A book “that has very little to do with trout fishing and a lot to do with the lamenting of a passing pastoral America . . . an instant cult classic” (Financial Times). Richard Brautigan was a literary idol of the 1960s and ’70s who came of age during the heyday of Haight-Ashbury and whose comic genius and iconoclastic vision of American life caught the imaginations of young people everywhere. Called “the last of the Beats,” his early books became required reading for the hip generation, and on its publication Trout Fishing in America became an international bestseller. An indescribable romp, the novel is best summed up in one word: mayonnaise.
This new edition features an introduction by poet Billy Collins, who first encountered Brautigan’s work as a student in California.
From the introduction: “‘Trout Fishing in America’ is a catchphrase that morphs throughout the book into a variety of conceptual and dramatic shapes. At one point it has a physical body that bears such a resemblance to that of Lord Byron that it is brought by ship from Missolonghi to England, in 1824, where it is autopsied. ‘Trout Fishing in America’ is also a slogan that sixth-graders enjoy writing on the backs of first-graders. . . . In one notable exhibition of the title’s variability, ‘Trout Fishing in America’ turns into a gourmet with a taste for walnut catsup and has Maria Callas for a girlfriend. Through such ironic play, Brautigan destabilizes any conventional idea of a book as he begins to create a world where things seem unwilling to stay in their customary places.”