Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942 (1977)

by Richard Brautigan

Writing with his characteristic short chapters and peculiar humor, Richard Brautigan parodied detective novels in Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942. None-too-bright private eye C. Card is so down-and-out he doesn’t even have enough money to buy bullets for the gun his first client in months asked him to bring to their meeting. Much of his incompetence results from tending to daydream about an imaginary Babylon where he is a hero assisted by an adoring beautiful woman.

Turns out the client, a rich, beautiful blonde, wants Card to steal a body from the morgue. Aided by a pal who works at the morgue, Card actually manages the heist, but the client is apprehended by police before Card delivers the body. He ends the day no richer for his efforts, unsure about what happened, and needing to dispose of a corpse in his refrigerator.

Dreaming of Babylon could be just escapist fun except that Brautigan subtly makes you feel for the goofball Card. How does a dreamer survive?


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