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The Tokyo-Montana Express

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  840 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Richard Brautigan. The Tokyo-Montana Express. New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1980. First edition, first printing. Octavo. 258 pages.
302 pages
Published 1981 by Christian Bourgois (first published 1980)
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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessFight Club by Chuck PalahniukSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger1984 by George Orwell
Best Experimental Books Ever
383rd out of 877 books — 1,382 voters
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Name of State (USA) Missouri - New York
53rd out of 111 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,335)
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Feb 04, 2016 Pooriya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
گاهی شبها قبل از خواب بهش فکر میکنم اما تنها چیزی که ازش یادم میاد اینه که سگ داشت. تو کافه با هم آشنا شدیم. با هم کمی حرف زدیم چندتا نوشیدنی خوردیم. بعد رفتیم خونهش. توی هال یه دوچرخه بود. نزدیک بود بخورم بهش. درست کنار در بود.
با هم بودیم و یادمه که سگ داشت.
Ben Loory
Nov 29, 2013 Ben Loory rated it liked it
well, that's it, i've read all his books now.

Justin Mitchell
I just don't feel like Brautigan was even trying with this one. I have the same criticism of it that I did of his most famous "novel" (keep reading to discover the significance of the quotations), Trout Fishing in America: this is simply not a novel, but a series of unconnected vignettes. Some of them are good, but most of them are pretty vapid. And in the end, they don't cohere into a novel. I might give it a higher rating if it were not presented as a novel, but as a collection of short storie ...more
Having just read "The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western" by Brautigan & having liked it but feeling a bit unsatisfied by what easy reading it was I turned to this not knowing what to expect but expecting a novel of similar ilk - but instead this.. is different.. AND given my taste for inventiveness.. I was PLEASED. This is somewhat unique. I wdn't call it a novel.. it's more a collection of ruminations couched in a writing style that keeps it away from being any established genre in particu ...more
I've never been too sure what to make of Richard Brautigan. I like some of his books (generally his earlier ones) but find some of his books just a bit too whimsical. The problem for me is when he tried too hard to be whacky, as it always seemed a bit too false. I think The Hawkline Monster is the one I'm thinking of here.

However, The Tokyo-Montana Express was a revelation. He's retained his whimsicality, but it no longer seems strained. No longer is he trying to outdo Vonnegut, no longer is he
Aug 17, 2013 Stacey rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books of all time! To understand the book, imagine that you are riding on a train and each piece of writing is a station stop on the route. I love it because it has no narrative but there is a theme that gets gleened from the book at the end. Maybe that theme is just Brautigan's idiosyncratic life view, or maybe it's a broader commentary on the 60's and 70's. He has a way of musing about the small things in life, making a hugely significant event about a small gesture. ...more
Vit Babenco
Jan 05, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I enjoyed almost every book by Richard Brautigan I've read, The Tokyo-Montana Express is my favourite.
“The smallest snowstorm on record took place an hour ago in my back yard. It was approximately two flakes. I waited for more to fall, but that was it. The entire storm was two flakes.”
Such are our lives – we expect a thunderstorm but there are just two wee teardrops of rain.
Dec 31, 2010 Sara rated it it was amazing
Reading this book is like continually having a two beer buzz: A slightly impared understanding of reality, a sense of humor that can be interpreted as sarcastic or simple, an ease of language applied to the beauty of the world, ever day magic. Brautigan writes postcards directly to your brain.
May 18, 2015 Benjamin rated it liked it
Richard Brautigan is perhaps my favorite author, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the pieces in The Tokyo-Montana Express. His metaphors are consistently unique and often tug at the heartstrings, and his poetic prose seems ahead of its time. That said, it's hard not to put this up against some of his other works (In Watermelon Sugar, Trout Fishing in America, The Abortion, even Revenge of the Lawn) and not find it a bit lacking.

His propensity for simile gets tiring when reintroduced page after p
Jan 09, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
The subtitle on this one is a giveaway. "The Tokyo-Montana Express," the title blazes across the cover. Followed by, "A Book By Richard Brautigan." Not a novel. Not "stories." Not "poems." A "book." This is the second-to-last book published during Brautigan's lifetime. It's followed by the eerily prescient "So The Wind Won't Blow It All Away," which deals with bullets and accidental death and thoughts of suicide (Brautigan would put a bullet into himself a few years later, in 1984), and preceded ...more
Martin Kurniadi
Feb 14, 2013 Martin Kurniadi rated it it was amazing
This is a really great book.

There are some stories I particularly liked. Among them was:

'Harem', 'Another Texas Ghost Story', 'One Arm Burning in Tokyo', 'The Bed Salesman', 'Montana Traffic Spell', 'Hangover as Folk Art', 'California Mailman', 'Her Last Known Boyfriend a Canadian Airman, 'The Butcher', 'The Eyes of Japan' and 'Imaginary Beginning to Japan'.

That seems to include my favorites, but apart from them every story in this book was well worth it.
Sometimes I couldn't make up what Brautig
I have read nearly all of the Brautigan books that can be categorized as "fiction" (versus poetry) and this is by far one of my favorites. It is also one of the last he wrote prior to his suicide, and there are hints of his despair throughout The Tokyo-Montana Express (see "No Hunting Without Permission). That said, this is by no means a depressing read - on the contrary. It is Brautigan at his finest, and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.

