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Extended Audio Sample Wild Ducks Flying Backward, by Tom Robbins Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,673 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Robbins Narrator: Tom Robbins, Debra Winger Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2005 ISBN: 9780739321768
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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. Whether rocking with the Doors, depoliticizing Picasso’s Guernica, lamenting the angst-ridden state of contemporary literature, or drooling over tomato sandwiches and a species of womanhood he calls “the genius waitress,” Tom Robbins’s briefer writings exhibit the five traits that perhaps best characterize his novels: an imaginative wit, a cheerfully brash disregard for convention, a sweetly nasty eroticism, a mystical but keenly observant eye, and an irrepressible love of language. Embedded in this primarily journalistic compilation are brand-new short stories, a sheaf of largely unpublished poems, and an offbeat assessment of our divided nation. Wherever you open Wild Ducks Flying Backward, you’ll encounter the serious playfulness that percolates from the mind of a self-described “romantic Zen hedonist” and “stray dog in the banquet halls of culture.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • A single sentence from Robbins is worth the price of admission. Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
  • Hilarious. New York Times Book Review
  • “A treat. Robbins is fearless, original, mind-expanding and funny as hell. San Diego Union-Tribune

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick Bridegam | 2/20/2014

    " not my favorite tom robbins. a collection that could have excluded a lot more. some of the stories are very good, but on a whole I was underwhelmed. quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ajith | 2/18/2014

    " Tom Robbins to the T. Awesome. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meredith | 2/17/2014

    " Loved the Travel tales, thought the responses and most of the tributes were very well done, quirky and subtly profound. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bebe | 2/10/2014

    " Book on CD - Take a trip to the valley of vaginas........ only Tom Robbins could come up with that suggestion. Collection of short stories and misc. magazine articles. Wonderful stuff for a T.R. fan. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pete Tauber | 2/8/2014

    " Tom Robbins style, without the compelling characters, hippy philosophy, or juicy sex scenes. So, not exactly my cup of tea. It did give me a connection between him and reality though, as most of the topics in this collection of essays were written for magazines. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shiloh | 2/7/2014

    " Should stick to fiction methinks. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather Zibbel | 2/3/2014

    " I misread the cover and thought this was a collection of short stories. Oops. It's a collection of non-fiction work from various magazines and other mediums. Eh. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annelaurie | 1/27/2014

    " Yes, there you have it. Only 2 stars for this one. Found only one or two essays that were entertaining. The rest rather boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben | 1/19/2014

    " My intro to Tom Robbins was relatively tame, and I think I like it that way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob Russin | 1/16/2014

    " I was a little underwhelmed. Tom is still possibly my favorite person in the world, but his still is definitely more suited for novels, at least based on what he gave us here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tyler | 1/16/2014

    " The review of the Doors concert is a must read! I enjoyed this book immensely. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 kyric | 1/15/2014

    " fun to read after you've exhausted his other books. it gives a little insight into his odd mind. although, i can't say much for his poetry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sho | 12/27/2013

    " It was mostly a hit-and-miss until the final hundred pages, that I just loved. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Justin | 12/15/2013

    " Maybe a short story collection isn't the best introduction, but the Tom Robbins of this book is an insufferable tool. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 11/26/2013

    " Typical Robbins. Great exploration of the english language. Recommend only if reader has read something else by Robbins. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alcina | 11/20/2013

    " Loved many of the stories, but not all of them. However he has the most imaginative way with words. Reading Tom Robbins is an adventure in itself. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Elizabeth | 9/26/2013

    " Maybe I have read just too much Tom Robbins, but I had no interest in this book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B Jh | 4/26/2013

    " The first Tom Robbins book I read and a good introduction into his chaotic and colorful writing technique. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 linnea | 4/23/2013

    " not what I expected, and I know I was warned. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jamie | 3/30/2013

    " I didn't want essays. I wanted a novel, or Tom Robbins' idea of what a novel is. I realize he's getting old but can't he still write for us? And no, cute as it was, "B is for Beer" didn't count. Not even close. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy | 12/31/2012

    " A collection of his shorts/essays/etc. It can be tedious if you aren't utterly devoted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miriam B. Sayer | 11/1/2012

    " A collection of short stories, essays, etc from Tom Robbins. Hysterical, thought provoking, "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shana | 8/12/2012

    " This was a very uneven collection. Some was interesting, some not. Some as amusing as his fiction, some not at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ania | 3/13/2012

    " still classic tom robbins... but i like his ramblings too much for short stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tria | 2/19/2012

    " Love the short stories but the reviews are even better. A long time admirer of Tom Robbins this little sneak into his brain is rewarding. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erynn Aiello | 12/24/2011

    " This is probably a good book. Probably good writing. I've just never been able to get into Tom Robbins no matter how hard I try. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Delia | 7/9/2011

    " I read this while on a trip to Africa. I loved the variety of the stories, especially the story about traveling to Africa (shocking). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzi | 5/31/2011

    " He can write whatever he likes, I love him! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel | 5/7/2011

    " Nonfiction collection - better than his late fction, not as much fun as his early work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chorpenning | 3/31/2011

    " A fantastic collection of essays, poems, and various odds and ends by one of America's living masters. Includes a tribute to Joseph Campbell, which is how I came across Campbell's ideas for the first time. Also includes a beautiful essay about how great it is to live in the rainy northwest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacob | 3/31/2011

    " I love Tom Robbins, and the essays that made up this book were fabulous. Not as good as his fiction, but still well worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krista | 3/14/2011

    " You'll find all the beautiful language of Robbins here, just not the awesome stories of his novels. Really only for the superfan. Those people all must read the first piece Robbins wrote where he gained the voice we all know him for, a review of a Doors show he attended on LSD. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kara | 2/5/2011

    " I'll never look at a tomato sandwich the same way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 11/19/2010

    " Change of pace being short stories but as funny as evr. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeff | 11/9/2010

    " Here is a title truly only for big Robbins fans. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sean | 9/19/2010

    " Toms stories cant develop properly in the short story format. and I still cant appreciate poetry. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica | 9/1/2010

    " i just couldn't get in to it. I don't think Tom Robbins is for me "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 8/30/2010

    " constant chuckles. i missed tom in his hayday...catching up with him just like w/ hunter thompson and charles bukowski. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tyleranna | 7/6/2010

    " As a Robbins fan, it was great to read these short writings. A few were pretty spectacular and a few haven't held up as well to time, but all in all it was well worth the time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 5/22/2010

    " Collection of Tom Robbins writings mostly from the 80's and 90's. Howard recommended it and it was good. I like his perspective. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve | 4/15/2010

    " Not his best work, but an occasional good line to remind you why you liked his books so much. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Grrrr | 3/15/2010

    " A bummer. A waste of time. Rambling with a few moments of Tom Robbins uniqueness, but mostly just a burden to get through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abbigail | 3/5/2010

    " A Huge, let me repeat Huge fan of Tom Robbins, I was extatic to get my hands on this when it came out, just to be hugely disappointed. I love his deeply intricate detailed tales...but I cant stand short stories. no match to his full novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 3/4/2010

    " Standard Robbins stuff...which is to say that it totally blew my mind (as usual). I don't normally have to take notes, but his philosopy and word usage just throws me. I like that. I like using my brain while reading. Strange concept, I know. "

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