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An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey

Brautigan, Richard

1,585 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0312262434 / ISBN 13: 9780312262433
Published by St. Martin's Press, 2000
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Outrider Book Gallery (Vashon, WA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 110 p. Audience: General/trade. Posthumous publication of a found manuscript. Brautigan always pleases with his brand of surreal humor and insight. Very good in fine dust jacket. Straight and clean. A no-problem book. Signed by Ianthe Brautigan (Daughter of Richard Brautigan). Bookseller Inventory # Alibris.0000180

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Bibliographic Details

Title: An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Completed prior to the author's 1984 suicide, a last unpublished novel explores what he terms the fragile and mysterious shadowland surrounding death and considers the protagonist's ruminations on another person's suicide. By the author of Trout Fishing in America. 50,000 first printing.


In this posthumously released novel, Richard Brautigan's voice--quipping, punning, strewn with non sequiturs--comes like a rattling of chains. Brautigan took his own life in 1984; An Unfortunate Woman was written in the years immediately preceding, and the writer's imminent death haunts the book. It bears the subtitle A Journey, and Brautigan means this quite literally. We follow the first-person narrator in his peregrinations from Montana to San Francisco to New York to Alaska to Honolulu and back to San Francisco, with a detour across the bay to Berkeley--and that's leaving out Canada altogether. Pulling him like a wispy thread throughout is the hanging death of a San Francisco housemate who had cancer. We never learn her story, just that his book's "main theme is an unfortunate woman." She's a constant glancing reference.

Brautigan uses a journal format, with digressions galore, to explore the contingency of his own existence. He tells of loves past, homes past, the kitchens of friends and the beds of strangers. But like the old free-lovin' hippie he is, he never commits to any single story. Of one fellow he meets in Ketchikan: "He is one of those people who in a normal book, unfortunately not this one, would be developed into a memorable character." The author is forever warning you of a digression ahead or a story he'll get back to later. His references to the book in progress read, in this rueful context, not so much as self-indulgent cuteness, but as a kind of sad knowledge of the unkempt ways of his own mind. An Unfortunate Woman will not bring Brautigan many new fans, but devoted readers will find the dark, self-revealing side of a man who felt middle age like a blow to the head. --Claire Dederer

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