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Sombrero Fallout

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,309 ratings  ·  180 reviews
Concerns a writer trying to cope with the break-up of a relationship. Trying to escape his misery, he begins a story about a sombrero that falls out of the sky and lands in a small town. Unable to concentrate he throws the pages in the bin, and that's when it starts to take on a life of its own.
187 pages
Published (first published 1976)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,309 ratings  ·  180 reviews

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M. Sarki
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to M. by: Mariel

Would you consider please for a moment at least that by the time Sombrero Fallout was composed Richard Brautigan was up to his neck in his own shit and desperate for relief? Alcohol only fueled his confusion over a life he was swiftly losing control over. The epoch of his fame provided a false security and nothing he attempted in his order to personally derail it could prove his life was finally off the tracks. Appearances aside, life for Dick was not that
Ben Loory
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
any book that starts every other chapter with "Meanwhile, in the waste paper basket" is okay by me.

"I will be very careful the next time I fall in love, she told herself. Also, she had made a promise to herself that she intended on keeping. She was never going to go out with another writer: no matter how charming, sensitive, inventive or fun they could be. They were emotionally too expensive and the upkeep was too complicated. They were like having a vacuum cleaner around that broke all the time
Brautigan is always a breath of fresh air. Sombrero Fallout is as brief (an hour to read from cover to cover) as it is bizarre. The conceit is not entirely coherent, but it is original, sincere, and interesting. The novel is a great catharsis for the author, as well as being a very heartfelt and poignant account of a difficult break-up.
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Brautigan spends the night crawling around on the floor looking for a strand of his ex-girlfriend's hair. And on the next page, somehow, Norman Mailer is involved in laying siege to a blood thirsty Midwestern town. Somewhere in there is a frozen sombrero, a black one. Every time I read Brautigan it's like I've never read anything I liked as much. I feel sorry for the next book I'm reading, it has a lot to live up to.

His decision to give up eating tuna fish sandwiches had been one of the most dif
Larnacouer  de SH
What can i do sometimes?
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A unique and original story with themes of the bizarre.

This would fit nicely in the recent bizarro stories that have been published.
Neat little chapters and very economical choice of words in each sentence. There seems to be a darker message to this story than it just being a wacky story about a Japanese woman, a hair, a sombrero and the fallout.
Intelligently crafted humor with a literary work of sorts that catches the readers thoughts and memory. I read this due to Canongate providing me with
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
My introduction to Brautigan came when his play on genre fiction in Hawkline Monster and Dreaming of Babylon caught my eye, and whilst those works were impressive, somewhat whimsical and eccentric Sombrero Fallout is a whole new realisation as to the quality of the man's vision for what literature could be. That it took a new introduction from Jarvis Cocker to get me to pick up what many fans feel is his best work as my next Brautigan experience probably says more about me than it should. Especi ...more
Sabra Embury
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books, Sombrero Fallout alternates two stories into one -- between 1.) a frozen sombrero that mysteriously falls from the sky into a small town causing a commotion and 2.) a writer's obsession with a Japanese ex, whose well-illustrated dreams of her father and familiar places are guided by the bedside purring sounds of her cat in marathon bouts of sleep.

The stories are a mix of realist, absurd and whimsical happenings, which Brautigan's voice executes with a smart, romantic a
This is a funny brautigan burlesque.

A tale about acheing/pining for a lost Japanese lover who is gone, never to return, her purring cat, the lover's hair and the torn-up remnants of a story which becomes self-aware and writes the rest of its own story after being confined to the waste paper basket.

In the wastepaper basket story, which runs parallel with the narrative of what is happening in 'true reality', the situations gets out of hand over a -24 degree sombrero
May 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reads like a diamond with 187 pages glued on it.
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, suicide-notes
Work Gloves for a Gravedigger

At 187 pages, Sombrero Fallout (Simon and Schuster, 1976) is perhaps one of the world's longest suicide notes, beating out "Good Old Neon" (David Foster Wallace) but dwarfed by the collected works of Ernest Hemingway.

