Maybe My Favorite Chapter in Trout Fishing in America

The Mayor of the Twentieth Century

"London. On December 1, 1887; July 7, August 8, September 30, one day in the month of October and on the 9th of November, 1888; on the 1st of June, the 17th of July and the 10th of September 1889...

     The disguise was perfect.

     Nobody ever saw him, except, of course, the victims. They saw him.

     Who would have expected?

     He wore a costume of trout fishing in America. He wore mountains on his elbows and bluejays on the collar of his shirt. Deep water flowed through the lilies that were entwined about his shoelaces. A bullfrog kept croaking in his watch pocket and the air was filled with the sweet smell of ripe blackberry bushes.

     He wore trout fishing in America as a costume to hide his own appearance from the world while he performed his deeds of murder in the night.

     Who would have expected?


     Scotland Yard?


     They were always a hundred miles away, wearing halibut-stalker hats, looking under the dust.

     Nobody ever found out.

     O, now he's the Mayor of the Twentieth Century! A razor, a knife and a ukelele are his favorite instruments.

     Of course, it would have to be a ukelele. Nobody else would have thought of it, pulled like a plow through the intestines."


The Labels on the Crate for Trout Fishing in America Shorty


"He was the cold turning of the earth; the bad wind that blows off sugar."


Things mistaken for trout streams

"At a distance I saw a waterfall come pouring down off the hill. It was long and white and I could almost feel its cold spray. [...] The waterfall was just a flight of white wooden stairs leading up to a house in the trees. Then I knocked on my creek and heard the sound of wood."

"I remember mistaking an old woman for a trout stream...

- Excuse me, I said. I thought you were a trout stream.

- I'm not, she said."

 From pg 4-5



If any of you are Pinterest users ("pinners?" "pinheads?")...I set up a little Pinterest account you might want to check out. There's not much to see yet but I'll put some book club things up there from time to time.


Richard Brautigan - An Introduction

Richard Brautigan was a sometimes sad sometimes joyful grumpy counterculture icon who was perhaps unfairly labeled as the "last of the beats." He was writing mostly in the 60s & 70s and he killed himself with a bullet in 1984.

According to the New York Times, Brautigan was "a committed sensualist and prototypical hippie, a man who wore floppy hats, granny glasses, love beads and a droopy mustache that made him look like General Custer at an acid test." The Times recently reviewed a big new Brautigan biography titled "Jubilee Hitchiker" - You find the review here.

He is probably most famous for the book we are reading now: Trout Fishing in America. I would describe this book as an attempt to distill, define, and even anthropomorphize Americana itself. He was also a poet and this is his most famous poem:

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

I like to think
(right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

Most importantly, doesn't he look a lot like Larry Bird??


July Selection - Trout Fishing in America

Trout Fishing in America
by Richard Brautigan

~July & August ~

Let's go! You're gonna love it! Probably!