Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery

by Richard Brautigan

Hardcover, 1975




New York : Simon and Schuster, [1975]


"The novel takes place in an apartment house on Chestnut Street in San Francisco. The principals are Constance and Bob, the couple upstairs who read the Greek Anthology and play the Story of O game, a strange mixture of offbeat sexual fantasies; Pat and John, the couple downstairs who eat turkey sandwiches naked and watch Johnny Carson; the three Logan brothers, whose bowling trophies have been stolen; and Willard, a three-foot-high papier-mâché bird. The Logan brothers have vowed to recover their bowling trophies at any cost and seek vengeance on those who stole them."--Jacket.

User reviews

LibraryThing member SqueakyChu
A couple, Constance and Bob, indulge in sadistic sex acts. Constance is much in love with Bob, but Bob is losing his memory. Downstairs, in the same apartment building, live Patricia and John who have in their living room Willard, a papier mache bird, watching over a collection of bowling trophies.
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Meanwhile, three Logan brothers are going from state to state looking for their stolen bowling trophies. One Logan brother reads the comics, one drinks a beer, one waits for the phone to ring (for a call from someone telling them where the bowling trophies are). What I adore about Richard Brautigans writing is the irony with which he sees individuals and what they do in life. This book is great. I was very skeptical as this book started out with kinky sex, but the book becomes so FUNNY! I loved it. Ah, the absurdities of human behavior. On one hand, what the characters do may seem odd, but, on the other hand, their behavior is not that strange at all. Think about it after reading this book.
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LibraryThing member mattcbrown
Strangely affecting novel by Richard Brautigan comes closer to describing melancholy and depression than many other, less eliptical stories.
LibraryThing member Banoo
Strangers would come into the room and say, 'My God, what's that?' pointing at Willard and his bowling trophies.

'That's Willard and his bowling trophies,' was always the reply.

'Willard and his what?'

'Bowling trophies.'

'You mean bowling trophies?'

'Yeah, bowling trophies.'

'What's he doing with
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'Why not?'

Constance and Bob live upstairs. Bob likes reading ancient Greek poetry and while reenacting scenes from The Story of O with Constance. Pat and John live downstairs. They live with Willard, a papier-maché bird that lords over a room full of bowling trophies.

That's one of the strange things about people living in apartment buildings. They barely know what anybody else is doing. The doors are made out of mystery.

The Logan brothers were good American boys who lived at home where mom baked cakes, pies and cookies and dad worked on transmissions.

If his wife were a transmission there would be a lot less cookies and pies and cakes in the house.

The Logan brothers were also bowling fanatics and won many trophies. But one night the trophies went missing.

Thus the book, [Willard and His Bowling Trophies].

Oh, and the Logan brothers had three sisters. They did strange things. But you have to wait until the last chapter to find out about them.

Brautigan puts words together you wouldn't expect to see together but it works wonderfully and paints a little picture of Americana circa 1970's.
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LibraryThing member datrappert
Perverse indeed, and perplexing too. By turns, this book will turn your stomach with its descriptions of sexual diseases (and some sexual practices), amuse you with its story of the semi-moronic Logan brothers whose sole purpose in life is to retrieve their stolen bowling trophies (at whatever
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cost), and educate you (with snippets from the Greek Anthology.) Of course, it isn't a mystery at all, or at least not one with any solution other than what the reader comes up with on his or her own. It is more a fable about fate and a way for Brautigan to paint a picture of a peculiar corner of the world that it would take the Coen Brothers to do justice. Now that I think of it, this is so much like a Coen Brothers movie, that I wonder if they have read it....
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LibraryThing member jon1lambert
There is such beauty in this man's writing. The copy I have is battered, bruised, crinkled, chipped and tired but its content is not. I bet this is not as good as Sombrero Fallout, however.
LibraryThing member sanddancer
I'd previously read Brautigan's more famous books 'Trout Fishing in America' and 'In Watermelon Sugar', which left me cold, but this was an entirely different matter. Finally I could see Brautigan's obvious talent being put to good use.

The story involves two couples, three brothers and a papier
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mache bird, Willard. It is quirky and surreal, but genuiinely funny and humane.
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LibraryThing member Sativa
ah the insanity that is richard brautigan.
in short, this story is two stories that converge on one another. but i won't tell you any more, and even if i did you would still be confused.
if you want a crazy out there story with a lot of humor and more than a bit of mind bending nonsense, pick this
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one to start.
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LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
I don’t consider myself a sexual prude but a book where every other chapter is about a Bob and Constance, a couple having sex in ways that keep their venereal warts from infecting the other’s intimate parts was very off-putting to me. The other chapters were about three brothers who were
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searching for their stolen bowling trophies. We learn that the trophies are stored in the apartment below Bob and Constance and guarded by Willard, a paper-mache bird who stands about three feet tall. Weird – yes, but I read on as this is a very short book and I have to admit these opening chapters intrigued me.

It quickly became obvious that while this book poses a number of mysteries, it has no intention of actually solving the mysteries or explaining the who, what, when, why or where of the story. It is whimsical, outrageous, silly and highly stylized and yet, I couldn’t stop myself from reading on.

The subtitle of this book is “a perverse mystery” and perverse seems to be the right word. This short book takes the reader on a very bumpy ride with it’s false leads and contradictory statements. I’ve seen this author’s style described as comic realism which I would say is pretty apt. Willard and His Bowling Trophies blended satire, suspense and comedy in an absurdly unique way that certainly caught my attention.
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LibraryThing member Ranjr
Well, I finished this in a single sitting. It is definitely different and I did have a good laugh at the end. I was very quickly embroiled in the initial couple's dysfunctions and enjoyed following the lunatic bowling brothers on their quest and even empathized a little with the second couple
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mostly over the watching of a mundane late-night talk show (Johnny Carson here) to try to get to sleep. This is the first Brautigan book I've read, I have quite a few, possibly all, in my possession inherited from my late uncle, and I would definitely like to continue on through Brautigan's oeuvre.
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