‘Revenge Of The Lawn’ by Richard Brautigan

Brautigan, Richard 1971

Revenge Of The Lawn by Richard Brautigan, 1971

The magic trick:

Shift in tones with no warning and then an abrupt ending

Nothing about this story is normal. The tone of writing melts one into the next, from laugh-out-loud funny to incredibly dark. You’re never quite sure what you’re supposed to feel, let alone what emotion is lurking on the next page. And then it ends. It is one of the most abrupt endings to a story I’ve read. But it fits the mood that has been established. This family’s history is all over the map, that much is clear. There are no convenient endings or neat resolutions. And that’s quite a trick on Brautigan’s part.

The selection:

The bees somewhere along the line had picked up the habit of stinging Jack two or three times a year. They would sting him in the most ingenious ways.

Once a bee got in his wallet and he went down to the store to buy some food for dinner, not knowing the mischief that he carried in his pocket.

He took out his wallet to pay for the food.

“That will be 72 cents,” the grocer said.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Jack replied, looking down to see a bee busy stinging him on the little finger.

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