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Laura Shapiro's review of Sombrero Fallout
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Books in Brief: Atwood, Brautigan and Reunions

by Laura Shapiro?

It's hard to put down a Brautigan book, although you might just as well. The easy rhythm of his semantics, the gentle surprises in the imagery bounce like a Scott Joplin? rag; every new change in the syncopation pushes you on for a few more sentences.

The pleasure of reading him is much more physical than it is mental; indeed, if you tend to get bored after the first few tricks by a trained typewriter, the pleasure isn't mental at all. Much of Brautigan's wit would disintegrate if he put his sentences together into paragraphs, instead of arranging them one by one on their own for maximum ironic impact.

Sombrero Fallout has its addictive qualities - suspense is not one of them, but the agreeable pressure of mild curiosity nudges us along. How can a cold sombrero cause a national disaster? How can a sleeping woman cause a man so much torment? The slow build-up is very pleasant, but the book's bloody climax arrives a bit rudely - too garish and outrageous for the simple energies preceding it.

All the same, Brautigan's agile sensibility looks more useful and comfortable with every passing year.


Mother Jones, 1(9)
December 1976: 62-63

Note: The above is an excerpt from a longer article which includes reviews of Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, Sombrero Fallout by Richard Brautigan, The Doctor's Wife by Brian Moore & The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality by Shere Hite.

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