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The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas: Stories

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  530 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
In The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas, Davy Rothbart's stories grow out of road trips and small towns and are populated by questionable heroes and gold-hearted thugs. Full of loneliness and hope, heartbreak and humor, Rothbart's tales blaze their way from midwestern farm fields to state prisons and border-town brothels.
Much like the lost, tossed, and forgotten items Roth
ebook, 176 pages
Published August 2nd 2005 by Touchstone (first published 2002)
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Jan 31, 2008 Rob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: white boys that think they're channeling Tupac and Kerouac
A decent but not terribly impressive or memorable werk; I think there is a spark of talent buried in there and I hope it matures. This little collection has a few fleeting moments of brilliance but overall doesn't linger with much substance. For every passage that suggests depth and insight, there are two on each side that feel vapid -- heavy on the style, like he's searching for his voice and spends too much time imitating others.
Mar 05, 2016 Seth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why, but a lot of contemporary moralist short fiction leaves me a little cold. Not all of it, but, regardless, the taste in my mouth is generally not great and as a result I don't read nearly as much of it as I should. And so, with this slim collection (my version has 5-6 stories), I picked it up expecting not a lot. But this book isn't like that at all. I will say that some of the stories strike me as "fun" stories--drinking, dudes, girls--but two of them--the title story and "Elen ...more
Feb 03, 2014 Colette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Davy Rothbart's first and last stories are rather enjoyable, and if you are willing to like about 1/7 of a book, then okay, but the middle pieces drag and feel formulaic. The surfer story, in which the book is based on, has it's moments, but overall dips too far deep into the fantastic. I felt myself wanting the stories to just end, feeling as if shocking the audience was more important to Rothbart than telling good stories. The author is a regular contributor to This American Life, so perhaps w ...more
Sep 16, 2007 Eva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

i want to make love to Davy Rothbart.

that said, only about half the stories in this book are awesome. the rest are kind of silly.
Feb 26, 2008 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find I enjoy the short story. Davy's collection is diverse and entertaining. I especially liked the story, "Lie Big."
Sep 09, 2010 Casey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Davy Rothbart is most famously known as the creator of FOUND Magazine and author of the bestselling Found books, but he's also written a short story collection, The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas.

The back cover copy reads: "Much like the lost, tossed, and forgotten items Rothbart collected in his acclaimed book, Found, the[se] stories. . .capture the oddity, poetry, and dignity of everyday life."

I think this is where my issues with the collection begin. (To be fair, I didn't hate this collectio
Jan 20, 2010 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While searching for books about Kansas or by Kansas authors I stumbled upon The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas: Stories. It happens to come from the same brain that is behind Found, the website, magazine and book which are dedicated to discarded notes, letters, flyers, photos, lists, and drawings found and sent in by readers.

The stories all carry an impact that often left me feeling uncertain and a little disappointed in the way things always seem to turn out. Is there anything worse than seein
May 21, 2011 Chrissy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh how thankful I am to have heard him on This American Life a few weeks back. Little did I know it he's been contributing for years. Or that he runs a kick-a$$ magazine, FOUND. Or that he's from Ann Arbor, where like him, I went to college.

But then to get him book in the mail (thank you, Amazon prime) and see the following names, all first-rate in their own but incredibly eclectic as a whole side by side: Charles Baxter (love him), Judy Blume (Hello Margaret, are you there?), Ira Glass (total
Aug 30, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review originally appeared in Clamor Magazine:

We Michiganders are a strange breed. We come from a wilderness that was chewed up and spit out by industry. Every fall, businesses shut down and deer carcasses grow on the roofs of vehicles. We tend to be descended from people who didn't fit in or got kicked out of other places and signed up for some free land up north near the frigid lakesides. Like local native Madonna, we get through long winters by regularly trading in our public identities.
Brady Dale
This is a strange book. It is not at all funny, as you might of thought by the rather amusing title. The book is full of heart breaks, but I guess they are real heart breaks. So it has that going for it. You might have a hard time believing that so much awful stuff has happened to one real person, I will leave that to your judgement.

The weirdest thing about the book is how there's no order and no real theme and no plot or point exactly. I think the writer is just trying to tell you about the var
Nov 01, 2007 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Humorous with just a tinge of desperation and dejection, Rothbart delivers a collection of short stories featuring a cast of everyday small-town characters in all too surreal situations. The opening story, "Lie Big," reads as a convincing memory recalled from a page of a friend's diary where the reader discovers the heartbreaking and hilarious intricacies of a complex friendship. Another notable story, "Maggie Fever," unravels the mundane yet tragic story of a fourteen year old boy left to his o ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Damon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Davy Rothbart is one of those authors that, for me, embody the true legacy of modern book writing. He is not caught up in the glam of publishing world cocktail parties, nor is he particularly heralded as a new voice. But his writing is honest without being contrite, and deep without hitting you over the head with how shallow you are. He's also the creator of Found Magazine, another fave of mine. This book is a breeze of a book, and I recommend you get it, read it, and pass it along to your favor ...more
Mar 03, 2010 Maria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a long time Found mag lover and reader, I was really excited about this collection of short stories. I think that Davy, as much as I think he is interesting and cool, should stick to the magazine. Reading these stories was like listening to the the stories of students in my high school English class when I was in high school. The are amateurish and predictable, and well kind of sound like someone wrote them for a high school assignment - which is ok when you are in high school. I would say ma ...more
Sarah Menezes
Apr 03, 2014 Sarah Menezes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories all from the perspective of white, american males that surprised me by not boring me to tears. They all were different yet shared this this theme of genuine voices. Super good, especially the title story and the story "Maggie Fever".
Cassidy Cassidy
Self-aware and entertaining, the Lone Surfer is a fun collection of short fiction pieces that make compelling, quick reads. Though Rothbart takes on a number of characters in his series of first-person narratives, I couldn't escape the notion that they were all the same person of varying ages and stages. I enjoyed his tales told from the perspectives of predominantly white, urban youths seeking their ways through a challenging and complex world, but can't love a book so limited in its perspectiv ...more
John Wilson
Nov 25, 2015 John Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a fun read. The first story was best, but they all had something good about them.
Aug 28, 2012 Shawna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. These stories were so bleak and powerful, they hit me right in the chest. As with any series of short stories there were points where the author repeated some themes, but overall this was a series of short stories that riveted my attention (not an easy feat). My only quibble is with the sudden random events that popped up with great frequency in these stories--which I probably wouldn't have noticed if I were only reading one or two, but when you read them all you realize the author relies o ...more
Alex Parks
it's aight
Jun 13, 2009 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at a Half Price Books after finding it on the discount shelf for only a dollar. I thought the cver was interesting, and the title was more than intriguing, so I decided it was probably worth the measly $1.

