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Willard And His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery
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Willard And His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,744 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
The story takes place in San Francisco, California in the early 1970s. The title character is a papier mache bird that shares the front room of a San Francisco apartment with a collection of bowling trophies that some time earlier were stolen from the home of the Logan brothers. The human tenants of this apartment are John and Pat, who have just returned from seeing a Gret ...more
Published by Simon & Schuster (first published 1975)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This is short, easy to read, entertaining and presents a different style of writing. The characters look comical, the plot is sparse but imaginative. Was this easy to write? I don't know. But why was this not easy to put down once I started reading it? For two reasons I think: first, I was eager to find out what the point was, thinking maybe there'll be a really surprising denouement in the end; and second, there was a consistent feeling of accomplishment as almost all chapters one can finish re ...more
Vit Babenco
Jul 01, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Willard was a papier-mâché bird about three feet tall with long black legs and a partially black body covered with a strange red, white and blue design like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and Willard had an exotic beak like a stork. His bowling trophies were of course stolen.”
The novel has a subtitle – A Perverse Mystery – and this at once catches a zeitgeist of the era it was written in and tells about. All that happens boasts a highest degree of absurdity and all the heroes are antiheroes.
Ben Loory
most brautigan books are about 70% funny/joyous, and 30% heartbreakingly sad. this one flips that around to 80% heartbreakingly sad and 20% life-is-utterly-absurd. it's still fun (somehow??) and energetic and totally out of its mind but still bizarrely coherent, and the metaphors are still amazing, but man... it's tough going sometimes.

"It always happened this way: After he came his penis would slowly soften inside of her and their bodies would be very quiet together like two haunted houses star
Jan 22, 2016 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Selection of Quotes:

"'The dice of Love are madnesses and melees.'"

"No beards."


"They were hollow points. They would tear a nice hole in you and provide you with enough death to last forever."

"Willard of course always stayed the same: a papier-mâché bird surrounded by his bowling trophies."
Jan 12, 2009 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Brautigan is a secret of American skill. Reading Willard and his Bowling Trophies, a one-hundred page nothing of sarcastic analysis of the American sex-life, I can only wonder why I'm not studying Brautigan alongsides the likes of Vonnegut and O'Brien; his style of characteristic half-truths intercepted by implausible irony and sprinkled with absurd humor reminds one and often blows away previous works of satiric beauty.

Though without the maddening meta-writing, mind-blowingly good self-
Sergio  Mori
May 26, 2014 Sergio Mori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. After a shaky S&M beginning, where I wasn’t sure I was reading the correct book, I totally fell for it. Actually the failed bondage episodes are probably my favourite: they are sad, embarrassing and almost adorable. One thing is sure: they are anything but erotic. I totally fell in love with the older couple. Poor woman, that scene where she asks for a glass of water and gets a peanut butter sandwich instead probably sums up the state of their relationship pretty well. ...more
Jun 03, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20th-century
Τον Δεκέμβριο του 2013 διάβασα για πρώτη φορά Μπρότιγκαν, συγκεκριμένα το παράξενο και θεόμουρλο γοτθικό γουέστερν φαντασίας "Το τέρας των Χώκλιν", το οποίο απόλαυσα για την κουφή ιστορία του και την απίθανη γραφή του. Η μικρή νουβέλα που μόλις τελείωσα, αν και χωρίς ίχνος φανταστικού, μου φάνηκε εξίσου παράξενη, θεόμουρλη και απολαυστική.

