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Trout Fishing in America

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  11,933 ratings  ·  854 reviews

Richard Brautigan was a literary idol of the 1960s and 1970s whose comic genius and iconoclastic vision of American life caught the imagination of young people everywhere. He came of age during the Haight-Ashbury period and has been called “the last of the Beats.” His early books became required reading for the hip generation, and on its publication Trout Fishing in Americ

Paperback, 112 pages
Published 1967 by Delta
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Drinktowind Many fishermen catch fish and release them, just to enjoy the process.
Chula Brown Buffalo It is a good one, but Richard Brautigan was not a beat writer. He came into the scene on the tail end. He was associated with different Beat poets and…moreIt is a good one, but Richard Brautigan was not a beat writer. He came into the scene on the tail end. He was associated with different Beat poets and writers but refused the title as a beat writer and the title of hippy writer.(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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mark monday
I went up to Portland for the weekend to see my friend Trout Fishing in America get married. Portland is a great town and my friend is a great guy. Unfortunately I got the stomach flu or food poisoning or something and so I missed out on all but 45 minutes of his wedding, and on seeing old friends and all the drinking and the strip clubs and the late night Voodoo donuts and the arcade that everyone loves. All of that. So I just sat on the porch of the house we rented. It was a beautiful house an ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Trout Fishing in America, Richard Brautigan
Trout Fishing in America is a novella written by Richard Brautigan and published in 1967. It is technically Brautigan's first novel; he wrote it in 1961 before A Confederate General From Big Sur, which was published first.
The story takes place in 1957. A man named Lee Mellon believes he is a descendant of a Confederate general who was originally from Big Sur, California. This general is not in any books or records and there is no proof of his existenc
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Fede
I was born well after the big splash of this little book that is synonymous with 1960s-1970s American counterculture. I read this well after dear Richard Brautigan took his own life. So you might say I missed the boat, the relevance of this strange little thing that I'll call a novel, but very loosely, given that it doesn't have a plot or narrative tension, or even characterization to speak of.

Maybe I did miss quite a bit, being from a different generation (and Canadian to boot), not being fami
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
OK, well, first of all, it’s not about trout fishing in America.

Well, mostly not, sort of, well, see here’s the thing –

Richard Brautigan’s very unique 1964 publication blurs the line between prose and poetry, and in the same way that blue sounds a lot like jazz.

Yes, the similes.

Let’s visit some of Mr. Brautigan’s more bizarre and outlandish similes, and it is here that his readers first notice leaving a well-worn path.

“like a famous brain surgeon removing a disordered portion of the imagination
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those in need of a smile
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Father John Misty
Shelves: americana, humor, fishing
This book is an experience like few else. I could spend pages discussing this book but the following passage contains all the joy of the novel and is a well enough jumping-off point for the imagination and intellect to decipher the nature and importance of this novel that has been linked to the late-Beat generation¹
A little ways up from the shack was an outhouse with its door flung violently open. The inside of the outhouse was exposed like a human face and the outhouse seemed to say, 'The ol
Paul Bryant
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Published in 1967 but written in 1961 (and with a Best Before Date of June 1972), here we have a loopy, silly, zonked and floaty novel (if that’s what it is) that most surprisingly is actually in a bumbly zagzig manner all about trout fishing. Well, you know, kind of. The bizarro world version of trout fishing. This is so much like a rural version of Donald Barthelme (who was beginning to crank out his brilliant stories at exactly the same time) that I checked my Barthelme biography to remind my ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Trout Fishing in Australia

A Richard Brautigan craze started in Australia when I was in secondary school. The focus was "Trout Fishing in America", even if I had already read and preferred "Confederate General from Big Sur".

I loved the zany, almost hallucinogenic brevity of his novels. They were as short and stimulating as a good high, and they were funny. They didn't necessarily have a plot, but they were full of acute, though relaxed, proto-stoner observations. Brautigan walked through life
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brian by: Hadrian

Penned at the tail-end of the Beat movement, Brautigan's Trout Fishing in America is his surreal novel on the battle for humanity's soul waged between the high-stakes, ever expanding industrialism of the expiring 20th century and the salad days of nature worshiping 19th century.

The opening chapter of the book is fantastic and worth the investment in the novel just for those few pages alone. Even when the surrealism is thick Brautigan never lets go of his reader's hand. He wants us to see the pr
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Trout Fishing?
In America?

