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You Can't Catch Death


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About the Author

Ianthe Brautigan was born in 1959 and was 25 years old when her father Richard Brautigan committed suicide. She lives in America with her husband and children. This is her first published book.


Richard Brautigan (1937-1984) made a big splash with Trout Fishing in America (1967), whose unbuttoned prose found a ready-made audience in the burgeoning counterculture. Brautigan completed 11 more books of fiction and nine of poetry before he took his own life; he is now remembered as a campus favorite, and a notorious drinker. His daughter Ianthe aims to supplant that portrait with a more complex and tender view; her raw, affecting and largely admiring memoir recalls "R.B." as a father and as a writer. Rather than follow his life, or her own, from the late '60s to the early '80s, Ianthe breaks her book up into short sectionsÄsome narrative, some meditative, some impressionisticÄin a manner mildly reminiscent of Trout Fishing itself. In one three-page segment, the adult Ianthe tells her own daughter about Richard's suicide. In the next two pages, Ianthe recalls the bike she got for her ninth birthday. The piece after that (one paragraph) is purely lyrical: "Sometimes the love I have for my father overtakes my whole being... " (A series of single paragraphs, scattered throughout, describe Ianthe's dreams.) The elder Brautigan comes off as energetic, affectionate, playful, outrageous and needyÄincreasingly so as the '70s wore on. His death and Ianthe's progressive reactions to it dominate much of the book. Ianthe's memoir creates a vivid sense of her continuing loss and shows how she has come to terms with it. Her work should please "R.B."'s still-ardent fans, who will seek (and find) facts about a father, and leave with a new, moving knowledge of his daughter. Author tour. (June) FYI: Ianthe's memoir appears at the same time as her father's newly published novella, An Unfortunate Woman, a forgotten manuscript she discovered (see review in this issue's Fiction Forecasts). Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

The author recalls her late father, whose last novel is also in Prepub Alert (p. 62). Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

* poignant and restrained...Brautigan's portrait of her father is as warm as it is unflinching, as generous as it is honest. It is also the story of one woman's journey towards forgiveness, not only of the father who abandoned her, but also of herself, for having 'failed' in some way to save him. Sunday Herald * touching ... wonderfully distilled. London Review of Books * What emerges is a frank and compelling narrative of great integrity which details fascinatingly the minutiae of her father's life...There is absolutely no self-indulgence in You Can't Catch Death, only a desire to lay Richard Brautigan's ghost to rest with dignity The Herald

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