Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

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Overview

When the stock market crashes on the Thursday before Easter, you - an ambitious, though ineffectual and not entirely ethical young broker - are convinced you're facing the Weekend From Hell. You don't know the half of it! This is, after all, a Tom Robbins novel. Obviously, before the market reopens on Monday, you're going to have to scramble and scheme to cover your butt, but there's no way you can anticipate the baffling disappearance of a 300-pound psychic, the fall from grace of a born-again monkey, or the ...
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Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

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Overview

When the stock market crashes on the Thursday before Easter, you - an ambitious, though ineffectual and not entirely ethical young broker - are convinced you're facing the Weekend From Hell. You don't know the half of it! This is, after all, a Tom Robbins novel. Obviously, before the market reopens on Monday, you're going to have to scramble and scheme to cover your butt, but there's no way you can anticipate the baffling disappearance of a 300-pound psychic, the fall from grace of a born-again monkey, or the intrusion in your life of a tattooed stranger intent on blowing your mind and most of your fuses. Over these fateful three days, you are jerked from one trial and one revelation to another; forced to confront things ranging from mysterious African rituals to legendary amphibians, from tarot-card bombshells to street violence, from your own sexuality to outer space. The weekend isn't from Hell, it's from Sirius the Dog Star. And by the time it's over, the glide path of your destiny has been knocked widely askew. You may or may not be a better person, you may or may not have found love, the world may or may not be a different place, yet cosmic connections have been established that cannot be broken. And as an indication of lust how strange it has all become, you - prosaic, materialistic, irritable you - are left with a complete understanding of the surprisingly serious phrase "half asleep in frog pajamas." According to the Los Angeles Times, "Trying to describe a Tom Robbins novel by summarizing its plot is like pointing to a snowflake and asking someone to grasp the concept of downhill skiing." Robbins's eagerly awaited sixth novel is no exception, but the foregoing provides a cursory peek at the narrative drift of a daring, entertaining, and illuminating reading experience. In Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, the author explores new terrain. As always, however, his prose is funny, wise, provocative, erotic, lyrical - and a little on the wild side. Longtime Rob

Startling, thoughtful and hilarious all at the same time, a Tom Robbins novel invites readers to laugh and to ponder; it stimulates them while it tickles their metaphysical fancies. And never has Robbins been in more magical form than with his latest triumph--an outrageous novel that begins on the day the stock market falls out of bed and breaks its back.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Robbins's latest tells of a Seattle commodities broker whose life is abruptly changed by a wild weekend with a handful of eccentrics. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Robbins offers a wild and wacky trip featuring, among other things, a stock market crash and various philosophies about meaning and the origins of cultures. Gwen, an endangered stockbroker, is involved with strait-laced Belford and his born-again monkey. When she is attracted to Larry-who has cancer and is currently between trips to Timbuktu-she must choose among the American dream, the Timbuktu alternate, and something else. The book is a whirlwind of mad incidents, semiprofound observations, and an endless supply of great lines. The author of Skinny Legs and All (LJ 3/1/90) has come up with a very funny book that might incite a bit of thinking as well as laughter. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/94.]-Robert H. Donahugh, formerly with Youngstown & Mahoning Cty. P.L., Ohio
Brad Hooper
This is an extraordinarily funny novel. At first it seems gimmicky. Robbins assumes the voice--the entire persona, in fact--of a 29-year-old Filipino woman by the name of Gwen Mati, a Seattle stockbroker, who must re-assess her material and psychological resources over the course of one weekend following a Black Thursday on the stock market. But soon we fall, hook, line, and sinker into her plight; the yarn has a genuineness, a warmth, a humor, and an incredibly compelling plot, which hold our attention to the end. So, anyway, the stock market has taken a nosedive, and even though brokers themselves aren't nose-diving out of windows, there is concern in the Seattle financial community about how to repair portfolios and reputations. In the midst of this grave concern, Gwen has a Thursday-evening-to-Monday-morning lesson in the weird side of sex and the puzzlement of love. Gwen's unwitting adventures during a weekend when she needs to be concentrating on emotional repair lead her from pillar to post and one strange character to another. Robbins' style is a knockout--"How typical of your luck that when you finally arrived in a position to poach your golden eggs, the goose had a hysterectomy"--and the pace is unrelenting; but most important of all, you come to love Gwen.
From the Publisher
"Tom Robbins continues to pour water on a dozing America...the author is one of the most inventive stylists writing today."— People

"One of the wildest and most entertaining novelists in the world."— Financial Times, London

"If (Jitterbug Perfume and Skinny Legs and All's) fuel-injected prose and far-out-in-left-field philosophy freaked you, then toddle back to Robert Fulghum, because Frog Pajamas is a scream in the same vein."—USA Today

"Rant on, Robbins; our carking, swinking, workaday world needs you."—Washington Post Book World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787103828
  • Publisher: NewStar Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/1994
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 9 Cassettes
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 1.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Robbins

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.

