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Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery Hardcover – Aug 1975

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Edition edition (Aug 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671220659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671220655
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Johnnybluetime VINE VOICE on 11 Jun 2008
Format: Hardcover
One of my favourite Brautigan novels.An intensely sad book that is a masterpiece of simplicity.The characters deal with loss; of Willard and his Bowling Trophies, of talent, of love, all in their different ways and all within a beautifully written mystery.And, of course, it's funny too, laugh out loud funny at times, as all Brautigan's books were. It's absolutely archetypal of a certain kind of '70's US art and although stylistically different it compares with the work of Thomas Mcguane, Jim Harrison and Joan Didion in hiding its serious themes behind a sly humour and elegant writing style.Also comparable to the '70's films of Robert Altman such as Brewster Mcloud and particularly The Long Goodbye in both theme and tone. A truly beautiful book that manages to convey in 167 pages what most authors fail to do in twice and thrice that number.It perfectly encapsulates the sadness and the sense that along with the bad something good had been lost when the West turned its back on the past during the Sixties Revolution. As everything began to fall apart people were left with the question of what to do.Everything or nothing? Action or ennui? Disco or Tim Buckley? The Towering Inferno or Two Lane Blacktop? Sometimes things change and there's nothing you can do about it. Buy this book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
But I'm usually wrong. Been reading some PG Wodehouse recently. And some sci-fi and Terry Pratchett. Read that Don Quixote over winter. That's pretty good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Oh, Willard, Willard, Willard. 9 Dec 2005
By J. Bosiljevac - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This novel is about fate and tragedy and people whose lives are connected by circumstance. It has all the Brautigan touches: poetry as prose, simple writing, great turns of phrase, and a story that is at once outlandish, hilarious, tragic and wholly original.

The story involves two couples and three brothers. One couple has a very healthy, happy relationship. In their apartment is Willard, a bird sculpture, and some bowling trophies they purchased at a sale years ago. These are second-hand bowling trophies. The other couple's relationship isn't as happy. The husband is depressed, and the wife, in an attempt to make him happy, participates in his S&M fantasies though she doesn't enjoy them. The brothers, as the story goes, were once good, upstanding citizens from a good upstanding family. That is, until several years ago when their bowling trophies were stolen, destroying their faith in humanity. They made a pact to recover the bowling trophies, whatever the cost, and began down a road of violence and murder.

You either love or hate Brautigan's work. I'm in the former camp. I don't know any writer so unique. Part of the beauty in his work is in the depth behind the simplicity. But like a simple painting, one person might look and say, "My seven-year-old could have done that," while another, like myself, finds that pretty much all of Brautigan's work speaks to them in some way.

Along with SO THE WIND WON'T BLOW IT ALL AWAY and AN UNFORTUNATE WOMAN, WILARD is one of Brautigan's tragic novels. In fact, in one of my favorite parts of the novel, the husband reads from a book of bits and pieces of Greek tragedies because only bits and pieces have survived through the years. But he's fascinated by them because he can feel the tragedy of the whole in just a few words. In the same way, in Willard we are given a thin slice of the life of these characters, but we feel the tragedy of the whole.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
tragic i think not 16 Aug 2008
By D. Anderson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
i found this book to be hilarious. it will never leave my top 10. its set up to look like a tragedy but really to me it just points out the hilariousness of our lives. a great relationship turned into uncomfortable sadistic love making due to stds. hilarious, it just pokes and pokes fun at are responses to things we find hard to deal with. three brothers become completely depressed and obsessed about finding their trophies instead of just winning more, its quite a magnificent look into the human behavior.

two thumbs up and and two pointer fingers to make two guns to shoot off for this wonderful, fabulous book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hilarious, unpredictable, weird....thumbs up! 6 Sep 2010
By PuroShaggy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
They may not be exactly curve balls, but the stuff Brautigan throws at his readers during this comic/tragic slice of life is unlike anything read before. Bowling trophies are stolen and thus become a murderous obsession for three bumbling brothers. An unfortunate case of STD leads to a strained S&M relationship that drives a couple apart. The title character is a paper maiche bird, and that's about his role. Each chapter is a short burst of hilarity, moments in sad characters lives that are funny to the outsider but quite painful to the characters themselves. Yet still the laughs come easily, guiltily, due to Brautigan's light yet commanding touch of the English language.
Amidst all the humor and pure irreverence, the character's gain a humanity in that all their foibles are so human, if not taken to the extreme. Thus, when the disparate threads crash in a violent climax, the result maintains a tragic edge while still being appropriate to the tone and craziness of the story.
Think Dali in Print: everything is warped, twisted, and out of proportion to reality, but it somehow packs an emotional wallop.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
BEAUTIFUL. 16 Mar 2009
By Lynn Ruby - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If I could describe Richard Brautigan's word-art greatness, I'd be writing books, not reviews. Do yourself a BIG favor and buy ALL of Richard's incredible books.
what makes this book such a delight is that it is so very 15 July 2014
By Dan J. Williams - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most compelling thing about this book is Brautigan's playfulness with characterization.

On the one hand, we have a world of realistic people. We get to know them and their personal problems a little too well, and they are presented as very 3-dimensional characters -- people we might know ourselves.

And there there are the Logan Brothers who are almost less than caricatures, completely 1-dimensional, absurd characters who serve as nothing more than a blatantly contrived plot-device that is fully disconnected from the real world until the very end of the book, when two stylistic worlds collide.

By the way, what makes this book such a delight is that it is so very, very clear and obvious that the contrivance of plot is absolutely meant to be recognized by the reader. It's almost like a moment of "Dues Ex Machina" you might find in other literary works as a kind of joke, but here it encapsulates the entire plot of the novel. The entire plot is a kind of "inside joke" for the reader. There is just no way that something like the Logan Brothers could ever actually exist (and they are portrayed thusly!)

This is a very experimental book, not to be read like any other. The Logan Brothers are unlike anything seen in any novel I have ever read, and this jarring approach to style, if nothing else, makes "Willard" worth reading.
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