I never came across Richard Brautigan when he was 'in'. Too busy learning English, having kids. I suppose he reads differently in 2012 because by now the understated way he writes his pain, the subtly surreal, his sense of humor, and the way he expresses tenderness must have informed a whole generation of writers and poets and perhaps no longer seems quite as revolutionary as his writing undoubtedly is - even today. What sets him apart from others is his total disregard for what 'may be expected of him'. I found no vanity, no unmanageable ego, no experiences passed on from the loftier point of view of the writer, just open wounds, innocence, gentle irony, and almost painful honesty.
I read a re-issued three-in-one: REVENGE OF THE LAWN, THE ABORTION, and SO THE WIND WON'T BLOW IT ALL AWAY.
I was blown away by his short stories; in his novel-length works some of his more forced metaphors made me cringe at times. Was impressed by his daring, by the rawness of his style. If you read Brautigan now, read him in the context of his time but even today he doesn't fit into any category, cannot be labeled.
He is also tremendous fun!
Now I have started to discover Brautigan, I must read what seems to be the 'classic' everyone remembers: TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA. But it can't be better than SO THE WIND WON'T BLOW IT ALL AWAY