25 April 2013

Book Chat 25.4.2013 {The Strangest Book You've Read}

This one was easy!

In Watermelon Sugar

It's easily the oddest book I've ever read. It's also very intriguing and it has a complex simplicity...or perhaps a simple complexity.  I've read it several times; each time experiencing something I hadn't noticed, or hadn't noticed very much before.I think you have to read it at least twice because the you can't possibly wrap your brain around the whole story the first time! It seems to be a book (and author) that people either love or hate.  From what I've read of Brautigan's other works, odd is his M.O. 

It's a very difficult book to summarize so here's the first chapter (don't worry, it's short):

IN WATERMELON SUGAR the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar. I'll, tell you about it because I am here and you are distant.
       Wherever you are, we must do the best we can. It is so far to travel, and we have nothing here to travel, except watermelon sugar. I hope this works out.
       I live in a shack near iDEATH. I can see iDEATH out the window. It is beautiful. I can also see it with my eyes closed and touch it. Right now it is cold and turns like something in the hand of a child. I do not know what that thing could be.
       There is a delicate balance in iDEATH. It suits us.
       The shack is small but pleasing and comfortable as my life and made from pine, watermelon sugar and stones as just about everything here is.
Our lives' we have carefully constructed from watermelon sugar and then travelled to the length of our dreams, along roads lined with pines and stones.
       I have a bed, a chair, a table and a large chest that I keep my things in. I have a lantern that burns watermelontrout oil at night.
       That is something else. I'll tell you about it later. I have a gentle life.
       I go to the window and look out again. The sun is shining at the long edge of a cloud. It is Tuesday and the sun is golden.
       I can see piney woods and the rivers that flow from those piney woods. The rivers are cold and clear and there are trout in the rivers.
       Some of the rivers are only a few inches wide.
       I know a river that is half-an-inch wide. I know because I measured it and sat beside it for a whole day. It started raining in the middle of the afternoon. We call everything a river here. We're that kind of people.
       I can see fields of watermelons and the rivers that flow through them. There are many bridges in the piney woods and in the fields of watermelons. There is a bridge in front of this shack.
       Some of the bridges' are made of wood, old and stained silver like rain, and some of the bridges are made of stone gathered from a great distance and built in the order of that distance, and some of the bridges are made of watermelon sugar. I like those bridges best.
       We make a great many things out of watermelon sugar here—I'll tell you about it—including this book being written near iDEATH.
       All this will be gone into, travelled in watermelon sugar.
You can actually read the entire book via this link (like the first chapter, the book isn't very long).

Give it a shot. Give it two shots.  Maybe you'll love it and maybe you'll hate it. It won't take you long either way and even if you hate it you can still tell people about strangest book you've ever read!

For more {strangest book} posts visit Jessica at Sweet Green Tangerine


  1. I love those kind of books that people either love or hate. This sounds interesting.

  2. Interesting.

    I read Still Holding recently, and it in itself wasn't that odd, but I just wasn't expecting it to be like it was...