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.
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      1. Hometown:
        LaConner, Washington
      1. Date of Birth:
        July 22, 1936
      2. Place of Birth:
        Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    Read an Excerpt

    You kick off your shoes and flop onto the bed--landing, of course, among millions of mites. Had you any inkling that your bedding was alive with arthropodic crablets, chomping away on flakes of your dead skin, you would be so disgusted you would probably choose to lie on the floor. Yet every one of us, including the rich, the pious, and the royal of blood, sleeps each night in colonies of such mites. The ultimate witnesses, the most intimate voyeurs, these mites. What books they might author, what tales they could tell! Imagine the memoirs of a multitude of minuscule malcolm lowrys, expatriates in a martex mexico, soused on dandruff tequila, living and writing under the volcano of love. Jolted by mattress-quakes, buried by thigh-slides, swept away by flash floods of seminal lava, they cling to the linen with their petite pincers, recording with literary objectivity our orgasms, our fevers, our pillow talk, our dreams. Who knows more of our secrets? Who? Nightly, and often by day, they sail with us in the lunar barge, their flake steaks marinated in our tearwater, their breakfast boiled in our sweat, the winds of our farting at play in their hair. They are familiar with wife and mistress, husband and lover, hot-water bottle and fetish, favorite sitcom and favorite drug; have memorized confession, recrimination, prayer, delirium, and that sweet name we cry out in our sleep. Our babies are conceived--and born--in their midst; our parents--and someday we ourselves--die in what passes for their arms. Yes, all this but the mites do not betray us. If they gossip, it is only among themselves. Perhaps they see an order in our messy bed-lives--our tossings and turnings, moans andnightmares, snacks and snores and trading of partners--that we have not discovered yet. Perhaps they regard us as glorious, even; as agents of the raw miraculous, capable at any moment--not in spite of our folly but because of it--of a transcendence that exceeds transformance. As a rule, we do not sing in our beds. We have no need. The mites sing for us. Sing of us. They are our Greek chorus, our geek chorus, choirs of microscopic angels ever ready to dance on the head of a pin. Their appetites are ghoulish, their hunger divine. They are what they eat.


    Excerpt from a bedmite tome:

    Shortly before eleven on the night before Easter, our hostess, Gwendolyn Mati (fully clothed, unfortunately), lay herself down in our city to gather her wits, to collect her thoughts, to sort things out--things ranging from rectal cancer to sugary aromas, from missing friends to the possible demise of that powerful and enduring conviction that every generation of Americans could and would move beyond the social and economic station of its predecessor. However, being chaotic, overwhelmed, worried, frazzled, exhausted, severely disappointed yet strangely free, her various thoughts coagulated, her mind went to testpattern, and she slipped rather quickly into slumber. Within minutes, she commenced to dream. A voice spoke to her in her dream, spoke so loudly and distinctly (although it dragged its syllables contemptuously through its proboscis, in the manner of that bulbous old comedian on the late, late show) that we heard it above our traffic and crunching, as clearly as if it were there in the sheets. Startled, Ms. Mati reared up in bed. And in a low, wondering whisper, she repeated the statement we all had overheard.

    "The Fool's journey ends on Sirius C."
    Read More Show Less

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 34 )
    Rating Distribution

    5 Star

    (16)

    4 Star

    (11)

    3 Star

    (3)

    2 Star

    (3)

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    (1)

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted January 13, 2000

      Read this before going into the financial industry

      Over the holidays, I met a young man on the cusp of graduating from an Ivy Leauge University. He came on with the grease of a used car salesman, telling me that he had just gotten a job with one of those financial companies where people make thier first million within two years. The strange thing about him was that he was also a philosophy major with a wounderful backgroud and intersting ideas about the human soul... then he talked about money again. I sugested this book to him. It should be required reading for people in his life condition. A book about the soul of a philosoher/poet/artist existing within the brain of a financial genius... and a wanna be financial genius. A great book for anyone devoted to the wrong line of work. A great book for anyone with a soul. A great book for African frogs. A great book. Bon Voyage.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted April 23, 2013

      Loved this quirky romp

      A rollercoaster that twists and turns you around. My first Robbins book. If you like your inspiration delivered with a heaping pile of unrealistic realism, you'll enjoy this book.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 9, 2011

      Excellent

      This book hooked me on this Author. Excellent Read!

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    • Posted March 6, 2011

      Well, I won't forget it.

      I read this years ago, and I admire the artistry behind it and what the aurhor is trying to say. He does this well, so I give it four stars. It is unsettling to me though, and an unsatisfying read. Part of that is because it's in second person.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 5, 2007

      The cat's meow

      If you haven't read any Robbins before, might i suggest that you start with 'Even Cowgirls,' or the more accesible 'Another Roadside Attraction?' If not, feel free to dive right into yet another quirky and weirdly wondful Robbins book about the fringes of society. Highly recommended.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted September 26, 2002

      Amazing!!!!!

      This book opened up my eyes to so many things. It is a must read for anybody interested in interesting things concerning everything.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted April 1, 2002

      Delightfully interesting

      After the first paragraph, my interest was tweaked to the point that I couldn't put the book down. I had to go out and read the others just to make sure this wasn't a fluke.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted April 6, 2001

      Boo!

      This is the first Tom Robbins novel I ever read (in June 2000). I didn't even THINK about touching another one of his works until March 2001, when my then-director told me to give him another try. The novel ends just as the plot is getting intersting. It's almost like Robbins decided to write his book about his characters' backstory. Save your time and money for the far superior Jitterbug Perfume.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 20, 2000

      Wonderful! Unexpected.

      Entertaining.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews

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