Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In Watermelon Sugar” as Want to Read:
In Watermelon Sugar
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In Watermelon Sugar

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  7,751 ratings  ·  443 reviews
Welcome to iDEATH -- a place where the sun shines a different colour every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams along paths lined with pines and stones. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. Brautigan expresses the mood of a new generation.
paperback, 138 pages
Published June 14th 1968 by San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation (first published 1968)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In Watermelon Sugar, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In Watermelon Sugar

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I almost can't believe how dazzling this book is. In Watermelon Sugar is 138 pages long — many of which are half pages at best — and yet manages to whip up a stunning, strange, surreal little world, full of sad, sweet characters and shockingly beautiful images.

It's the simplest little story: two lovers, a scorned ex-girlfriend, an old-timer who lights the lanterns on the bridges, a chef who cooks nothing but carrots. The whole book takes place in a few days, in a tiny little town where everythi
Softly we are Richard Brautigan and we have nothing to do with hippies and we fish for trout and keep some of the trout in there because we are Richard and we like to look at them. It suits us to have this mustache and to touch it periodically like one might touch a butterfly sitting there and wipe the crumbs away from something special that we have just eaten and enjoyed.
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 16, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, favorites
Remarkable imagination. At times funny yet dark overall. Poetic yet simple lines. One of the two books that I am planning to re-read again and again.

Richard Brautigan (1935-1984), born in Tacoma, Washington, wrote this novella only for around 60 days in 1964, the year I was born. However, this was only published in 1968. In Watermelon Sugar was his 3rd novel after he earlier got noticed with his first, A Confederate General From Big Sur and got catapulted to international fame with his second, T
This is hands down my favorite book of all time. I wish I could give it more stars than five. It's written by a beat poet but sometimes feels more like Science Fiction crossed with stream of consciousness.
The first line of the book "In Watermelon Sugar, the deeds were done and done again, as my life is done in Watermelon Sugar." sets the mood of the book.
You're never really sure if it's all happening on Earth but in a different time or just in the mind of the author. The sun shines a different
Brent Legault
Dec 12, 2011 Brent Legault rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pies in the skies, candyland lovers
This is the book that made me realize that Brautigan was a sham writer. I had my suspicions after reading Revenge of the Lawn and Trout Fishing in America, but this one put him forever in my private slush pile. I don't understand the reputation that has been handed him and I don't think he deserves it for the folderal he manufactured. His poetry is all right, at least I remember The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster as not entirely without worth. Some of it makes me laugh at least. But hi ...more
Dec 29, 2007 Kat rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ideath inhabitants
I was absolutely besotted with this book and now I can't remember why, but I carried it around with me in high school and just thumbed through it and soaked it up. I suppose it was everything I wanted, but couldn't have - freedom on all levels for a small-town girl stuck in a small school full of small people. This was my mantra for escape and it opened up many doors - some good and some bad, but all leading to the same right place and that was my own mind and my own opinions. For that alone, I ...more
Abby Hagler
I return to this book a lot. Recently, I think I offended a friend by being nosy about their previous name before they legally changed it. I read this chapter and mulled over my mistake:


I guess you are kind of curious as to who I am, but I am one of those who do not have a regular name. My name depends on you. Just call me whatever is in your mind.
If you are thinking about something that happened a long time ago: Somebody asked you a question and you did not know the answer.
That is my
Jr Bacdayan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 09, 2010 Mon rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: other lit posers
Recommended to Mon by: lit posers
Shelves: po-mo
The rating is much harder than the actual book. The process of critical assessment is far too logical for this madly surreal, withdrawn, disassociated schizoid novella. You can compare it to a high-brow indie cross-genre EP on Pitchfock, completely incomprehensible but pretty nonetheless. I don't understand any of it, but here's a bunch of artwork that sort of look like the visual imagery, if it can be compared to anything else.

Owl by David Noonan

or make myself a space to inhabit too by Del Kar
Ben Loory
Dec 31, 2009 Ben Loory rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ben by: Jonathan
this should really be 4.5 stars because i think the very last page is wrong... or stops just a second shy of where it should. i'm still hanging there, waiting for what must necessarily follow........ right? right, richard? right?

in any case, this is a pretty great book. it's brautigan poem-world in the guise of some kind of post-apocalyptic hippie nightmare-fantasyland. takes a little while to adjust to it, it kinda just throws you in, and the adjustment period is a little traumatic, what with i
I fell in love with this book when people started cutting their thumbs off in the trout fishery. Before that, I was interested and had a little bit of a crush on it, but it was nothing serious. Now we're considering running away together.

So somber and sad, with a body count the like of which hasn't been seen in Braugtigan's work yet. It's about life, plain and simple. At least, I think so.

