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A Confederate General from Big Sur / Dreaming of Babylon / The Hawkline Monster

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,697 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Richard Brautigan was the author of ten novels, including a contemporary classic, Trout Fishing in America, nine volumes of poetry, and a collection of stories.Here are three Brautigan novels--A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon and The Hawkline Monster--reissues in a one-volume omnibus edition.
Paperback, 608 pages
Published February 4th 1991 by Mariner Books (first published 1964)
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Daniel Polansky
RE: A Confederate General from Big Sur. A totally entertaining comic novel, about a couple of Beat-era wastrels in Northern California. Or novella, really, it can't be fifty thousand words. Anyway, I quite enjoyed it, though I'm not sure there I would pretend there was a tremendous amount there. My first Brautigan, I've got two more to go through before I commit to any broader decisions on the man, I know you're all just mad with anticipation but you'll still have to wait.

RE: Dreaming of Babylo
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book was terrific. It is composed of three novels as the title above plainly states. I started reading the Hawkline Monster first because of the raving of a friend. I must say I was quite happy I did so. The tale was strange, supernatural and funny. It had all the hallmarks of a Brautigan novel. This novel takes a long time to get to the Hawkline Monster, plot-wise, but the journey there is one of the reasons that makes Brautigan so much fun to read.

After finishing Hawkline I proceeded to D
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After years of reading just Sombrero Fallout and some shorter stories I found in anthologies (from Rebel Inc, I believe), my in-laws gave me this as a birthday present.

A Confederate General is an interesting debut, it is full out potential and (to paraphrase the blurb) a 'preview of things to come'. As I read Sombrero Fallout before a lot of the writing style that I associate with Brautigan were developed over his writing career, but here there are the little seeds. The second novel, Dreaming of
Tom Lichtenberg
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Re-reading these stories some 40 years after the first time I read them was like a voyage into a time capsule - and a very specific one at that. There's an innocence here that's kind of mind-boggling. People don't "roll a joint", they have "batches of dope", as if it were a brand new discovery. The women all want to "be layed" all the time (as if). There's nothing the least bit "racial" brought up about the Confederacy. A lot of it could never be written today, but most of it could, and would st ...more
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book is special in my heart. the love of my life read this book to me page by page every night before bed. it was the first full book he read me, and I will never forget it. It is a wonderfully whimsical read. and the characters are full of life.
I love this book for so many reasons
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone who has read everything else Brautigan has written
Recommended to Jim by: Steve Kane
A friend who knew I had only two of Brautigan's novels to read leant me this. The two novels were Dreaming of Babylon and The Hawkline Monster.

I began with Dreaming of Babylon. Needless to say I was looking forward to it and I'd love to say it didn't disappoint but it did. Had this been the first Brautigan I had read then I would have raved about it but I know he can do better. It has all his hallmarks, a private eye down on his luck who can't seem to stop daydreaming about Babylon – that would
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of three short novels by Richard Brautigan. I recently read the first of these - A Confederate General From Big Sur - in another edition and reviewed that as follows: I had a lot of fun reading this short novel which contains some wild ideas in an almost throwaway manner that other writers would labour over. The plot is difficult to summarize and is loose at best, but this is no distraction or negative as the main attraction is character interaction. The ending is sublime. T ...more
Kye Alfred Hillig
May 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book, as you can probably see, is three books in one. So I will break them into three parts.

A CONFEDERATE GENERAL FROM BIG SUR was kind of a fun hippy ride into Brautigans imagination. It was like he just cared little how far out he went. Like his mind would say, "What this story needs is people with alligators in the trunk of their car" and then he would add them without further consideration. Probably the funnest of the three stories.

DREAMING OF BABYLON was my least favorite in the collec
Aug 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who enjoy fun stuff
Recommended to Nam by: Myself
Shelves: just-read
Really enjoyed this. I just found about who Richard Brautigan was a few weeks ago. Didn't know anything about him. However, when I cam across his name I made a point of thinking I need to read some of his works..
So i went to the library and got this anthology of three of his novels. Apparently he is better know for Trout Fishing in America and In Watermelon Sugar (which sounds like a Tom Robbins book title). The library didn't have either of these checked in though.
I really enjoyed the first nov
Stephen Hull
Jan 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Oh dear, what were we all thinking in the 60s and 70s? These have not aged well - although perhaps I should rephrase that because it implies that they were once good. They weren't.

