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Wild Ducks Flying Backward

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  5,817 Ratings  ·  287 Reviews
Known for his meaty seriocomic novels, Tom Robbins’s shorter work has appeared in publications ranging from Esquire to Harper’s, from Playboy to the New York Times. Collected here for the first time in paperback, the essays, articles, observations—and even some untypical country-music lyrics—offer a rare overview of the eclectic sensibility of an American original.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Bantam (first published 2005)
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Joanna Jelly
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tom Robbins is a genius!
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
whoever gave this book less than 4 stars is a totally unsalvageable idiot. this book of short writings, mostly nonfiction with some fiction, was brilliant. i just went up the mountain for a four day solitary retreat with no running water, electricity and only wood heat in an insulated hut, and lemme tell you this book saved my ass. sitting in the cold with only the sounds of my own thoughts for four days threw me into an abyss. tom pulled me out. as always. in fact, i now rank this in my top fiv ...more
Veronika Sebechlebská
Neviazaná obrazotvornosť koketujúca s gýčom. Bujaré metafory obcujúce s humorom a bezostyšne plodiace meta-fóry. Rozkokošené vety, ktorým ide len o slovné eskamotérstvo. Prosto typické robbinsovské defilé jazykovej zhýralosti.

Veľmi rôznorodá zbierka textov, od cestopisov, cez priemerné básne a príspevky uverejnené v americkej obdobe Záhradkára až po recenzie na televízne hviezdičky, ktoré sa medzičasom stihli prepadnúť tak hlboko do zabudnutia, že ich už nenájde ani Google. Mne osobne v takejto
Apr 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Tom Robbins' books are so unfailingly fun, so spectacularly gymnastic in their use of language, that I've often found myself wondering how much of him can be found in his work. Is Robbins the man, in other words, as playful as his writing? Wild Ducks Flying Backward is an answer in the affirmative. There's not much of substance here – it's a slim collection of previously published essays and musings (on art, food, and celebrity, mainly) – but the linguistic somersaults and rhetorical backflips a ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dobré a vtipné eseje, básně, časopisecké články, úvahy...
Poté, co jste své přítelkyni oznámili, že jí vezmete na výlet na jedno z nejromantičtějších míst na zeměkouli, a poté, co ona vkusně vyjádřila svůj vděk a nadšení, zeptá se vás, co si má vzít s sebou. Má si sbalit do hor? Na pláž? Do samba klubů v Riu či na bulváry sladké Paříže?
„Ále,“ vy na to, „prostě hoď do tašky pár věcí, co se ti šiknou v močálu.“
Daphne Kim
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This a very eclectic mix of Robbins writings, from reviews, to poetry, to travel articles, to opinion statements. I enjoyed it, but I prefer getting lost in his novels.
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: awesome people
Shelves: oh-how-i-laughed
disagree with his mystical tendencies or his sweet horndogginess if you must, but no one can dispute that tom robbins loves language and language loves him right back. whether he is writing about the weather, redheads/waitresses, the state of modern art, vaginas, or what-have-you, he does it with aplomb, running his sentences on joyfully, drawing absurd-yet-spot-on comparisons, redefining words in such a way that one forgets they were never used that way before, and generally turning the world ( ...more
Feb 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
One of the reasons I adore Tom Robbins' books is that I can never tell where he is going with something, but I'm sure it will intertwine in a way that makes me feel like I should have known all along. He is pulling the wool over my eyes, and I'm blissfully blind and savoring every paragraph until the conclusion.

This book doesn't take that journey as it's a collection of his short writings. The travel writing is short and doesn't invoke the images of the places like it does with images of the ch
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I've been a big fan of some of Robbins's older fiction, so it was interesting to see his nonfiction pieces. As with any collection, some are great and some are so-so, but he always has a fresh perspective and says what he really thinks. I like that!

"Personally, I define politics as the ambition to preside over property and make other people's decisions for them. Politics, in other words, is an organized, publicly sanctioned amplification of the infantile itch to always have one's own way." (from
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
I thought this was a novel or, at most, a book of short stories. It is neither. Instead, it is a collection of the author's various published nonfiction works, from travel articles to celebrity tributes to who knows what else. While I might enjoy these short pieces if they appeared in a magazine somewhere (where I'd be pleasantly surprised to find the name Tom Robbins on the masthead), a whole book of them made me weary.

If nothing else, at least it cured me of the notion of publishing my own sho
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I do prefer the fiction of Robbins, but it was interesting to see these works. Most were pretty engaging and it was cool to see the range of his intellect outside of his fiction, as well as how his playfulness and insight come to bear on other topics. It shows Robbins to have more complexity than his fiction suggests, and that already suggests a great deal.
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Like many short writing anthologies, it's totally hit or miss. The best stuff is in the travel section. There is one excellent poem. There a few good insights in the essays. But a lot of the stuff is totally disposable. And try as you might Tom, you will never get me to like mayo.
Anthony St. Clair
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bite-size Tom Robbins. These fascinating stories vary and vary and vary—just like the man himself, and his books. A fun way to dig in to some shorter TR fiction.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Loved the Travel tales, thought the responses and most of the tributes were very well done, quirky and subtly profound.
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It pains me more than you can imagine to write these next few words.

Listening to Tom Robbins’ latest offering, Wild Ducks Flying Backwards, as an audiobook, is an excruciating experience. No, not because it is read by the author, who, by his own admission, has a voice that sounds like it was wrung out of a mop. Robbins is actually not at all a bad reader for this collection of mostly non-fiction pieces, many of them travel essays, tributes, and even the odd review or two. Non-fiction sketches do
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tom Robbins is my oddball muse. I LOVED Jitterbug Perfume, and I'm looking for some reading to shake up my traditional ruts and so I came back to Robbins.

