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Susan Hill's review of 'The Abortion'
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Americas | The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966

by Susan Hill?

Richard Brautigan is an American campus cult-hero, like Borges, Hesse and Tolkien?, and he can no more help it than they can. Trout Fishing in America was a marvellous, original book. But a third-year Creative Writing student turning in The Abortion as an exercise would do well to rate C minus. The hero works where he lives, in a library - bolt-hole, symbol, storehouse for unpublished books brought in by their authors. (Pale shades of Borges.) His girl Vida (ravishingly beautiful face, Playmate-of-the-Month figure) gets pregnant: they go to Tijuana for an abortion, return to find the librarian's desk usurped, and take off for Berkeley where our hero becomes, he says, A Hero. Very likely. A total absence of good writing, perceptive description or insights into human purpose, though there's plenty of non-philosophy. A charismatic name doesn't make up for lack of literary quality. Being a cult-hero hasn't done Mr Brautigan's work much good.


The Listener
January 15, 1973: 124

Note: The above is an excerpt from a longer article which includes reviews of The Western Coast by Paula Fox, Don't Point that Thing at Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli, Rehearsal by Terence Brady, and The Abortion by Richard Brautigan.


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