Brautigan died in 1984 of a self-inflicted gunshot. From 1976 to 1984 is eight years, which is a long time to camp your finger out on the Himalayas of a trigger. Waking up some mornings can feel like the eight years between sitting in a lawn chair on yo
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
you might not like the story (you f***ing better) but, for the love of bowie, ain't that the prettiest cover you've ever seen?!
Zoe Brooks
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magic-realism
MEANWHILE BACK IN the waste-paper basket -- what a way to start a chapter! And what is happening in the paper basket? The story discarded by the central character has decided it will continue without him. This is a magic realist story on both levels. It is metafiction and it contains a magical sombrero. What more could you want from a magic realist book?

I had been meaning to read some Brautigan as part of my magic realism challenge and then the opportunity to review this new edition by Canonga
Edward Rathke
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is my first time reading Brautigan, who everyone keeps raving to me about.

I really enjoyed this novel. It's not perfect, but it inspired me enough to begin a new novel after reading just a few pages, and that's not nothing.

Funny, lovely, and interesting. It's absurd and it's great. Very interested in reading more by him.
James Tingle
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Read this ages ago but I still remember it being a really fun read, albeit pretty weird. It has two sides to the novel- one is a surreal tale of a growing farcical disaster in some fictional town, beginning with a random, fallen sombrero, plummeting from the sky which initiates panic among the population and the rest is about pain and love gone wrong- pining for someone who is irretrievable...a good place to start with this always inventive and enjoyable author.
Ioana Vasi
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
1976, Sombrero fallout

Found this book through a recommendation from a colleague and instantly fell in love with the title. If a sombrero were to fall out of nowhere, surely I’d give it all my attention. Why would it be simply “falling”? And from where? Is this some sort of code/cocktail name? Poetry?
Until I found out, the sombrero kept falling at a constant speed, unable to rest on terra firma.

A mysterious, black, frozen sombrero lands in an unnamed small American town. The mayor, his cousin and
Tristan Wolf
May 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: masochists
Recommended to Tristan by: M-Martin
This book is one of those in the category of "The Emperor's New Novels" -- if you don't "get it," you're clearly not cool.

There is no need for "spoiler alerts," because that would imply that there was some sort of plot to be spoiled. The work is a self-indulgent, lackwitted, bewildering compilation of tripe that -- and I'm being generous here -- attempts to reconcile love lost with a writer equally lost. I have read, in other reviews and comments, that Brautigan wrote this work while pining for
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a couple of novels by Richard Brautigan back in the 1970s, when I was a teenager. I remember enjoying them a great deal although even at the time I thought they had a real "sixties" feel and that I had missed that whole sixties counterculture thing with which the author was closely identified (although, having himself been brought up in extreme poverty, Brautigan was apparently contemptuous of those who affected to reject materialism). I had pretty much forgotten about him until a few yea ...more
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
'An Unfortunate Woman' mentioned Japanese culture a few times, the protagonist visiting a Japanese cemetary, for instance, so I was interested to read 'Sombrero Fallout' next, as part of the story involves the break-up of a relationship between an American Humourist and his Japanese lover. Can't say that after reading this I know any more about Brautigan's fascination with Japan, but there are more books to read in order to find out.

I loved the fact that 'Sombrero Fallout' was so quick to read.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sombrero Fallout is one of the best Brautigan novels I have read yet. Though a quick read, I took my time - wanting to savor the chapters and postpone finishing the book. There are two story lines that beautifully entwine and complement each other, and the chapters are so well-crafted that they could function as individual, poetic vignettes.

From the chapter entitled "Avocado":

"If he taught all his worries to sing, they would have made the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sound like a potato."

An American humorist starts to write a story in which a sombrero falls out of the sky and falls to earth on the main street of an American town in front of three people. Disappointed with the story he rips it up and throws it to the floor. He can't stop thinking about his ex, a Japanese girl called Yukiko, whom he believes is lying in the arms of another man. Yukiko meanwhile is alone in bed sleeping. The American humorist cries, Yukiko dreams and the story of the sombrero continues without the ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
He’d had enough suffering right now to last him forever with plenty left over for others if they didn’t have enough and wanted to have some more.

