Another Roadside Attraction [NOOK Book]

Overview

What if the Second Coming didn’t quite come off as advertised? What if “the Corpse” on display in that funky roadside zoo is really who they say it is—what does that portend for the future f western civilization? And what if a young clairvoyant named Amanda reestablishes the flea circus as popular entertainment and fertility worship as the principal religious form of our high-tech age? Another Roadside Attraction answers those questions and a lot more. It tell us, for example, what the sixties were truly all ...
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Another Roadside Attraction

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Overview

What if the Second Coming didn’t quite come off as advertised? What if “the Corpse” on display in that funky roadside zoo is really who they say it is—what does that portend for the future f western civilization? And what if a young clairvoyant named Amanda reestablishes the flea circus as popular entertainment and fertility worship as the principal religious form of our high-tech age? Another Roadside Attraction answers those questions and a lot more. It tell us, for example, what the sixties were truly all about, not by reporting on the psychedelic decade but by recreating it, from the inside out. In the process, this stunningly original seriocomic thriller is fully capable of simultaneously eating a literary hot dog and eroding the borders of the mind.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Come on in to Captain Kendrick's Memorial Hot Dog Wildlife Preserve (a roadside attraction only bestselling Tom Robbins could invent)--things are going to get outrageous! Published to coincide with Robbins' new release, Skinny Legs and All.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Written with a style and humor that haven't been seen since Mark Twain . . . it is a prize."—Los Angeles Times

“Hard to put down because of the sheer brilliance and fun of the writing. The sentiments of Brautigan and the joyously compassionate omniscience of Fielding dance through the pages garbed colorfully in the language of Joyce.”—Rolling Stone

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553897883
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/17/2003
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 110,945
  • File size: 457 KB

Meet the Author

Tom Robbins has been called “a vital natural resource” by The Oregonian, “one of the wildest and most entertaining novelists in the world” by the Financial Times of London, and “the most dangerous writer in the world today” by Fernanda Pivano of Italy’s Corriere della Sera. A Southerner by birth, Robbins has lived in and around Seattle since 1962.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Biography

So much mythology swirls around Pacific Northwest novelist Tom Robbins that sorting fact from fiction is a daunting challenge. Born Thomas Eugene Robbins in 1936 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, he was raised from age 11 on in a suburb near Richmond, Virginia. He attended Washington and Lee University but did not graduate. Instead, he quit college and spent a year hitchhiking, settling for a while in New York City.

Robbins enlisted in the Air Force in 1957, just one step ahead of the draft, and served three years in Korea. Upon discharge, he moved back to Virginia to attend art school at Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University), graduating in 1961. During this time he worked as a copy editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

According to Robbins, the South's hidebound racism -- perfectly mirrored in the newspaper's policy -- prompted him to move as far away from Richmond as possible "while still remaining in the continental United States." He ended up in Seattle in the early 1960s, enrolled in the University of Washington to pursue his Masters, and went to work for the Seattle Times. If we are to believe the story, it was around this time that he first sampled LSD (not yet an illegal substance). Blown away by the experience, he chucked both grad school and his job at the paper and spent the rest of the decade bouncing between the East and West Coasts -- writing, working as a DJ in alternative radio, and partaking liberally of the countercultural smorgasbord of the day.

Towards the end of the '60s, Robbins began working seriously at his writing, culminating in 1971 with the publication of his first novel, the comic absurdist tale Another Roadside Attraction. A failure in hardcover, it nevertheless sold well as a paperback, prompting publishers to release his next book -- 1976's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues -- in both formats simultaneously. Although he has not been a hit with most mainstream critics, Robbins has achieved rarified cult status with successive generations of 20-somethings who adore his goofy, upbeat satirical fiction. He claims to never read reviews but is pleased to have enjoyed a steady string of bestsellers starting with Still Life with Woodpecker in 1980. In 2005, he produced Wild Ducks Flying Backward, a volume of shorter works, including poems, stories, essays, articles, and reviews.

Rumor has it that Robbins polishes each sentence to perfection before moving on to the next. Whether or not that's true, he does admit to being a slow writer -- and to needing a long period of rest and recuperation (usually involving travel to some exotic place) in between books. All of which explains why his output is surprisingly slender, especially for a writer who inspires such passionate, fanatical devotion!