From this point forward, I live my life in watermelon sugar.
Bizarre and surreal pretty much sums this up and I know many people see this as utopian, a Garden of Eden setting in what seems to be a post-apocalyptic world. Brautigan indicated that Bolinas, the town in California where he lived for a while, provided something of a template. It is notoriously reclusive and the abode of poets, artists and ecologists.
The commune is called iDEATH and the narrator has a shack nearby and a room in the commune. There;s his girlfriend Pauline, an ex-girlfriend Marg
Jeffrey May
I read this more than once between 1970 and 1980. It stuck with me so much that I could recite the opening paragraph easily and did so over the years. Recently, I read it again on Kindle. Still, truly a strange and wonderful piece of literature. This time through I was struck by the violence and blood of the ending chapters, perhaps made more palatable upon first reading by the poetic nature of Brautigan's prose.

Richard Brautigan inspired my own early writing. At 24 (I’m now 58), I wrote Cynthia
Travelling Sunny
I have no idea why this book river is so difficult to understand. I think it is set in a hippie commune, but the descriptions rivers are so trippy that I can't quite be certain. A sun that shines a different color every day. (I was particularly enamored with the black, silent sun.) All kinds of forgotten things, lost and found again, unrecognizable as anything but a forgotten thing. But everything else is called a river. Unless it's not a river. Or, maybe they were rivers? It could have been fut ...more
This was the first fiction I'd read by Brautigan, and as I read the beginning, I became quickly sure it was a total piece-o-shite. But, as I continued, I totally fell in love with it. It was like 48 Hours. I was Nick Nolte, and In Watermelon Sugar was Eddie Murphy.

Very surreal, and surreal in a disorienting way at first. But, it grew in hilarity for me as I read further. Was there the point? I don't know. If I was supposed to get something deep out of this, I didn't. But it was quite entertaini
Vit Babenco
In the hippie world life obeys its own laws. And those who live in a watermelon fairytale are lucky because watermelon sugar is a universal stuff serving all purposes in life.
“I once had a dream about the aqueduct being a musical instrument filled with water and bells hanging by small watermelon chains right at the top of the water and the water making the bells ring.”
No need to bother for food as well…
“Al cooked up a mess of carrots again. He broiled them with mushrooms and a sauce made from w
Why I like him: He was a total idiot, frugal, courteous, with an easily breakable heart. Seemingly un-censoring, he populated his nice new white pages with as few words as imaginable. He sometimes included very engaging photographs. His books are still thin. The Tijuana, Mexico abortion romance is probably my favorite. He looked like he wandered down the Coast from the Olympic Mountains or somewhere (Takoma, actually) with rain in his hair. But anyone who moves about the Pacific Northwest for ab ...more
1/2012 This one is a touchstone for me, and I'm not sure exactly why. Perhaps because it is so very gentle, so loving, so open. Ostensibly, it's a few days in a commune in some mythical world that used to have beautiful, man-eating, talking tigers. A world where everything is made from watermelon sugar. But it's always struck me as a meditation on the art of the possible. It helps me to remember how to live, in the words of Annie Dillard, "yielding at every moment to the perfect freedom of singl ...more
Nadine Larter
Definitely one of the strangest but most original books I have ever read. Strange that it is such an old story when it seems so contemporary. I can't quite explain the absolute weirdness of it. It's sort of a book about the writing of the book itself. Usually I find that kind of thing quite obnoxious but it just worked with this one. To the character Margaret: I loved you the most. To the unnamed narrator: you chose the wrong girl.
Lisbeth Solberg
The 4-star rating is a compromise between different readings at different times of my life. Once I even loved this book, a sort of hippie fairytale, in which unpleasant possessiveness and alcohol abuse (bad) poison pleasant promiscuity and marijuana use (good). This was my favorite part:

We went over and lay upon her bed. I took her dress off. She had nothing on underneath. We did that for a while. Then I got up and took off my overalls and lay back down beside her.

That's a fairly representative
"Well, I've got to get back to work," Fred said. "The plank press calls. What are you going to do?"
"I think I'll go write," I said. "Work on my book for a while."
"That sounds ambitious," Fred said. "Is the book about weather like the schoolteacher said?"
"No, it's not about weather."
"Good," Fred said. "I wouldn't want to read a book about weather."
"Have you ever read a book?" I said.
"No," Fred said. "I haven't, but I don't think I'd want to start by reading one about clouds."
a friend and I read this book aloud to one another in the hallway of a dilapidated residence hotel over a few hours. after whcih, whatever was broken in my imagination was amiably mended..
Nov 13, 2007 Jonas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the blissfully ignorent
A short book with short chapters and is therefore perfect for the crapper. But the story isn't shitty at all. Being my first Braughtigan read, i expect fun things ahead.

