Richard Brautigan was an American author of ten novels, nine volumes of poetry, and a collection of short stories. He was born on January 30, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington. His father left home before he was born, and his childhood was apparently a troubled one marked by poverty. He did not attend college. At some point in the mid-1950s, he left home for San Francisco, where he became involved in the Beat scene. Although Brautigan, whose work largely defies classification, is not properly considered a Beat writer, he shared the Beats’ aversion to middle class values, commercialism, and conformity. It wasn’t until the publication of Trout Fishing in America (1967), which many consider his best novel, that Brautigan caught the public’s attention and was transformed into a cult hero. By 1970,Trout Fishing in America had become the namesake of a commune, a free school, and an underground newspaper. In 1972, Brautigan withdrew from the public eye and went to live on in a small home in Bolinas, California. In the eight years that followed, he only rarely accepted invitations to lecture and consistently declined to be interviewed. In 1976, he made his first trip to Japan, where he lived off-and-on until his death. During the year of 1982, Brautigan taught at Montana State University in Bozeman. He then withdrew again. In October of 1984, his body was discovered at his home; he had shot himself in the head some four or five weeks earlier.