Choice review of Sombrero Fallout
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Richard Brautigan | Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel

Brautigan is a sort of last gasp of the Beat Generation? who has managed to adapt himself to changing literary tastes and pose as one of the masked men of experimental writing. His virtues are a poetic imagination that is often sheerly stunning in its casual connections, and a whimsical offhandedness in dealing with heartache that is, quite probably, distinctively Californian. His latest novel: a "surface" novelistic predicament, involving a lovelorn humor writer without a sense of humor, gives birth to a subplot involving a large-scale explosion of violence in a small American town; reading the second plot as outcome of the first provides a sort of critical rationale. The heroine of this "Japanese novel" (it is being simultaneously published in Japan, for reasons not likely exceeding the superficial) is the writer's former lover, and she sleeps her way through this short fiction like one of Kawabata's sleeping beauties. Easy and enjoyable reading.

January 1977: 1433

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