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The Tokyo-Montana Express

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,122 ratings  ·  65 reviews
First published in 1980 (special Targ edition published 1979), The Tokyo-Montana Express, a collection of one hundred and thirty-one "stations" inspired by memories of Japan and Montana, January-July 1976, that seem to form a somewhat autobiographical work, was Brautigan's ninth published novel. Brautigan, defending the unique form of this novel, said each section of the n ...more
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published January 1st 1980 by Delacorte Press
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Vit Babenco
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is the best way to get from America to Japan? Board The Tokyo-Montana Express and then you will find out.
Although I enjoyed all Richard Brautigan’s books that I've read, this fantastic trip seems to be my favourite.
A train is travelling from Cairo to Alexandria. It is a blue sky, white cloud day in Egypt. I am watching the train on television here in California, a long way from the Middle East.
Why do Egyptian clouds catch my attention as I look at the train? These are the first clouds I rem
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, japan, usa
This is the fourth Richard Brautigan book I’ve read and it’s probably my least favourite so far. In structure this reminds me a lot of “Trout Fishing in America”. There are the same short segments, of anything between half a page and 5-6 pages, and there are the same more or less random musings on life. The two books were however written about 20 years apart and it shows. Many of the stations on The Tokyo-Montana Express have a very downbeat feel to them, and the book has a generally despondent ...more
Ben Loory
well, that's it, i've read all his books now.

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
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
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 particular. ...more
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
Once upon a time I used to dish out many a five-star review, all too generously.

Now, come to think of it, I give many four-star ratings, the occasional three-star rating, almost never a one- or two-star rating (because usually I have given up on the book by then anyway) an occasionally, when I discover that rare diamond in the rough, a five-star rating.

Well here I have found one. Being a fan of Richard Brautigan's writing might make me slightly biased but this is the last prose work of his I've
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brautigan whimsy at its best...
Donna Munro
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 22, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Martin Kurniadi
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
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great Brautigan, which means a tremendous book in every way. It was one of the last of his books before he died and it resembles the first, Trout Fishing in America, in form, though it is quite different in many other ways too, whimsical in content but not definitively so, more world-weary but also clearer and wiser. The framing conceit is there simply because a book of this kind requires a framing device (each brief chapter is narrated by the 'voice' of a station on an imaginary railway line ...more
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 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!


Eric Shaffer
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 05, 2009 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~
Robin Guest
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. ...more
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Darcy Petersen
Jul 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the story of the Laurel and Hardy snowflakes. The strange glimpses of Japan and the States are interesting and fun to read.
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this. A lot. I took to underlining parts in pencil because they were likable. Brautigan is best in random, bite-sized bits.
RH Walters
Oct 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sampled
Read about half and found it amusing with a nice tone -- thanks for the loan Matthew!
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love him. Brilliant as ever.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, poetry
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.
Naif-Jamie Martin
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic collection of amazingly fast paced and interesting (very) short stories. Call it Flash Fiction, I call it genius.
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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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. ...more

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