Word of warning: do not take the introduction t
here are some wonderful excerpts from this typically strange brautigan effort.


He is almost invisible wandering around Tokyo, taking photographs of beautiful women. He is so nondescript looking in appearance and presence that it is not possible to describe him. He is one of those people that even when you are looking at him you are forgetting him so that the second he is out of your sight he is totally forgotten.
The beautiful women are never aware that he is taking their photograph or if
Jan 30, 2015 Tayne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For the most part the inert ramblings of a has-been well on the road to disintegration into the loneliness and incoherence of old age, at times excessively so, such as extended diatribes on replacing light-bulbs, watching the temperature change on a thermometer, and umbrellas, but interspersed with occasional instances of his rare genius, like the strange adventures of a death row dinner menu and a certain Swedish migrant in the Californian Gold Rush. The things his attention latches onto, like ...more
Jan 09, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Kept having the feeling that I had read this before, I haven't, but it has that vaguely familiar quality common to all things I really like. It's like false deja vu, I guess, and it's a good feeling. I had the impression that this was going to be a full novel, but it's much better than that. Plus there's this thing about pancakes in here that keeps making me laugh, since pancakes are one of the few reasons why I wake up in the morning.

Sometimes when I finish writing something, perhaps even this
John Goodell
Sep 01, 2014 John Goodell rated it really liked it
Ruminations on Brautigan's time spent in Montana and in Tokyo. He definitely exhibits more freedom with his writing in this one-there is no limit to how strange his material becomes.
Majid Parvizi
May 11, 2014 Majid Parvizi rated it really liked it
It's superb, as all other Brautigan's books are.
But why this is called "a novel" not rather a "short story collection"? Any Insights?
Donna Munro
Mar 17, 2014 Donna Munro rated it it was amazing
I think this might be the most hilarious of Brautigan's books, not that it's all fun and games, but when it's funny, you bust a gut.
Dec 02, 2014 George rated it liked it
A found many of the observational stories interesting. The contrast between Montana and Tokyo somewhat parallels the vast differences between Alaska and Seoul for me.
Jan 26, 2010 Dylan rated it liked it
I had a sick fascination (circa junior high/high school) with this guy, reading nearly everything he wrote. He became rather popular with semi-educated hippies in the late sixties and seventies. His sex-obsessed but gently poetic stories and poems are essentially autobiographic fiction, filled with melancholic yet funny passages. The language has a sort of quirky simplicity. He's the tree-hugging pacifist to Bukowski's bottle-chugging jerk. Also, he was one of the first writers to pose for photo ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Caris rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I didn't really like this one as a whole. It was too disjointed. There were some of the pieces that were really fantastic and then there were others that made no sense to me. This is the first bad Brautigan experience I've had, so I'm not complaining yet.

As a mater of fact, I can't recall a single part of this book and I just finished it a couple of days ago.
Eric Shaffer
Sep 01, 2008 Eric Shaffer rated it it was amazing
This novel is my favorite Brautigan novel. By far, this one demonstrates his strengths, abilities, and achievement as a writer of fiction. This novel also has one of the best endings that I have ever encountered. Reading this novel inspired me to write my own first novel, an experience I found exciting and illuminating.
May 28, 2008 CA rated it it was amazing
For some reason I thought that this was out of print, maybe because it's not in the bigger collections that are out?

But this is my favorite book by Brautigan, hands down!

"A SHRINE OF CARP" is a such a marvelous, perfect chapter, but I love all of it!


Robin Guest
Dec 12, 2011 Robin Guest rated it really liked it
Starting to get a bit depressed by late-period Brautigan now. Remembered this as one his better ones, but its kinda like a pale retread of Trout Fishing in America, really.
Nov 23, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I put off reading this book for many months, and now it is with great sadness that I close the cover of this book upon completion of reading; this was my last Richard Brautigan experience, my having read all of his other published fiction. ~sigh~
Feb 27, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
When I read this book of short stories in my Uni days, i thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever read. I lent my copy to some so-called friend (probably in an attempt to raise my cool cred) and never saw it again.
Aug 19, 2015 Danice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I know I will return to this collection of vignettes, over and over again. Even if I don't visit every 'stop' on the Express, this book was such an amazing adventure.
Dec 26, 2007 Liz rated it it was amazing
This one is thicker than most Brautigan novels and arguably more personal. It's incredibly funny but also foreshadows Brautigans tragic end. Everyone should read this book.
Jul 30, 2012 Andrewcharles420 rated it it was ok
A few poignant and/or amusing quips and scenes in the book, but nothing near the level of "Trout Fishing in America".

Recommendation: Read "Trout Fishing".

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Novel vs. Short Story Colletion 1 2 May 12, 2014 12:09PM  
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  • The Dutch Wife
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  • Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan
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  • Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me
  • The Voyage of the Short Serpent
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  • In Another Country
  • Schrödinger's Cat 3: The Homing Pigeons
  • Rabbit is Rich; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit, Run
  • Arkansas: Three Novellas
  • Bear v. Shark
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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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“...what makes you older is when your bones, muscles and blood wear out, when the heart sinks into oblivion and all the houses you ever lived in are gone and people are not really certain that your civilization ever existed.” 18 likes
“There was something dead in my heart.
I tried to figure out what it was by the strength of the smell. I knew that it was not a lion or a sheep or a dog. Using logical deduction, I came to the conclusion that it was a mouse.
I had a dead mouse in my heart.”
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