The book depicts what turn out to be a very crutial few days in the zany hamlet of iDEATH. The inhabitants that live about this place are an ignorant lot who at first seem quite whimsical, floating around in a utopian society, but as you learn more about them the story of their destiny unravels this perception.

For someone who e
I have read this book many times, starting from when I was a kid. It enchanted me as a kid for it has themes that I could grasp: your parents leaving you and being scared, talking tigers, best friends and lost friends, mountains of junk and mysterious places to explore, not to mention the fascination of different colours of the sun for every day of the week. As I have read it again and again, the layers of meaning and understanding have grown. I am glad that I read it first when I was very young ...more
Edwina Hall Callan
I would love to know if it was LSD or Acid that was the inspiration for this book. lol
A strange, quirky, weird little book and the best thing about it was that most of the pages were only half pages so if you can bear to stick with it you could read it in one sitting in probably an hour or two, unfortunately I couldn't handle this in more than small doses at a time.
I have to admit that I don't understand why or how this is on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before
You Die List, because even though I
This book is my Irene Adler.

It's rather short and surreal. Utterly intriguing and a little disturbing. And lovely. I read it first as a child of 11 or so. At this point, I've read it too many times to count. I own four copies of it. They're on a special shelf with my other multiple copies of Brautigan works. Whenever I see a copy of this in a bookstore, I stop, pull it out and, laying both hands upon it, raise it to my forehead, then open it and read a few pages. I smile and feel becalmed. Gentl
Lukáš Palán
O této knize mnozí říkají, že je to ta nejdivnější kniha, kterou kdy četli. To já říct nemůžu. Zaprvé jsem četl memoár chůvy Goldy o Ivetě Bartošové, za druhé, většina děje zase tak bizarní není. Když se řádně zliju, tak taky potkávám mluvící tygry a zeleninové sochy. Je ale pravda, že Brautiganovi se povedlo vytvořit fascinující svět, který je fascinující ze dvou důvodů: jednak jej tvoří už zmínění mluvící tygři, zírající pstruzi a různobarevné Slunce, ale druhak je fascinující tím, že do toho ...more
Up to now, In Watermelon Sugar is probably the strangest and most confusing book I've ever read. It's written in simple prose, but the content of it still has me puzzled in some ways. Whilst reading it, I thought the story would be symbolic and deep but after reading a few reviews of the book, I've realised that the story cannot be analysed to the max. However, I still think it is somewhat an allegory which, through the talking tigers and strange suicides and old trout, makes you question what i ...more
M. Sarki
I have lowered my previous ranking of four stars down to three. I did like it, but the book is much darker than I originally remembered it being and nothing I would want to ever return again to reading in my older age. Richard Brautigan was certainly a unique character and I am glad the Haight had him for that time.
تجربه ی جدیدی بود، به نظرم اساساً نباید دنیای انتزاعی کتاب را با آنچه که تجربه کرده ایم منطبق بدانیم. کتابی عجیب و غریب!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Wonder what would have happened...if 3 57 Jan 15, 2014 03:50AM  
اطلاعات 1 22 May 18, 2008 11:35PM  
  • Tracy's Tiger
  • جنگل واژگون
  • دیوانه بازی
  • You Can't Catch Death
  • The Lime Twig
  • Motorman
  • Ghost Machine
  • The Man Suit
  • Mount Analogue
  • میرا
  • Pricksongs and Descants
  • Ray
  • Fup
  • The Tunnel: Selected Poems
  • The Father Costume
  • Wittgenstein's Mistress
  • The Wonderful O
  • دکتر نون زنش را بیشتر از مصدق دوست دارد
Richard Brautigan was a 20th century American writer. His novels and stories often have to do with black comedy, parody, satire, and Zen Buddhism. He is probably best known for his novel Trout Fishing in America. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1984.

More about Richard Brautigan...
Trout Fishing in America / The Pill vs. the Springhill Mine Disaster / In Watermelon Sugar Trout Fishing in America The Abortion The Hawkline Monster Revenge of the Lawn

Share This Book

“I'll tell you about it because I am here and you are distant.” 107 likes
“My Name

“I guess you are kind of curious as to who I am, but I am one of those who do not have a regular name. My name depends on you. Just call me whatever is in your mind.
If you are thinking about something that happened a long time ago: Somebody asked you a question and you did not know the answer.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was raining very hard.
That is my name.
Or somebody wanted you to do something. You did it. Then they told you what you did was wrong—“Sorry for the mistake,”—and you had to do something else.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was a game you played when you were a child or something that came idly into your mind when you were old and sitting in a chair near the window.
That is my name.
Or you walked someplace. There were flowers all around.
That is my name.
Perhaps you stared into a river. There as something near you who loved you. They were about to touch you. You could feel this before it happened. Then it happened.
That is my name.”
More quotes…