karen's Reviews > The Hawkline Monster

The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan
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Aug 25, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: thanks-for-prezzies
Read on September 21, 2011

i am willing to give second chances.

even if i am angered or bewildered or heartbroken, i am always willing to take stock of circumstances, offer up the opportunity for redemption, and allow someone back into the warmth of my heart. we should all be as emotionally charitable as me. just don't fuck up a second time.

i read this brautigan novel with trepidation. that motherfucker burned me before.

are you distressed that i have already used variants of the word "fuck" twice in the first fifty or so words?

then you will probably not like richard brautigan. read this instead. (i love the angry southerner's review of this - teehee)

maureen assured me that this was a "good" brautigan book. unlike the brautigan to which i had been exposed in the past. if i had the correct facial muscles, i would have raised a single eyebrow at her, but i cannot do anything cool, so instead i grunted. she was in canada, and so could not hear me.

but i'm game, so i made greg get this for me from the library. (princess neither does her own taxes nor leaves her own library-rental paper trail)

and it was not at all bad.

pretty enjoyable, in fact.

i was doubly concerned before reading, because remember when robert coover wrote his version of a western; Ghost Town? i did not love that book at all. usually, his schtick works for me, but i remember being annoyed by that one. this one also does a sort of western mash-up, decorating the traditional western theme with some furnishings from the gothic genre. big isolated house, subterranean caverns, unnameable force of eeeevil. (well, pretty nameable, actually. it is called the hawkline monster, as a matter of fact)but it's got some ionesco lunacy and a lot of fuckin'. also teenaged prostitutes and a giant butler and an umbrella stand made out of an elephant's foot. also, some fuckin'.

it is a little icky, of course, as artifacts from the seventies will be in the attitudes towards the interchangeability of women as sex partners and icksome group sex.

but it is also a fast and perplexing read, where people suffer memory loss and blend into other people, sort of, and things are all a bit eerie. but funny. i don't know how to explain it. it is like watching a bunch of clowns in cowboy hats and eyeliner having an orgy. who can find the words?

i am going to magnanimously let greg read this book before he returns it to the library.
maybe he will find a better way of describing it.

but for me, i will say - welcome to my heart, brautigan - watch your step...
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Comments (showing 1-37 of 37) (37 new)

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Maureen hurray! :)


karen i know! i will review it tomorrow sometime, in case you are on the edge of your seat with anticipation...


Maureen you know i am dying for the scoop! i just restrained myself from begging for your words because i was being respectful of your time! (no, i'm not normally this adult -- i'm just trying it out for a change. :)

i am glad greg found this for you from the library! you should make him read it before he returns it. :) i am still worried we frightened him when we saw him at your store and asked about the doughnuts. :)

this is the only copy i have left, a hardcover that used to be in the library -- i kept giving my paperback copies away even though i liked the cover better. :)

hurray, hurray! i'm so happy! :)


karen it is in print, but part of some three-in-one thingie that i was unwilling to buy, having disliked the other brautigan i read. this one was good, though....

i will tell greg to read it!


Miriam This was really interesting. Now I wish I'd written something so I could remember it better.


karen goodreads.com is stingy with the details for that one.


message 8: by Greg (last edited Sep 23, 2011 08:18PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg I'll give this a try before I return it. I hope it's better than A Confederate General from Big Sur


karen wow, 5 stars, miriam??

i will look at it tomorrow.


