C. Card (Dreaming of Babylon)

Created by Richard Brautigan

dreaming_of_babylonPoet, novelist, short-story writer and counter-culture cult-fave/sixties relic Richard Brautigan, best known for his 1967 novel Trout Fishing in America, wrote ahippy/ trippy private eye spoof called Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942, featuring San francisco P.I. C. CARD.

C. Card is a San Francisco dick is so far down and out he’s reduced to working out of a phone booth and hustling pornography to tourists. About the only thing he has going for him is his constant daydreams of living in Babylon, where beautiful women ply him with waffles and sensual massages.

Honest! Would I make this up?

The line on this one is that it’s a parody, although I’m not altogether convinced — a sentiment that more than a few people share. After all, if you have to work so hard to convince people something’s a joke (check out that run-on title), maybe it’s not that funny, after all.

Baker and Nietzel, in their excellent One Hundred and One Knights, wrote “Dreaming of Babylon carries the sub-title ‘A Private Eye Novel 1942’. Brautigan has shown a strong affection for subtitling his parodies, perhaps out of fear that otherwise his readers won’t get the joke. In the case of Dreaming of Babylon, this fear is not entirely misplaced, for the book is as weak an effort from a major writer as one is likely to encounter. As parody, as humour, as any statement, the book fails…Brautigan must have had an off day when he wrote it. We certainly had one when we read it. We should have gone trout fishing instead.” And P.I. writer and fan Dick Lochte cuts right to the chase, calling the book “… largely disappointing” on Rara-Avis in December 2001.


  • Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942 (1977) | Buy this book


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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