I enjoyed the majority of the stories- really loved the title story- The Lone Surfer of Montana Kansas as well as Maggie Fever.

I didn't see any other short story collections by Rothbart, but I'll definitely be checking in to Found Magazine after enjoying Lone Surfer so thorough
Sam Amburgey
My girlfriend and I saw Davy Rothbart and his brother on the Found tour last year in Wichita, KS. This is where we got the book from. I thought each story had a great seed of potential, but in my opinion, he used generic details to surround the characters and stories-for example, the guy with an eyepatch. The stories were quick to read and I especially enjoyed the title story, which at the show, Davy said it was being made into a movie starring Steve Buscemi. IMDB lists it as "In Development"
Maybe I expected too much from Mr. Rothbart after reading My Heart is an Idiot. I probably did. That was a wonderfully quietly moving kind of book. This one had touching moments but wasn't nearly as well crafted. Maybe the difference was in writing fiction vs. writing a memoir? I'm not sure. I'm glad that I read MHIAI before reading this one because I don't know that I would be willing to try him again after reading this one! If he publishes another memoir, I will give it a whirl.
Jun 12, 2009 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came to us accidentally in an Amazon order, which is fitting, since Davey Rothbart is the author of "Found" magazine. I was looking for something to read on the plane, and this short story collection was perfect. His characters' voices are fantastic. Lots of different takes on lonely young people. "Maggie Fever" was my favorite -- it has a surprising twist.
Jul 16, 2011 Marie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not really my cup of tea. I only found one chapter to be really funny, and that might be because I had been up for over 20 hours and was reading to try to go to sleep - so at that point everything could have been funny. Each chapter is a short story, the stories are odd, don't always make a whole lot of sense and in some ways are just kind of gross.
Sep 22, 2012 Dc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rothbart ends with a shout-out, "And most especially -- thanks to you for reading it." You're welcome. Thanks for freaking writing it. It's a gritty love story to life - dirty, hard, beautiful life - full of sentences like: "Her eyes grew darker than brighter then darker again as sad thoughts streamed past like clouds covering and uncovering the sun."
Brandon Will
Feb 19, 2009 Brandon Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This guy writes phenomenal short stories that really hold you. They the have momentum and conflict that remain intense, and gut wrenching emotions that hit home, for me anyway.

I love the way he describes light and weather, and how that effects the story; "the kind of intense cold that cripples all hope." "the room filled with a sad blue dawn."
Nov 26, 2007 Chelsea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
so much potential and so much that was good - i hesitate to give it a two. this guy is talented and interesting. he just seems to have some growing to do as a writer. its hard because it was short stories... a few were terrific. but they needed a little polish. i've heard him on the radio and enjoy him tremendously in that venue.
Jan 31, 2015 Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Raw. Hard-hitting. Touching.
Aug 07, 2010 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Davy Rothbart is a great storyteller. The language is not transcendent in the manner of great fiction authors, but there is a modest authenticity to these stories that resonates and ultimately makes up for the occasional shortfalls in the mechanics of the writing.
Jul 19, 2007 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection is as amazing and moving as the Found magazine that Davy publishes. He has such a unique voice in his writing, it's like you can hear him telling you these crazy stories about his friends and his life's adventures. He is a truly passionate person.
Bud Smith
There were points in this collection of short stories where the author was very personal, like a friend telling a joke at a party. Other times, it seemed far flung and too hippy dippy. I'm looking forwards to something else by this guy.
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Davy Rothbart's magazine Found is dedicated to discarded notes, letters, flyers, photos, lists, and drawings found and sent in by readers. The magazine spawned a best-selling book, Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World, published in April 2004. A second collection was published in May 2006. The magazine is published annually and co-edited by Rothbart's friend Jaso ...more
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“That's how the universe worked at times: little things - the tiniest things - could catapult you toward a good life, but you had to be open and you had to be paying attention. Love wasn't purely destined, it relied on hiccups of fate - Aimee Mann, someone else's trip to Peru, a black dog.” 3 likes
“My dashed hopes putt-putted bravely to life once more, like a bug that gets stomped on but keeps pulling itself across the floor.” 1 likes
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