Background (English)

The following article is published with friendly permission of  Hans-Peter Kraus. Visit his Website to learn more about this wonderful poet .

I … found this frothy fiction to be a waste of time to read, a waste of money to pay for, and a waste of space on the library shelf.

Joseph W. Sprug in: Catholic Library World, April 72, p.474-77

The opinions about »The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966« are somewhat different. In the 70’s that happens quite often to Richard Brautigan’s books. Perhaps you form completely uninfluenced your own opinion about this marvelous book.;-)


Besides having an incredibly delicate face, beautiful, with long black hair that hung about her shoulders like bat lightning, there was something very unusual about her …

»This is my book,« she said.

»What’s it about?« I said, holding the book in my hand, feeling almost a hatred coming from within the book.

»It’s about this,« she said and suddenly, almost hysterically, she unbuttoned her coat and flung it open as if it were a door to some horrible dungeon filled with torture instruments, pain and dynamic confession.

She was wearing a blue sweater and skirt and a pair of black leather boots in the style of this time. She had a fantastically full and developed body under her clothes that would have made the movie stars and beauty queens and showgirls bitterly ooze dead make-up in envy.

She was developed to the most extreme of Western man’s desire in this century for women to look: the large breasts, the tiny waist, the large hips, the long Playboy furniture legs.

She was so beautiful that the advertising people would have made her into a national park if they would have gotten their hands on her.

Then her blue eyes swirled like a tide pool and she started crying.

»This book is about my body,« she said. »I hate it. It’s too big for me. It’s somebody else’s body. It’s not mine.«

I reached in my pocket and took out a handkerchief and a candy bar. When people are troubled or worried, I always tell them it will be all right and give them a candy bar. It surprises them and it’s good for them.

»Everything’s going to be all right,« I said.
I gave her a Milky Way. She held it in her startled hand, staring at it.

Richard Brautigan, The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966, p. 42-44

After you could form completely uninfluenced your opinion about this book, I can tell you that Richard Brautigan in this book succeeds in connecting a marvelous love story with the topic abortion. That sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? But with Richard Brautigan there a lot of things which are unbelievable, e.g. he invents the Internet in this book.

The Library

We don’t use Dewey decimal classification or any index system to keep track of our books. We record their entrance into the library in the Library Contents Ledger and then we give the book back to its author who is free to place it anywhere he wants in the library, on whatever shelf catches his fancy.

It doesn’t make any difference where a book is placed because nobody ever checks them out and nobody ever comes to read them. This is not that kind of library. This is another kind of library.

Richard Brautigan, The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966, p. 20

When the people of the ARPA research project begin to create the bases for Internet in the 60’s they have such strange ideas as the use of the network for communication in a military emergency or in times of peace the possibility of a fast exchange of research results (history of the internet).

Richard Brautigan imagines in »The Abortion« a library to which everyone can bring everything he considers readable. This is recorded in a central catalog and then the writing submerges unread in an enormous fundus. Who is closer to?

By the way there is in fact an Internet page, which refers explicitly to Richard Brautigan’s library: Brautigan Virtual Library. So much for the Internet, let’s go to the movies …

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