A rather forlorn Brautigan novel pared down to just three strands: 1) the despairing and unconsoled American humorist whose Japanese girlfriend has long gone; 2) the sleeping but unaware former Japanese girlfriend; 3) the sombrero story the despairing and unconsoled American humorist has torn up and binned but which still continues, spinning wildly an
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I hadn't read Brautigan in years, not since my twenties, which is a shame and I'm happy to read him again. When I first read him I was also hungrily eating up all of Barthelme, which I still do, and this forces me to ask why it is I left Brautigan behind? He's certainly as daring as Barthelme, and yet for all of his surreality and the almost childlike tone of his work it's also just as sad. I read a recent Canongate edition with an introduction by Jarvis Cocker who lovingly calls Brautigan "the ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently finished Richard Brautigan’s Sombrero Fallout, and although I’m a bit of a Brautigan fan (I’ve read and enjoyed In Watermelon Sugar, The Hawkline Monster and Dreaming of Babylon) I have to report that I’m very much in two minds about this one.

I absolutely love the thread about the lovelorn author pining for his lover. It’s poignant, lyrical, intense, humorous and authentically moving.

But the other thread, following the author’s story developing without him in the waste paper basket, a
David Kenvyn
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first thing that I have to do is take issue with Jarvis Cocker's introduction. Just because a book is out of print, it does not mean that it is unobtainable. All he had to do was go to a large local public library, and he would have found Richard Brautigan's books on the shelves. I am surprised because I thought that he knew about common people, and therefore should know that one of the great boons of civilisation is the access to books, free of charge, in a local library.

Richard Brautigan's
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Not quite sure what I feel about this book. My first experience of Richard Brautigan, and looking at the reviews on Goodreads many readers are very enthusiastic indeed about him and his writing. I found the praise a little puzzling as I felt this short novel was at heart quite inconsequential, and yet up to a point I enjoyed it. A touch of absurdity, a touch of magic realism, a touch of satire and a nice pen portrait of Norman Mailer. The narrator is trying to write a novel whilst agonising abou ...more
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I purchased this book after a fellow university student likened my writing style to Brautigan's.
To the point of rating the content, however, the book was great! Funny, surreal, bizarre, imaginative and, at times, crushingly poignant.
Sombrero Fallout, in terms of story and content, deserves five stars. Sadly, it had to be docked a star due to the lack of grammar; although I would not attribute this issue solely to Brautigan. All too often I come across notable books - some of which have been arou
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I woke up in the new year with the taste of gin and found this in my purse, along with Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions.
(Who's books are these by the way? And most importantly, thank you for letting me borrow/steal them!)

Dark and hilarious. Absurd and real.
Read this by the river, had a nap and had to finish it afterwards.

Great chaotic and nonsensical moments like librarians getting their ears blown off intertwined with beautiful moments of reflection upon a failed romance... really enjoyed this
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first Richard Brautigan book I have read, although I have been interested in reading his work for a couple of years. I liked Sombrero Fallout almost immediately. In a sense, nothing much actually happens in this novel, even though it features a riot in a small town that gets out of hand and rapidly involves the state police, the national guard and federal paratroopers. This riot is framed by another story involving a writer of humorous literature who has recently split up with his Japanese g ...more
Danielle Hess
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely absurd. My third favorite book.
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Richard Brautigan was an American novelist, poet, and short-story writer. Born in Tacoma, Washington, he moved to San Francisco in the 1950s and began publishing poetry in 1957. He started writing novels in 1961 and is probably best known for his early work Trout Fishing in America. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1984.

I will be very careful the next time I fall in love, she told herself. Also, she had made a promise to herself that she intended on keeping. She was never going to go out with another writer: no matter how charming, sensitive, inventive or fun they could be. They weren't worth it in the long run. They were emotionally too expensive and the upkeep was complicated. They were like having a vacuum cleaner around the house that broke all the time and only Einstein could fix it. She wanted her next lover to be a broom.” 212 likes
“Her sunny side was always up.” 37 likes
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