Yes. Trout Fishing.
In America.

Trout Fishing in America is the name we give to our quest for happiness.
Trout Fishing in America is how we keep on looking for the time, the place, the lover, the friend, the chance we identify with happiness - OUR happiness - without even knowing.
Journeying through life's elusive ghosts, edenic visions and sinister gloom, we're all in search of the perfect creek where the crystal clear water sounds like music and the rainbow trout spaw
David Schaafsma
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
“I always wanted to write a book that ended with the word Mayonnaise.”

“Truth is stranger than fishin’.”

Richard Brautigan published Trout Fishing in America in 1967. In a way it reminds me of a goofier, lighter, more absurd version of Kerouac’s On the Road, with lots of traveling around in nature. I also see connections to Kerouac in that both struggled with depression; Kerouac documented his decline through alcoholism in Big Sur, and Brautigan killed himself after writing So the Wind Won’t Blo
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-novels
Short and completely off the wall; published in 1967 and immediately a success with the counterculture. The favourite book of a number of ageing hippies I have known!
It has been compared to Kerouac and Burroughs, but I think that is mistaken; it is a different type of approach to the world. The chapters are short and informal. Trout Fishing in America appears as a person/persons throughout and has spawned at least one modern band and several sets of parents naming their unfortunate offspring Tr
____ is done with Trout Fishing in America.
I am 45% done with Trout Fishing in America.
____ made progress with Trout Fishing in America.
The title phrase of Trout Fishing in America is repurposed in this surreal, freewheeling novella to mean many different things. These sentences, auto-generated by Goodreads status updates, would not seem out of place in it, and could refer to an activity, a discrete inanimate object, a person or an abstraction.

Trout Fishing in America is very now, and also ver
Erik Graff
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Erik by: Tom Kosinski
Shelves: literature
Although my life was not very pleasant from the time of moving to Park Ridge in fifth grade until the beginning of high school, things began to pick up by the sophomore year. I joined the Social Science Society at school,a club dominated by older students who were predominately bookish and left-leaning. I made my first real friends, Rich Hyde and Hank Kupjack, both of whom also belonged to Tri-S.

Things got even better by the junior and senior years. It was the end of the sixties and what had hap
Lee Foust
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although I preferred So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away and even The Abortion, I guess, because they paid a certain homage to standard narrative forms in novels while also thrilling us with Brautigan's inimitable cleverness and quirky style of narration, Trout Fishing in America is also amazing, but more so, for me, because of how much more experimental and fun it is than the other novels of his that I've read. There's only the vaguest sense of a narrative here, even perhaps only a few scenes fr ...more
A re-read for me. I first read this as a teenager in the 1970s. I remember that when any of my schoolfriends saw the book’s cover, they would ask “Why on Earth are you reading a book about trout fishing in America?” I would tell them it wasn’t really about that and of course they would ask “so what’s it about then?” and I wasn’t able to tell them.

I still can’t.

The best I can say is that the book is a series of snippets from Brautigan’s life. Some of these are taken from his childhood; some are
M. Sarki
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I do believe this book was extremely important in its time I am not convinced it is any longer. I did enjoy rereading it as it brought back old and pleasant memories of a time first-called The Generation of Love. Richard Brautigan, after years of writing poetry and learning how to write a good sentence, made this first stab at composing a version of what he would come to call his very first novel. This first work made the rounds of many publishers and was pretty much shelved for other tit ...more
Vit Babenco
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Trout Fishing in America" is a salad of a book - a gourmand's cocktail with mayonnaise dressing. "Trout Fishing in America" isn't about trout - it is about those who do trout fishing in America, or do not.
Finished this a few weeks ago, and would have much sooner, but I actually stopped reading it for a week 10 pages from the end, because I really wanted it to linger, though the good news is that it's short enough that I will probably reread it sooner/more frequently than some of my other favorites.

