In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan

In Watermelon Sugar is a bonkers tale of life in watermelon sugar. Our narrator has no name, though other characters do. He tells us about life in watermelon sugar, hanging out and working at iDEATH. What is iDEATH? I really have no idea. Having said that, I did enjoy reading In Watermelon Sugar, even if I didn’t have much of a clue what the point of it was.

From the back of the book:

iDEATH is a place where the sun shines a different colour every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of the counterculture generation.


There’s a whole story about iNBOIL and his bunch of baduns who have rejected life at iDEATH. They live near the Forgotten Works. Also, the sun shines a different colour every day and this causes different types of watermelons to grow. Also everything seems to be made from these watermelons. As I said, it’s totally bonkers. Oh, and there used to be tigers roaming around, but they died. They used to talk to people.

Our narrator was brought up at iDEATH because his parents were eaten by the tigers:

After about an hour or so the tigers came outside and stretched and yawned.

‘It’s a nice day,’ one of the tigers said.

‘Yeah,’ the other tiger said. ‘Beautiful.’

‘We’re awfully sorry we had to kill your parents and eat them. Please try to understand. We tigers are not evil. This is just a thing we have to do.’

‘All right,’ I said. ‘And thanks for helping me with my arithmetic.’

‘Think nothing of it.’

The tigers left.



I wanted to read In Watermelon Sugar for two reasons. Firstly, the Bookshambles podcast went on about it – this is the source of many book recommendations for me, and hasn’t failed yet (hello? Hope In The Dark by Rebecca Solnit, and I have the first of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels is sat waiting to be read).


Secondly, Brautigan pops up in The Lovely Eggs song Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordian? No, I don’t think I have yet, but I HAVE now read some Richard Brautigan. Yes!


To sum up. Bonkers and iconic. Worth a read.

7 thoughts on “In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan

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