He created his own Kool-aid reality and he was able to illuminate himself by it (10).
Well, that’s the trick, I guess. Trout Fishing in America is the seminal book of the American avant-garde, circa 1960s, by Richard Brautigan. The title is the theme, heart, and soul of the book.
“Trout Fishing in America Shorty, Mon Amour” (63).
Brautigan references Resnais, of course, but his endearing character, Trout Fishing in America Shorty, is the perfect (quasi) hero of a dark age. For all of its humor, the book is a lugubrious treatise on the psychic disconnect of a generation. Any proper noun that is not removed (and demoted) by the article ‘the’ (i.e. ‘the’ woman I travel with, or, ‘the’ baby) is christened, ‘Trout Fishing in America.’ Hotels, people, locals….its all the same.
But I didn’t ruin my birthday by secretly thinking about it too hard (69).
No, no, don’t do that. Brautigan makes the Existentialists look downright cheery and some fifty years out, wanting. At a certain point, after all, the meaninglessness is meaningless.
After he graduated from college, he went to Paris and became an Existentialist. He had a photograph taken of Existentialism and himself sitting at a sidewalk cafe. Pard was wearing a beard and he looked as if he had a huge soul, with barely enough room in his body to contain it (92).
Composed in a visually and intellectually arresting manner, Trout Fishing in America is a cry, a sob, for an innocence lost. The neurosis is a blinking eye, trying to resist the constraints of a world and society at odds with the simple pleasure of Trout Fishing in America.
We were all silent except for blink, blink, blink, blink, blink. Suddenly I could hear his God-damn eye blinking, It was very much like the sound of an insect laying the 1,000,000th egg of our disaster (39).
In the end, it is all sold off. Another commodity to sell. Aisle four, row whatever, doesn’t matter…the land of the for sale, home of the for hire…the only difference is, no one cares anymore.