Christoph's Reviews > Revenge of the Lawn / The Abortion / So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away

Revenge of the Lawn / The Abortion / So the Wind Won't Blow i... by Richard Brautigan
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Jun 04, 2010

really liked it
Read from February 25 to April 19, 2011

So this is my second foray into Brautigan literature and my first into his omnibus collections. I must say I have become a sworn fan of his work now. With this collection we get a collection of short short stories, a novel in six parts, and a novelette. Each piece is unique in its own way and each are pretty amazing. I will give an individual review to each of the three below.

Revenge of the Lawn
When I say these are short shorts, I mean it. The longest of these pieces is about three pages. The shortest is a paragraph. The average piece is about a page turn. The impact of these pieces is less in the content and more in the showcasing of Brautigan's style. Here he highlights his whimsical worldview in the minimalism of his words and concepts and the absurd realism with which he animates his similes. I cannot say any one of these stories stood out to me but as a body of work they are a joy of experimental literature to read.

The Abortion: A Historical Romance
This is certainly the most grounded of his stories. It depicts the averagely unique experience of a hippie couple, one a librarian whose sole job is to accept new texts from authors in a rather unusual library and the other a knockout gorgeous drifter, who accidentally become pregnant without want of having done so. In the time period before legalized abortion, the couple employ the aid of a friend of the library who works in "the caves" (another Brautigan device displayed here again) to hook them up with an abortionist in Tijuana. The story chronicles their suspenseful adventure traveling to San Diego then across the border to commit themselves to a tragic experience. The foreign clinical experience creates an aura of dettachment from the true horror of the experience and the cattlecall process where three abortions are redundantly experienced in the bubble of their own emphasize the travesty at play here. That said, a bias is far from obvious in this story which only makes it all the more clear how foolish this policy was.

So The Wind Doesn't Blow It All Away
By far this is my favorite of the three works in this omnibus. This story is the strongest with those absurd realist similes which fits in the context of a story told through the eyes of a child. Also, that gothic American tapestry is woven strong here and is basically the moral of the story. In typical turn-of-the-century style, the story takes an extremely long time to reach that singular point. The continuing refrain is a very welcome device which deepens the narrative nature of this story told through the eyes of the child but from the reflective glance of the author across a 30 year chasm. So the story is essentially a disjointed series of vignettes tying in the tragedy of the story with the innocence of childhood. I could easily see this as some made for TV miniseries of the late 70s early 80s. The moral unveils itself clearly as the quintessential modern regret, the loss of the American ideal to the post-modern ideal. Of course, Brautigan never got to see that post-modern ideal, but he knew what it was, and he didnt like it a bit.

Brautigan was a genius writer and certainly the archetypal man of his times. A writer who knew his 20th Century history was being lost to a new American ideal. His suicide can be seen in this context and his writing moreso. For those cultural archaeologists looking to really get into the dirt of those times, Brautigan is your best resource bar none.

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