The story is two surreal stories in one.
The title story concerns a sombrero falling into town from the clear sky and how this minor event sparks a major riot which finally has to be put down by the military. The whole townsfolk takes leave of its senses. The sombrero keeps its cool; but only just.
The interwoven story is of a heartbroken American writer's love for a long haired Japanese woman who sleeps with a cat. Is love a form of insanity? That is the question.
The TLS blurb describes Sombrero Fallout as "playful and serious, hilarious and melancholy, profound and absurd..." so that saves me having to think of those words. I'd just like to add that it's delightful and entertaining.
Richard Brautigan dedicates Sombrero Fallout to Junichiro Tanizaki who wrote The Key and Diary of a Mad Old Man.
In his introduction to Sombrero Fallout Kevin Williamson refers to a BrautiganWorld where nothing is as it seems, where anything can happen, and nearly always does.
Williamson goes on: "Poetry had been boxed into a corner, had got lost in the fog, and was later found dead beside a bottle of Tennessee whiskey and a .44 calibre gun. Shot between the eyes."
Richard Brautigam lived from 1935 to 1984. He had nine volumes of poetry published. His last novel So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away appeared in 1982.