceptionally. I enjoyed the insights of the author regarding her fathers death. the narration didn't bore me at all rather i felt like I could really see them doing all those things. What I look for in a book is a especially when almost all are narrative is that the narration must be catchy, something that doesn't bore. how can i possibly get bored when each paragraph are carefully reflected on and seems to give meaning in the process. I would definitely recommend this book ...more
Mark Farley
You Can't Catch Death is a surprisingly whole hearted and enjoyable read about a relationship between a daughter, her father and her journey to cope with his suicide. The father is of course, Richard Brautigan and this is a sublime snapshot of the sixties and seventies City Lights writing scene around the beautiful city of San Francisco.
Richard Brautigan was my favorite poet/writer when I was a youngin. When I learned he committed suicide, I had to find out more. I found this book, a memoir by his daughter which gives a touching account of the life of a troubled, but brilliant creative mind.
Apr 21, 2008 Manatee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who appreciates Richard Brautigan
I very much enjoyed the insight into Richard Brautigan, and I think his daughter shares his talent.
Like In Watermelon Sugar, I read this on a cross-country road trip. I met the author in a bookstore in Petaluma, California.
I really liked this book. It read real easy. It is a memoir.
I was attracted to it cause my dad killed hisself too. I can sort of relate.
Knight Berman Jr
Good insight into Brautigan, as well as being a good insight into the way a daughter dealt with the suicide of her father. Touching and revealing.
This one is a real downer--Richard Brautigan's daughter explores the impact of her father's alcoholism and suicide on her own life.
How does a 24 year old cope when her father commits suicide? Writing helped Ianthe. And this book makes me want to read her father's books.
fantastic musings from Richard brautigan's daughter. warm and well written, nice to hear such a rich perspective on the man.
My favorite author's daughter's memoir of him. Beautifully written. I can hear echoes of her dad through her writing.
Feb 11, 2008 Natalie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, poetry
I can't wait to buy this and read it! RB is my favorite poet of all time. I want to learn more about him.
Sinclair Klugarsh
There is such a thing as knowing too much.
Jim Bremser
An interesting account by the great poet's daughter.
Nancy Ann
I thought she was a good writer.
Jenny marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2014
Hobart Frolley
Hobart Frolley marked it as to-read
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Смерть не заразна (Красная серия) An Unfortunate Woman / You Can't Catch Death

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