I for one, actually appreciate the incredible attention to details that Mr. Hjortsburg included in his book. He describes not only the daily life of one of my favorite authors, a confounding personality that created stories unlike any other I've ever read, but what was happening in the world around Richard Brautigan at different stages of his life. It transcends biography and enters a broader subject of American counter culture history. If that doesn't interest the reader, than yes, this might seem like an exercise in excess. But if someone should find themselves with such a broad understanding of not just a life, but the world that life was living in, shouldn't they paint the whole picture for us?
I think the writing is terrific, ripe with metaphor and creative seasoning that make this biography lively and meaningful. I have read many others that are comprised of mundane facts stacked one on top of the last until the ultimate demise of it's subject. To start out with the ugly, and incredibly sad suicide of Brautigan is an instant shock, the ice water in our faces that immediately gets attention and sets the stage for the rest of the book. Although most books I read cut out before the 500 page mark, I'm not intimidated by the 750 pages William Hjortsborg has put fourth here. Everything is in there. It's not comprised of fluff and filler. There is a broader story being told. (I'm not sure where the additional 150 pages are that the critic for the Library Journal mentioned. I'll have to bring it to the attention of the library I'm borrowing a copy from so they can go look for it...) If you can't commit to the 750 pages, you can go ahead and look up Richard Brautigan's wikipedia page. I however will be taking it down to the last word.
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