The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 – Richard Brautigan (1971)


The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 is a novel by Richard Brautigan first published in 1971 by Simon & Schuster. In subsequent printings the title is often shortened to simply The Abortion. The Abortion is a genre novel parody concerning the librarian of a very unusual California library which accepts books in any form and from anyone who wishes to drop one off at the library—children submit tales told in crayon about their toys; teenagers tell tales of angst and old people drop by with their memoirs—described as “the unwanted, the lyrical and haunted volumes of American writing” in the novel. Summoned by a silver bell at all hours, submissions are catalogued at the librarian’s discretion; not by the Dewey Decimal system, but by placement on whichever magically dust-free shelf would, in the author’s judgment, serve best as the book’s home. One day a woman named Vida appears at the library’s door. Although shy and awkward she is described as the most beautiful woman in the world, who American admen ‘would have made into a national park if they would have gotten their hands on her.’ Vida falls in love with the reclusive librarian and soon becomes pregnant, necessitating a trip to Tijuana, Mexico to secure an abortion. … The Brautigan Library. In an homage to Richard Brautigan, The Abortion’s concept was put into practice in the form of the Brautigan Library. Housed in a section of the larger Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont, the library accepts only unpublished manuscripts and had a catalogue of 325 works as of 2004. According to the News from the Fletcher Free Library, there were once plans to move the Brautigan Library to the San Francisco Public Library. However, according to the Brautigan Library’s website, the contents of the Library were moved to and put permanently on display at the Clark County Historical Museum (a Carnegie Library building like the San Francisco Library) in 2010. …”
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