I really enjoyed this book. I love Robbins' prose, his sharp wit and cutting-edge literary devices. This is the kind of book I want to take to a college class and pick apart line by line. Instead, I settled for reading various passages aloud to my family who rolled their eyes at me when I yelled, "Isn't it BEAUTIFUL?!"

This is non traditional in
Tom Kenis
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reminded with every Tom Robbins I read as to why I write, and travel, and write, having picked up this particular gem from Crow Bookshop in Burlington, Vermont. Robbins sums it up best:
"What Tom Wolfe and the other champions of naturalistic writing would have us accept as realistic content is actually the behavior patterns of a swarm of fruit flies on one bursting peach in an orchard with a thousand varieties of strange fruit stretching beyond every visible horizon. Granted, those fruit fli
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Having read all of Tom Robbins other books (except for "B is for Beer"!), mostly quite a few years ago, I was hoping to get a reminder of why I liked his writing. And this provides that -- the literary gymnastics he applies to his writing make it as fresh and awe-inspiring as always. I found, though, that this book of short pieces really was more like a scratch-and-sniff version of his writing - you get the essence but you don't get anywhere near a complete story. This made me realize that altho ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Firts of all I want to make clear that I love Tom Robbins. I like very much some chapters of this book, the only reason that I put 3 stars is because I don't like that much this type of books (compilation of writings).

I don't suggest this to someone that has never read Tom Robbins, just because he will make wrong impression. Some "random" articles are not enough to demostrate Robbins' genius!

On the other hand, If you are a Robbins' lover, this book will make you feel that you go for a walk with
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not the type of book I would normally read. I don’t like nonfiction and had to look up most cultural references he wrote about.

That being said, I loved this book so much and gained so much from it. Really looking forward to reading more TR in the future. His admiration and respect towards the art of language is captivating.

This book put me on to Leonard Cohen, Terence McKenna, tomato and mayo sandwiches, and a few other things I had never heard of.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Took me a couple trys to get into this one. The travel writings are pretty far out. But this book makes me laugh out loud every time I pick it up. At this point, I’ve read a lot of the pieces a few times. So many great Tom Robbins nuggets in here.
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The prologue completely identified me; I thought this was a new novel and read it anyway, although it is a series of short works. What floored me most was his art critiques; this guy is multi-faceted in ways I hadn't known and, as ever, writes with intelligence and great humor.
Frank Talaber
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Intelligent writer and off the wall crazy.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'll give this book to people who ask me for an introduction to my favorite author. Easily digestible short pieces that still sparkle with Robbins' unparalleled linguistic talents.
Sarah Scherer
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Some truly beautiful stories mixed in.
Daniel McCash
The chapter about the virtues of a tomato sandwich are words worth eating
Leonard Smith
Oct 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am resigned to the fact that I am not a Tom Robbins fan. My daughter loves his writing but it is not for me.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A master at language.

Tom Robbins knows how to
reach into some hobo's flannel
dirty little pocket and
pull out words like bug spray.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Classic Robbins. I read so many lines out loud, marveling.
Tamas O'Doughda
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Tom Robbins. He is a strange telescope, aimed thoroughly at the grass and dirt of our terrestrial existence, but somehow able to see through so much earth to take in the cosmos on the other side. I wish he was my friend, and somehow, through the generosity of his writing, I feel he is.

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Goodreads Librari...: Wild Ducks Flying Backward page count 3 12 Jun 10, 2018 04:04PM  
  • Conversations with Tom Robbins
  • The Action Heroine's Handbook
  • Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century : An Introduction
  • Poems 1968-1998
  • Big Blonde and Other Stories
  • The Quitter
  • The Portable Twentieth-Century Russian Reader
  • A Baroque Fable
  • Siberia
  • The World of Mr. Mulliner
  • The Secret Meaning of Things: Poetry
  • Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
  • A Pair of Silk Stockings and Other Short Stories
  • For Two Nights Only: Omnibus 4 - Overtime and Grailblazers
  • Bagombo Snuff Box
  • The Twilight Zone Companion
  • Blind Date
  • The Subject of Semiotics
Thomas Eugene Robbins (born July 22, 1936 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina) is an American author. His novels are complex, often wild stories with strong social undercurrents, a satirical bent, and obscure details. His novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976) was made into a movie in 1993 directed by Gus Van Sant.

More about Tom Robbins

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“Are You Ready for New Urban Fragrances?

Yeah, I guess I'm ready, but listen:

Perfume is a disguise. Since the middle ages, we have worn masks of fruit and flowers in order to conceal from ourselves the meaty essence of our humanity. We appreciate the sexual attractant of the rose, the ripeness of the orange, more than we honor our own ripe carnality.

Now today we want to perfume our cities, as well; to replace their stinging fumes of disturbed fossils' sleep with the scent of gardens and orchards. Yet, humans are not bees any more than they are blossoms. If we must pull an olfactory hood over our urban environment, let it be of a different nature.

I want to travel on a train that smells like snowflakes.

I want to sip in cafes that smell like comets.

Under the pressure of my step, I want the streets to emit the precise odor of a diamond necklace.

I want the newspapers I read to smell like the violins left in pawnshops by weeping hobos on Christmas Eve.

I want to carry luggage that reeks of the neurons in Einstein's brain.

I want a city's gases to smell like the golden belly hairs of the gods.

And when I gaze at a televised picture of the moon, I want to detect, from a distance of 239,000 miles, the aroma of fresh mozzarella.”
“Among our egocentric sad-sacks, despair is as addictive as heroin and more popular than sex, for the single reason that when one is unhappy one gets to pay a lot of attention to oneself. Misery becomes a kind of emotional masturbation.” 109 likes
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