Good To Know

Here are some fun facts (and perhaps some fun fiction, as well!) about Tom Robbins:

  • An accomplished artist, Robbins is one of only a handful of writers to have cover design built into their book contracts.
  • When Elvis Presley died of an overdose in his bathroom on August 16, 1977, there was rumored to be a copy of Another Roadside Attraction on the floor beside him.
  • While working as a journalist and DJ in Washington state, Robbins attended a 1967 Doors concert in Seattle. He claims that the origins of his unique writing style can be found in that piece.
  • Robbins has enjoyed friendships with a group of widely people, from '60s countercultural icons like Alan Ginsberg and Timothy Leary to mythologist Joseph Campbell (with whom he once traveled to South America.
  • Robbins has appeared in several films, including Made in Heaven, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Breakfast of Champions, and Gus Van Sant's 1993 adaptation of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.
  • Read More Show Less
      1. Hometown:
        LaConner, Washington
      1. Date of Birth:
        July 22, 1936
      2. Place of Birth:
        Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    Read an Excerpt

    The magician's underwear has just been found in a cardboard suitcase floating in a stagnant pond on the outskirts of Miami.  However significant that discovery may be—and there is the possibility that it could alter the destiny of each and every one of us—it is not the incident with which to begin this report.

    In the suitcase with the mystic unmentionables were pages and pages torn from a journal which John Paul Ziller had kept on one of his trips through Africa.  Or was it India?  The journal began thusly:  "At midnight, the Arab boy brings me a bowl of white figs.  His skin is very golden and I try it on for size.  It doesn't keep out mosquitoes.  Nor stars. The rodent of ecstasy sings by my bedside."  And it goes on:  "in the morning there are signs of magic everywhere.  Some archaeologists from the British Museum discover a curse.  The natives are restless.  A maiden in a nearby village has been carried off by a rhinoceros.  Unpopular pygmies gnaw at the foot of the enigma."  That was the beginning of the journal.  But not the beginning of this report.

    Neither the FBI nor the CIA will positively identify the contents of the suitcase as the property of John Paul Ziller.  But their reluctance to specify is either a bureaucratic formality or a tactical deceit.  Who else but Ziller, for God's sake, wore jockey shorts made from the skins of tree frogs?

    At any rate, let us not loiter in the arena of hot events.  Despite the agents of crisis who dictate the drafting of this report, despite the spiraling zeitgeist that underscores its urgency, despite the worldwide moral structure that may hang in the balance, despite that, the writer of this document is no journalist, nor is he a scholar, and while he is quite aware of the potential historical importance of his words, still he is not likely to allow objectivity to nudge him off the pillar of his own perspective.  And his perspective has its central focus, the enormity of public events notwithstanding, the girl: the girl, Amanda.


    From the Trade Paperback edition.
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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 56 )
    Rating Distribution

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    3 Star

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    (3)

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted December 20, 2011

      The stunning opener of Tom Robbins' career, and still my personal favorite

      I first read "Another Roadside Attraction" as a teenager in the late 70', (before I'd smoked my first joint even!). Whole files of it's indisputable intelligence have resided in my mind, and thousands of wisps of its indestructable emotional morality have floated around my soul, since. Amanda's final words to Marx Marvelous have come to save the day at several agonized junctures in my path. Passages describing John Paul Ziller's musical philosophy resonated so strongly with my instincts as to give me an unbreakable yet flexible outlook I carry with me onstage every time I perform.

      As a novel, ARA has it all: a driving central plot, extremely rich characters, multiple themes (authority vs. individuality, magic as a practical tool for everyday life, the vast extent yet eventual limitations of rationality, the enormous consequences of official mythmaling, etc). Through it all laughs the ummistakable voice of Robbins, shown in full flower to a global audience for the first time in this book. As he usually did through his earlier works, Robbins even self-indulgently (as Charlie Kaufman does decades later with his screenplay for "Adaptation") writes himself into the rollercoaster proceedings, with surprisingly happy results.

      I reread ARA every 5 to 10 years, and while I do still find new angles from time to time, the experience is usually more like returning to your hometown at Christmas, only to find that your high-school buddies have been learning and growing at least as much as you have, and are maybe even more fun to ne with now. If you've already read other Robbins novels but skipped this one, pick it up & see how it all started, with most of the traits you know & love already there on the page. If you've read it already, pick it up again; its as good as you remember. And if you've yet to be exposed to Robbins, I highly suggest you make it happen, and that you start here!

