Friday, December 07, 2012

An Unfortunate Woman : Richard Brautigan

An Unfortunate Woman
By Richard Brautigan

The forward alone was enough to engage me.  With a whopping 3 short pages of prose, he points out a light-hearted example of one's irrational behavior as a result of trying to upkeep social graces and a sense of loss simultaneously.

The rest of the book continues on with short tales, frequently exploring human psyche, with abrupt transitions between them, very much like an interesting personality with very associative manner of thinking at a bar telling stories.
   I don't know why I wanted a photograph of me and a chicken in Hawaii. Obsessions are curious things, and they can't help but make a person wonder.
...
   I am of course not talking about a chicken that is wearing an ouftit suitable for a frying pan.
   I'm talking about a living chicken, feathers and all.
...
   People would visit me there and maybe one of them would ask about the curious photography of me and a chicken, hanging interrogatively on the wall.
...
Maybe they would say, "Interesting photograph," and if they got no response: "Where was it taken?"
  "Hawaii/"
  "Is that a chicken?"
   "Yes."
   "Is there a reason for that photograph? Is that some kind of special chicken?"
  Now I would see how determined or not determined they were.   "No, I just wanted to have a photograph of me and a chicken taken in Hawaii."
   Where in the hell could they go from there? Where could you and I go from there if we were suddenly placed in that position? ... I don't think it would be a good idea to fall helplessly into silence and just stand there staring at a photograph of somebody and a chicken taken together in hawaii, waiting to be put of my misery.
While the entire novel does not quite have that concise, well-crafted polish and structure of the forward, it barrels through of the fourth wall between narrator/author and reader and riffles through a number of different ways of breaking the usual contract of story-teller and reader.

I'd love to pick up another of Brautigan's novels (and oh yeah, it's quite apparent why Murakami would enjoy Brautigan's works.)

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