Richard Brautigan published ten novels during his lifetime. Another was published post-humously. A manuscript for one unpublished novel has been identified.
Brautigan is noted for his whimsical novels that, by his own account, evolved from his efforts to write poetry.
One day when I was twenty-five years old, I looked down and realized that I could write a sentence. Let's try one of those classic good-bye lines, "I don't think we should see so much of each other any more because I think we're getting a little too serious," which really meant that I wrote my first novel Trout Fishing in America and followed it with three other novels.
— Richard Brautigan. "Old Lady." The San Francisco Poets. Ed. David Meltzer. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971. 293-294.
Use the links below to access information and resources for each of Brautigan's ten novels.
The God of the Martians
Sometime between December 1955 and February 1956, Brautigan sent D. Vincent Smith, editor of the literary magazine Olivant
, a manuscript for a novel titled The God of the Martians
. Smith never published the manuscript.
On the recommendation of Smith, Brautigan, on 27 August 1956, sent the 600-word, 20 chapter manuscript to Harry Hooton (1908-1961), a Sydney, Australia poet, for possible publication in Hooton's magazine 21st Century: The Magazine of a Creative Civilization
, which began publication in September 1955. The second issue was published two years later. The accompanying letter from Brautigan noted his return address as "General Delivery," San Francisco, California.
The manuscript, written apparently May-June 1956, was very similar to other novels written by Brautigan during this time: very short chapters often containing only a few words. Here is a sample:
My name is Edward Lincoln.
My father chose my name. My mother wanted to name me Jesse, but my father
thought Jesse was a name for a homosexual.
My mother was white.
My father was a negro.
The day they were married my father's mother blew her head off with a
My mother's mother only had a nervous breakdown.
Hooton never published the manuscript. Following Hooten's death the manscript remained with Hooten's papers which were eventually purchased by another Australian publisher, ETT Imprints.
, Brautigan's daughter, referred to the manuscript in interviews regarding her own book, You Can't Catch Death
In November 2009, ETT Imprints revealed plans to publish a limited edition of The God of the Martians
with drawings by Reg Mombassa.
ETT Imprints website
Information about Harry Hooten and other Australasian poets at the "Radical Tradition: An Australasian History Page"