The kind of book that I loved without entirely knowing why, but a few highlights:
--Brautigan is from Tacoma, Washington, and I am from Washington, and started this on my way back from my vacation there,
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I missed TFiA when I went through my first Beat/proto-Hipster/Petite bourgeoisie phase when I was 17. I loved the geography of this book, the narrative poetry, the sense of place and people. I can see how a book like this can burn naively hot and then stall for awhile. Keep the kids from away from abstract novellas. Reading parts to my woman, she was absolutely not surprised he was friends with Trout Fishing in America City Lights. Life, poetry, trout fishing and mayonnaise are all just a bit me ...more
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really sure what this short book was about, except that I can say for certain that in some way it was about Trout Fishing in America. But then what is Trout Fishing in America? Is it a person, a pastime, a place, a proxy for life, the universe and everything? Maybe. Or maybe it's just some dude talking shit. Either way, it's whimsical, amusing, poetic shit, and like actual shit, it is probably best taken for what it is and not examined too closely.
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
First half = 4 stars
Second half = 2 stars

Book = 3 stars

Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: american-lit, fiction
Okay, I’ll admit it: I don’t get it.

I may need to start singing the “Small World” song, however, as I happened to notice that this book is dedicated to someone named Ron Loewinsohn. “Huh,” I thought. “I had a professor at Berkeley named Ron Loewinsohn. I wonder if it could be the same guy?”

Two minutes of Wikipedia research reveals: yup! Same dude! Apparently he and Brautigan were good friends back in the day. Many years later, Loewinsohn is vying for the title of my favorite college professor. (
Mar 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absolutely nobody!
Recommended to Liam by: ignorant hippies
Shelves: fiction
This book is one of the most overrated pieces of shit in the history of publishing. After listening to every hippie I had ever come into contact with praise it fulsomely, I had the misfortune to finally read it for myself when I was about 19. Like many teenagers, I used to smoke a lot of what was colloquially known, once upon a time, as reefer. Even that, however, wasn't enough to make this book even remotely enjoyable. I recently got a copy for free, and read it again just to double-check my ea ...more
Nate D
A distinctly American absurdism, like automatic-writing that appears behind the eyelids while waiting for an unknown fish to strike a line with a marshmallow hooked at the end, somewhere up river from nowhere, perched on a junked car with a bottle of cheap wine. Not all of this is necessary, but enough is memorably singular.
May 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Brautigan is the favorite author of a woman I loved and finally after years I have read him. I appreciate his short story 1/3 1/3 1/3 and his poem Machines of Loving Grace. I honor him for enduring for years the deep sorrow that eventually caused him to take his own life. But regretfully I ask: what the hell is this? Local color? An attempt at humor ("you had to be a plumber to fish that creek")? Is it supposed to be friendly and accessible like Rod McKuen("next year somebody else will h ...more
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Richard Brautigan's easy-going, beyond informal style should be the easiest thing in the world for today's internet-saavy to read - the freestyle association, onomatopoeia, and occasional anthropomorphism fits right in with any lolcats-humorist. In his most famous work, Brautigan fires off tiny snippets of genius with Trout Fishing in America inserted as whatever concept or person he focuses on. Occasionally, he ties some of the concepts together on a whim. Amidst all this very 60's attitude and ...more
Aug 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009
This is the first time I've met Trout Fishing in America. And although I fished almost everyday in my youth and caught hundreds of Trout, I never realized that the guy with me was Trout Fishing in America. We'd always stop at Ledet's Supermarket and buy bread, ham, and a small jar of mayonnaise on our way to the trout rooms. We'd sit in our small boat with corks bobbing in the room and eat ham sandwiches. We'd look at the sky and see rabbits, angels, or toaster ovens in the clouds. And we'd appr ...more
Roy Kesey
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Genius book. Astounding turns, one after another. Only a few bits of the language have gone a bit dated. I used two of my favorite sentences as part of the little machine-built-of-epigrams at the beginning of Any Deadly Thing.

Another favored bit:

"The old drunk told me about trout fishing. When he could talk, he had a way of describing trout as if they were a precious and intelligent metal."
Ben Loory
Dec 18, 2009 rated it liked it
richard brautigan is probably my favorite person in the world. which i suppose is kind of sad, because he's not in it anymore. this book is great, and very, very funny. his metaphors and one-liners are i think at an all-time high here. i don't like it as much as The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western because it's still pretty fragmented, and not as much as the stories in Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970 because the chapters aren't emotionally affecting for the most part. the book is primar ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I would like to say nothing but nice things about this book, but it feels quite aged and boring at times. I didn’t really know that the Beat Generation encapsulated Brautigan as well, but here’s more of the same itinerant bullshit that blowhards like Kerouac loved to write about.

That’s my cruel take.
Here’s my nice one:
Trout Fishing in America will burn into your brain. Brautigan plays tricks with the phrase, disguising it as character names, using it as punchline, giving it autonomy to respond
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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

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