No Light on in the House

August Kleinzahler

  • An Unfortunate Woman by Richard Brautigan
    Rebel Inc, 110 pp, £12.00, July 2000, ISBN 1 84195 023 8
  • Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-70 by Richard Brautigan
    Rebel Inc, 146 pp, £6.99, June 2000, ISBN 1 84195 027 0
  • You Can't Catch Death by Ianthe Brautigan
    Rebel Inc, 209 pp, £14.99, July 2000, ISBN 1 84195 025 4

Bolinas is a sleepy little seaside community about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, at the end of a long, windy road over the hills. It isn’t easy to find the turn-off, and over time residents have put up misleading signs or camouflaged helpful ones in order to discourage tourists. For many years a fair number of artists and writers have made Bolinas their home, or one of their homes. One of them was Richard Brautigan. When I gave a reading 16 years ago at the Bolinas Public Library, a couple of Brautigan’s old friends from his North Beach days in the 1960s told me that he had recently turned up in town. I remember hoping that he might come to the reading if he had nothing better to do. But there was little chance of that. Brautigan was lying dead in his Bolinas house, having taken a .44 calibre handgun and shot himself in the head. His body lay there for weeks until finally discovered by friends.

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