Miriam Oh, I think I went to that club once; my alkie friend told me they had cheap Old Fashioneds.


karen it's creepy, but it is a spectacle from which you cannot look away...


message 12: by Maureen (last edited Sep 24, 2011 11:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maureen i like comic books and westerns, so i'm signing up for rancher girl. :) i have also heard good things about sombrero flats but it is harder to find. :( of course if it does not have chemical formulae and strange strange interchangeable people that blur into each other in it, i'm not sure it'll do the trick for me. i do not think this is anything like that big sur book because i read that one and hardly remember it.

i think it is more a steve mcqueen puppet show orgy than a clown with eyeliner orgy if that makes it more palatable... it may not. there's a lot of compulsion in this book. i have also read a lot of books about mesmerism so goes to show you what my tastes are... :P

for me, the most memorable use of elephant foot umbrella stand in literature. :)


karen both of those images work for me.


message 14: by Bill (last edited Sep 24, 2011 05:26PM) (new) - added it

Bill have you tried Trout Fishing in America, karen? it's supposed to be his best book, isn't it? i have it as well as Sombrero Fallout, and the one you just reviewed, plus 6 others by him...i have a plethora of brautigan!! haven't read any yet though. i'll start with this one, seeing as you gave it 4 stars, and as we all know, your literary taste is impeccable.


karen yeah, trout fishing was the one i didn't like, which was published with the pill versus the springhill mine disaster and in watermelon sugar. i was underwhelmed by those. and i felt bad because my friend was soooo in love with in watermelon sugar. he was wrong, though.


message 16: by Bill (new) - added it

Bill of course he was wrong...you have spoken!

yeah, i have that trilogy in hardcover, which apparently is a somewhat valuable book, if it is in good shape, which mine is in excellent shape, including the dust jacket. i paid almost $100 for mine, anyway.


karen oh, so you wouldn't want to read it and potentially decrease its value, anyway! good call!


message 18: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Wells Karen, you are a breath of fressh air. Thank you for accepting me as your friend- site unseen.


karen aw shucks


message 20: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Wells LOL!!!


message 21: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Wells Karen, I'm putting this on hold at the library to read. I'll give him a chance. Thanks for the review - and I wish more people would swear and ask for forgiveness later than hold all that crime in their hearts for lying. tee tee...


karen my heart is made of crime


Miriam That's a great line, karen.


message 24: by Sandy (new)

Sandy I used to like this guy when I was back in high school, a very long time ago. Never got around to reading this one, however. Thanx, Karen!


message 25: by Lena (new)

Lena You are all heart princess. Seriously clowns and a seventies orgy - I hear a little King.


karen which king??? richard?? charles??? certainly not edward!


message 27: by Lena (new)

Lena Lord no not Edward. I should have said Scary King from the Ice Lands of Maine.


karen hahahaha ohhhh THAT guy!


Miriam Brautigan doesn't remind me of King, but I've only read a little of either author.

i was doubly concerned before reading, because remember when robert coover wrote his version of a western?

Can't be worse than when he tried to write a fairy tale.


karen i actually liked that one. from what i remember.


Miriam I could see liking it if you hadn't read any fairy tales redone in that manner previously.


karen i think i hadn't at the time - it was soooo long ago. pre-goodreads.


Miriam The Dim Ages.


karen right?? what did i even DO with my time back then?


Miriam I think I went out.


message 36: by Maureen (last edited Aug 26, 2015 06:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maureen i can't believe it's been almost four years since you read the hawkline monster. i have since read almost all of the brautigan fiction (not poetry) there is to be read (my strategy of keeping things as currently reading until i write a review is not really tenable anymore given how long ago i read these) and without revisiting this review in the interim, i'm pretty firmly with karen on the trout fishing/pine hill/watermelon sugar front and against popular opinion. my gut is saying that all the rest of the books with the exception of willard and his bowling trophies, none of the other books really resides in the same place of clown weirdness as this one does but willard isn't gleeful like this one is. the only other one that even approaches the love i have for the hawkline monster at this point is revenge of the lawn. i think about that one often. there's a story in it called "an unlimited supply of 35 millimetre film" that is close to a constant refrain now, a tiny observational story that settles the eternal question "what does X see in Y?" perfectly. every time i hear somebody going on in this direction, i think of revenge of the lawn so you can imagine why i think of it so often.


Jessica T. I grabbed this at the thrift store... "a Gothic western" intrigues me...


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