Brautigan reads like someone who fell under the spell of Jack Kerouac when he was an impressionable teenager and never got over it, as if he became convinced that unexpected metaphors are profound and powerful simply because they're unexpected.

His other great influence appears to have been Hemingway. Unlike Hemingway,
Aug 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Three short novels.

California drifter Jesse tells about his friend Lee Melon, descended from a Confederate general and living in a sawed-off shack in Big Sur where the frogs drive him crazy at night.

Washed-up private eye C. Card wears mismatching socks and day-dreams about the hanging gardens and his new Babylonian hero Smith Smith.

Hired guns Cameron and Greer head off into the deserts of Eastern Oregon to see what they can do about the monster spawned from Prof. Hawkline’s “chemicals.”

Spot-on d
Matt Piechocinski
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Brautigan was one of the authors I discovered by reading Patton Oswalt's autobio, and man, I'm glad I did. He's got this real minimalist humor that was hilarious to read. The rating doesn't really reflect what I thought though, since it's actually 3 books in one ominbus ... I would rank them like this:

A Confederate General From Big Sur - 3 Stars

Dreaming of Babylon - 5 Stars, and probably my favorite of the 3

The Hawkline Monster - 5 Stars, and one of those mindtrips of a story
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
We had a cottage that was a hut like that well a few steps up from it as all of the walls were intact and the same heightish but no water no electric nothing but love and fun and I want it back. There's a lot that can happen when there's nothing to do and those frogs are just every problem you ever tried to solve and those root digging Hopis were inspirational.
Rick Slane
Delightful Brautigan short novels. I recommend Richard Brautigan to people who don't like to read or speak English as a second language. He was a poetic prose master.

Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people
Pretty much my favorite thing ever.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hard-boiled frontier dreamers on the wing...
Recommended to Alan by: Poetry and emotion; ultimately, Randy and Van
Like a Cat, Out Went Sadness

Richard Brautigan, the great American poet and sometime novelist, was already as old in 1963, when I was born, as I was in 1992, when I belatedly found out about his death. And now... as I write and rewrite this review, I am just as old as he was when he chose to opt out of his life.
I wish he were still alive. He'd be twice as old as I am, give or take, and probably still at least twice as wise. But his special dreaming vision didn't keep him from killing himself, fr
Dave Faloon
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Nobody does it better ..." sang from the slot machine of Lee Mellon's soul. I turned and looked away like an passenger train without tracks.

There was peace in the valley. The Confederate General looked out towards the Pacific Ocean.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1960-1969
these stories just ooze hippie goofballery.
Mar 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyway interested in 60's-style writing; easy light-hearted reads.
Shelves: recent-fiction
No doubt about it, Brautigan is a light weight, fun read. Just what I need during these "heady" times (not to be confused with the sort of 'headiness' in vogue during Brautigan's era).

The first novella, A Confederate General From Big Sur, was the first ever published by Brautigan. It isn't his best and falls far short of the pinnacle of his literary work, Trout Fishing In America. This work is mildly humorous, rambling and ultimately pointless. I'd give it at 2-star rating at best.

Dreaming of Ba
Brian Grover
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a gift from my buddy Bartels, and despite it's heft, it's a quick read. The stories are a mixed bag. The first (Confederate General) is like a bad Kerouac novel (Brautigan's bio in the back of this book refers to him as "the last of the Beats", so maybe that makes sense). Skip it and read the real Big Sur.

