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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 1. 28 February 1972

About Writing a Review About the Abortion : An Historical Romance (1996)

About Writing a Review About the Abortion : An Historical Romance (1996)

(Soon available here.: Various (ludicrous) titles by this author already available)

I walked into the Salient office the other day to see if there wen any good books to review. "Just a load of junk" said the editor so I had a look. There was a charming book on the best of bicycling and there was a glossy book on bow to live in the wilds. There was this Richard Brautigan novel too. Which looked like junk to the editor, who had never heard of Brautigan, which is not too surprising. He was an English literature student.

Now I had heard of Brautigan, being a student of Time magazine Time raves about him. So does Playboy. Enough said? No we can't write him off because of his official back-patters. The jacket informs us that he is a cult hero, and 'literary magus to the literate young', whoever they may be.

So I set out to do this review. For a while I stayed unbiassed, com posed a review in my head without reading the book. After all, so few of the 'spokesmen of the Age of Aquarius, (that's what he's called!) are actually read. One busy day down at the wharves, however, a day I even had to stay awake, I put my prejudices to the test indulged in, and probably polluted myself with a bookful of Americana in the form of a novel. Quaint librarian meets bunny-type girl. They sleep together. She gets pregnant. They have an abortion. Boy loses job. Together, they start a new life. End of book. And that's what the book is-a sickly amusement for that sprawl of clapped out liberals written by a 36 year old adolescent. I can imagine all the token hippie parents being gently scandalised by this mindless mixture of playboy sex and playboy abortion where body sweat is sticky toffee on a rotten apple. The book is very digestible, actually, only a few years ahead of the Readers! Digest The experience is about as sensuous and as valuable as an evening watching TV from a lukewarm bath while eating popcorn.

The prose Itself is. drivel or schmaltz. From bad — "The girl was nice in the leg department but a little short in the titty line or was I spoiled. They departed the table without leaving a tip. "-to verse "I have been sitting at this desk for hours, staring into the darkened shelves of books." (Not too bad, but wait..) "I love their presence, the way they honour the wood they rest upon."

I finished the book, and admit that there was a scintilla of truth in the blurb "these books are fun to read". It may also be true that he it "one of the most authentic spokesmen for the Age of Aquarius (whatever they may be). But this can be no credit to hit disciples discernment or to their morality. Do you want to laugh along with a wizened hippie with an acid-eaten mind at be grins at the paunchy face of middle America and waves a tissue paper flag of black, red, or irrelevant polka dots?

R.W. Steele

Legal Referral Service Student Union Boardroom 12-2pm Mon. Wed. Friday.

a Phallicy?