Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

In Watermelon Sugar
Richard Brautigan


iDEATH, a commune organized around a central gathering house, is a place where the sun shines a different colour every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. many things are made of watermelon sugar (though the inhabitants also use pine wood and stone for building material and fuel made from trout oil). The landscape of the novel is constantly in flux; each day has a different colored sun which creates different colored watermelons, and the central building also changes frequently. The novel’s narrator, who is left unnamed, claims to be writing an investigative book on his experiences at iDEATH. Its first-person narrative is sparse and minimalist, granting the novel a detached and alien quality. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of the counterculture generation.

Paperback, 160pp
Vintage Classics, 2002 (1968)
ISBN 9780099437598