Trout Fishing in America
|Cover artist||Erik Weber|
|Genre||Novella, Prose poem|
|Publisher||Four Seasons Foundation|
|October 12, 1967|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-385-28860-3 (hardback edition) & ISBN 0-395-50076-1 (paperback edition)|
|Preceded by||A Confederate General From Big Sur|
|Followed by||In Watermelon Sugar|
Trout Fishing in America is a novella written by Richard Brautigan and published in 1967. It is technically Brautigan's first novel; he wrote it in 1961 before A Confederate General From Big Sur which was published first.
Trout Fishing In America is an abstract book without a clear central storyline. Instead, the book contains a series of anecdotes broken into chapters, with the same characters often reappearing from story to story. The settings of most of the chapters occur in three locales: Brautigan's childhood in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.; his day-to-day adult life in San Francisco; and a camping trip in Idaho with his wife and infant daughter during the summer of 1961. Most of the chapters were written during this trip.
The phrase "Trout Fishing in America" is used in various ways: it is the title of the book, a character, a hotel, the act of fishing itself, a modifier (one character is named "Trout Fishing in America Shorty"), etc. Brautigan uses the theme of trout fishing as a point of departure for thinly veiled and often comical critiques of mainstream American society and culture. Several symbolic objects, such as a mayonnaise jar, a Ben Franklin statue in San Francisco's Washington Square, trout, etc. reappear throughout the book.
The cover of the book is a photograph of Richard Brautigan and a friend identified as Michaela Le Grand, whom he referred to as his "Muse." The photo was taken in San Francisco's Washington Square Park in front of the Benjamin Franklin statue. The first chapter of the book is an extended and fanciful description of this photo.
In March 1994, a teenager named Peter Eastman Jr. from Carpinteria, California legally changed his name to "Trout Fishing in America". He now teaches English in Japan. At around the same time, National Public Radio reported on a young couple who had named their baby "Trout Fishing in America".
Musician Josh Tillman, under the pseudonym Father John Misty, mentions Trout Fishing in America in his song "Tee Pees 1-12" which is found on the album Fear Fun which was released on April 30, 2012. Tillman is a former member of the Seattle-based band the Fleet Foxes.
Musician Shawn Mullins wrote a song called "Twin Rocks, Oregon" on the Live At the Variety Playhouse album, that compares a man he meets on the Oregon Coast to Richard Brautigan and mentions the book Tokyo Montana Express towards the end of the song.
Musician Mike Cooper cites the book as the source of the title for his album "Trout Steel", as well as some of the songs on it.
- The Official Trout Fishing In America Web Site
- Anne Saker (October 11, 2007). "Searching upstream: A writer goes fishing for the man who calls himself Trout Fishing in America". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2007-12-18.