Όσον αφορά την πλοκή, από την μια έχουμε τον Μπομπ και την Κόστανς, που, ελέω κονδυλωμάτων, παίζουν το παιχνίδι της "Ιστορίας της Ο", προσπαθώντας να ξεπεράσου
Jul 01, 2015 Chrisl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, wash-ida, 1960s
My token Brautigan. He was one of those marginal demand authors that I sometimes bought for the library. Unique stories, short and not memorable. (These 3- star stories I'm leaving in the collection likely have a nostalgia component or are possible rereads. My own bowling trophies long since gone to the landfill with one token exception.)
Eric T. Voigt Voigt
I didn't finish a book all Spring. Richard Brautigan is the only thing I can deal with. He's hilarious and kooky. Exciting. Nuts. Have I talked about how I stayed away from his work intentionally for petty reasons? I think that wound up being a really good thing. I'm ready for Brautigan. It is the time for Brautigan to reach me. Shout outs to Kaity Jane who beat me to the punch, starting and finishing the book while I was still reading. Who saw that coming? Quotes! from pages 72 and 147 respecti ...more
Feb 28, 2009 Caris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Willard is chilling with his bowling trophies, doing all the cool things a paper mache bird does.

Bob has lost his mind because of the venereal disease Constance gave him after cheating on him with a lawyer. He is very careful not to pass the disease back to her because he loves her so much and can't stand the idea, but he can't remember why he is standing in front of the refrigerator.

John and Pat live below Bob and Constance, stole their apartment number, and eat turkey sandwiches in bed. Pat pr
Rebecca McNutt
This strange retro-type novel is something like Eating Raoul plus The Ice Storm. Comical at times, surreal and sad at others, Willard and his Bowling Trophies is original and different and very weird.
My first Brautigan.

The tale delighted, reading like a children's bedtime story with adult words... Then in one, single, lone, last page, I found myself horrified, distraught, and wounded. As I flipped through the closing blank pages in my copy with disbelief, my guilt nagged me because I allowed myself to read it like it was simply a story, without fully appreciating the literary flesh and blood of Bob and Constance. I still feel (though of course this was hardly the case) that I was the cause
Miguel Jiménez
Esta novela se lee con una facilidad y fascinación por lo relatado, en donde llegaba a pensar: "Es genial que exista este tipo de historia".

Es asombroso la parodia y el absurdo que se utiliza en los diálogos de los personajes, aunado a la inventiva y originalidad de los personajes y situaciones que, sin embargo, se esconden en la más común cotidianidad. ¿Huelga decir que es el tipo de novela con historias independientes?

Este estilo de Richard Brautigan lo vi más acentuado en El monstruo de Hawk
Nelson Maddaloni
One of the more humorous novels I've read of late. I am a fan of Richard Brautigan's work, but this one tickled me a bit more than some of his earlier work, although I enjoyed "Trout Fishing in America" quite a bit. This novel was rather playful, as is the rest of his work, and is only a "mystery" in title, but I suppose that's the point. Definitely a postmodern novel and will not make a lot of sense to many readers but it's delightful all the same. It's not really supposed to make a lot of sens ...more
Jul 29, 2007 R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1974-2002
I copied off this entire book on the public copy machine at Safeway (its out of print) for a girl who was (is) into the Brautigan ouevre. Don't get me wrong. The book, itself, is not an ode to romance or soft emotions. It's got a ridiculous plot and takes dead aim at a relationship that has become nothing more than a deviant, disease-riddled sex game.
Dec 16, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Dude
Made me realize there's something that divides depressing books into two groups. Either they are sad because they are about sad things (and are kind of comforting) or because the author himself was so entirely sad while writing the book that his sadness invaded even the smallest, most inconsequential particle and spread throughout. Secondary viremia.
Short read but lots of fun, the book could even have been longer. Most of the story deals with the lead up to a crime, which is the result of the theft of the bowling trophies. Enter the Logan brothers, all american boys who seem to spiral out of control, they seem like a comic trio of criminals. Worth the few hours it takes to read.
Feb 29, 2016 Cessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Tanrım, bu adamın hepimizle dalga geçmek için yazdığını düşünüyorum ama eğer Richard Brautigan iseniz, çok da kızamıyor insan.
I had such a hard time finding a copy of this slim volume. I finally tracked it down and borrowed it from the University of Canterbury, who had acquired it from a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies for its American Studies Programme. Presumably it is highly regarded as an example of American fiction. I found it amusing, but slight, really, both in size and intent. It was, on reflection, an enjoyable read. The language is simple, almost Hemingwayesque, some of the chapters are o ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only Richard Brautigan could get me to read gag-inducing paragraphs of awkward sexual moments and detailed descriptions of genital warts.
Nick Craske
Quirky succint novella rich with philosophical and existential themes. Both sad and funny. Yep.
I can't remember what made me buy this book from and read it. I'd been searching through the 1001 books list and decided this was the next one. Halfway through I thought - what the heck am I reading?