      3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 2, 2005

      1970s Redux

      Copyrighted in 1971, during the troubled days of hippies, mind altering drugs (LSD was legal) 'God is dead' pronouncements, and massive distrust of our federal government, the novel is populated with strange-behaving characters given names such as Nuclear Phyllis, Nearly Normal Jimmy, Plucky Purcell and a domesticated, babysitting, checker playing baboon, named Mon Cul. One might think these were entirely fabricated monikers, however, my older brother (Crazy Brother Pat) who inhabited a commune during this same period, had friend's named Tommy Tornado and Spurt. Just, 'Spurt'. Barely dated by the three decades since it was penned, the book wears well on the reader and gives a damn good taste of just how screwed up we were in those days searching for mystical or drug driven answers to our questions. (In those years I honestly believed that the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band dinner-plate-sized, black, grooved phonograph album, had all the answers I needed.) In this novel, artist, musician, and magician, six foot, six inch, John Paul Ziller, adorned simply with only nose-bone and lion-cloth and overbite-burdened Amanda (psychic, mushroom and butterfly expert) and her bright-eyed infant son Thor, romp through the emerald green and sodden Washington State backwoods. Using John Paul's immense artist income they lease and then remodel an abandoned roadside cafe fitting its roof with a custom painted (by JPZ) thirty-foot long hot dog and stuffing the insides with wieners, steam warmed buns, snakes, a costumed flea circus and, around page 247 . . . a Corpse in the pantry.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 19, 2011

      Attention - open minded people!

      Great book! You would've thought the religious backdrop was happening today instead of 40 years ago. Robbins is a fantastic author when it comes to portraying colorful characters you can envision in your mind, making his books classics for generations to come.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 31, 2004

      Another Roadside Attraction

      this book was great for all those introspective people out there who are pissed off at religion and the Church in general but have no way to express it. i was one of them, but after reading this my paradigm shifted, and i'm more at peace with everything now, somehow. i know it's cheesy to say that this book changed my life, but really, what book doesn't change your life, at least a little? easy to read, and it draws you in with its quirkiness from the first page and its blatant and unforgiving sexuality. a true sagittarian, this book will leave you reeling.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted June 4, 2011

      Loved it.

      Good read!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 17, 2007

      her lisp.

      Amanda, her green eyes and her lisp changed my life forever. I read this book 2 years ago and I still think about her almost everyday.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 2, 2006

      My second favorite

      While I loved this book and always will, Robbins's EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES for me is his best work. This novel comes in a strong second. ANOTHER ROADSIDE ATTRACTION is by far one of the funniest and most memorable books I've ever come across. It's going to make some angry--the religious right probably--but then, if a book doesn't disturb you on some level it's not worth reading, in my opinion.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 8, 2000

      Pagan Primer

      This book turns Western civilization on its ear, without hurting it! It's been very difficult to read anything else since.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 9, 2000

      Fuel for the Open Mind

      Although the subject matter may seem initially to be offhanded and offensive to some, this wonderful book not only builds faith by testing it but bombards the reader with well-placed and well-spoken humor throughout. Truly a must read.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted December 17, 2014

      Robbins' characters are so fantastical and his storyline so uniq

      Robbins' characters are so fantastical and his storyline so unique, I try to imagine how someone could possibly summarize one of his books in a "Cliff's Notes" sort of thing?

      This is my second favorite of his novels ("Jitterbug Perfume" being the first.)  But ALL of his writing is highly recommended.  It's genius.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 16, 2014

      Right behind 'Jitterbug Perfume' as my favorite Robbins novel, i

      Right behind 'Jitterbug Perfume' as my favorite Robbins novel, it's another quirky wild ride through the imagination of one of our best writers.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 28, 2014

      A classic, like everything else Tom Robbins has written.  For me

      A classic, like everything else Tom Robbins has written.  For me, this one runs a close second to Robbins' "Jitterbug Perfume."  A master of the art of language, Robbins will delight you page after page after page.  

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    • Posted April 26, 2014

      more from this reviewer

      Unreadable

      Exercising extreme discipline I managed to get to page 80 before I abandoned this book. I'm sure there is a plot but I was unable to find it. The author clearly wrote for a specific audience and tried to reflect a different time and I'm ashamed I wasn't either.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 18, 2000

      believable

      considering how whacked out this tale really is... i believe it could happen. no matter what the plot was, amanda's mindset was mystical, natural, and beautiful. all that other stuff about the body was just a bonus.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 21, 2008

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted October 20, 2010

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted February 26, 2009

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 13, 2009

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 29, 2008

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 3, 2009

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