The other two have a similar tone, they're basically send-ups of the mystery/private eye genre and a Western, if those books had dialogue written by Jack Handey. Hawklin
Bryan Winchell
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Note: I am marking this as read because it is the only "Dreaming of Babylon" title that comes up in Goodreads. Lately, I have been on a Brautigan kick, starting with "A Confederate General in Big Sur," then to "In Watermelon Sugar" and most recently, "Dreaming of Babylon." Surprisingly, "Dreaming of Babylon" was by far my favorite. It made me laugh out loud many times and I just really got a kick out of the silly situations and characters in it. It also seemed to have more of a story than the fi ...more
Lorin Cary
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Published in 1964, the book reads like a memoir written by a Jack Kerouac buddy who occasionally runs into Henry Miller (who is spotted once). It’s a poignant plunge into an emerging counter-culture, one divorced from the nascent civil rights struggles of the late fifties and early sixties. There is not much of a plot, although we learn quite a bit about the two principal characters, Lee, and the narrator Jessee, as they meander from San Francisco down to Big Sur. There are references to a Confe ...more
Carah Naseem
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
It only gets four stars because Dreaming of Babylon and The Hawkline Monster were the cinderblocks tied to the ankles of the angel that is Confederate General from Big Sur. I'm not sure why Brautigan felt compelled -- near the end -- to write genre pieces. They turn out to be written out like ironic TV dramas or something. But in his early stuff (i.e. confederate general, troutfishing, etc.) he's so sweet, just turning on and blinking at everything and loving it and watching it all swim around i ...more
Darcy Petersen
Jul 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
What can I say, Richard Brautigan is a genius. The Hawkline Monster is by far my favorite one of his books. The ridiculousness of the plot and mysterious chemicals gets me every time. As for the other books, I've read them but the library copy of Dreaming of Babylon was missing 2 pages. I still greatly enjoyed it. I would recommend it to any Brautigan fan. I read A Confederate General from Big Sur years ago and I don't remember much of it but it didn't impress me so much as Brautigan's other wor ...more
Jun 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
"The world needs dreamers"...A friend of mine just borrowed & returned this book to me. It contains my all-time favorite Richard Brautigan story and one of my favorite novels of all time, "Dreaming of Babylon." It is the story an inept, daydreaming detective who thinks the best thing that ever happened to him was breaking both of his legs, because he could spend all his time in the hospital in his fantasy world of Babylon, with no distractions.
Apr 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Confederate General from Bid Sur was the best of the three by a long shot. The other two seemed too gimicky (even from Brautigan) for me. Compared to the other two "Three-Brautigan's-in-one" I read, this one was by far the weakest. I'd give this a two, but A Confederate General from Big Sur was superb.
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brautigan is for re-reading. Not just for the loving way - there is no better phrase for it - he creates and enjoys his characters. Not for the bizarre and yet somehow perfectly natural settings in which those people live. Or for the mad problems they make for themselves. But for the sheer over-sized joy of being alive in a place Richard Brautigan has created.
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I was not a big fan of the first story, "A Confederate General from Big Sur". The plot was kind of aimless. I did, however, somewhat enjoy the other two novellas; "the Hawkline Monster" being the best of the three. Brautigan's style seems cribbed from Kurt Vonnegut. Only Vonnegut did it much better.
Jun 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not as great as Trout Fishing in America, but A Confederate General in Big Sur is Brautigan's first novel. The message is a but more raw and his characters are slightly more heavy handed, but all the trappings of art and beauty shine through. The ending of this story is the stuff that makes quantum physics students take up poetry.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Get this book if you like words and goofiness that goes melancholy. Get this book if you like drifters and odd characters and stories on a couple of levels. Richard Brautigan makes writing look simple without ever giving up on the power of words to say something new, no matter how much b.s. has already been written.
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Richard Brautigan was an American novelist, poet, and short-story writer. Born in Tacoma, Washington, he moved to San Francisco in the 1950s and began publishing poetry in 1957. He started writing novels in 1961 and is probably best known for his early work Trout Fishing in America. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1984.

More about Richard Brautigan
“We could see the children's toys here and there, and we saw a game that the children had made themselves out of dirt, deer antlers and abalone shells, but the game was so strange that only children could tell what it was. Perhaps it wasn't a game at all, only the grave of a game.” 10 likes
“She had a voice that made Pearl Harbor seem like a lullaby.” 5 likes
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