Then I decided to look up the author. It's funny, but when you read background on an author it sometimes helps you understand where an odd book is coming from.

The ending of this book is just so, well, fateful. Fate, karma, how little actions you do can sometimes come back to bite you in a bi
Bülent Özgün
Mar 19, 2016 Bülent Özgün rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Çok eğlenceli bir kitap. Parçalı bir anlatım tercih edildiği için hızla okunuyor. Yazarın ilginç tasvirleri okuma keyfini arttırıyor. Biraz deneysel ve absürt olması nedeniyle geleneksel okuyucunun hoşuna gitmeyebilir ama kesinlikle çok eğlenceli. Çeviri de iyi.

Birkaç alıntı:

İşemesi biteli çok uzun zaman geçmişti, ama hala klozetin önünde dikilmiş, penisine bakıyordu. Sonra, sanki ölü bir ahtapot kolunu külotunun içine kıvırır gibi, onu pantolonunun içine geri sokup sifonu çekti. (s. 21)

Kadın, s
Jul 29, 2014 Eric rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Willard and His Bowling Trophies is most definitely perverse but far from a mystery (except why it is on the list of 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die). I believe this is one of the more useless and meaningless books I have ever read. I am forced by Goodreads to give it one star. It easily qualifies for zero stars. The 1,001 reviewer writes that Willard leaves the reader breathless, mesmerized, and laughing. I was disgusted, perplexed, and dazed. The sole saving grace was that it was a short no ...more
Sep 03, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
Strangers would come into the room and say, "My God, what's that?" pointing at Willard and his bowling trophies.

"That's Willard and his bowling trophies," was always the reply.

"Willard and his what?"

"Bowling trophies."

"You mean bowling trophies?"

"Yeah, bowling trophies."

"What's he doing with them?"

"Why not?"

Constance and Bob live upstairs. Bob likes reading ancient Greek poetry and while reenacting scenes from The Story of O with Constance. Pat and John live downstairs. They live with Willard, a
Mar 04, 2016 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me of a Coen Brothers movie. Very bizarre and perverse as the title implies. The story is about two couples and three brothers. One couple has a very perverse sex life - participating in sadomasochistic fantasies because genital warts have prevented them from a once normal sex life. The other couple has a healthy relationship and in their apartment (which is downstairs from the first couple) is the titular Willard, a papier-mâché bird, and his bowling trophies. These trophies ...more
Jonathan Ball
Jun 05, 2011 Jonathan Ball rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really fizzles near the end, as does Brautigan’s The Hawkline Monster. But because it’s Brautigan, the books is full of intelligence, wit, and great writing. Brautigan is the master of simple, stunning, clever sentences that seem to lie flat but upon closer inspection are full of sadness and satire:

The Logan brothers had a good life because they were doing exactly what they wanted to do and they had their bowling trophies to show how good they were at their life. (51)

Where Brautigan sh
May 14, 2016 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another hilarious, off-beat "mystery," featuring two unusual couples, a gang of former championship bowling brothers in a frantic yet aimless search for their stolen trophies, and a papier mache bird named Willard. I often wonder if the Coen Brothers read Brautigan as they grew up. Strangely enough, Brautigan creates enough zany suspense that the reader doesn't want to put the book down; there's no predicting what's going to happen when all the characters finally meet up with each other.
Michael Palkowski
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John G.
Nov 02, 2014 John G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first experience with Brautigan, found it via a book lover's club exchange. I've never read anything else quite like it. Sad, scary, disturbing and darkly comic.
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Richard Brautigan was a 20th century American writer. His novels and stories often have to do with black comedy, parody, satire, and Zen Buddhism. He is probably best known for his novel Trout Fishing in America. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1984.

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