Still Life with Volkswagens

Still Life with Volkswagens

by Geoff Nicholson
     
 

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A comic novel celebrating road culture.
Throughout the land VW Beetles are spontaneously combusting. Nazi skinheads are cruising the streets and a millionaire tycoon and a weather girl have been kidnapped. It falls to Barry Osgathorpe to discover who is responsible.

Overview

A comic novel celebrating road culture.
Throughout the land VW Beetles are spontaneously combusting. Nazi skinheads are cruising the streets and a millionaire tycoon and a weather girl have been kidnapped. It falls to Barry Osgathorpe to discover who is responsible.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nicholson (Everything and More) hilariously reunites the cast of characters from his first novel, Street Sleeper, saddling them with varying degrees of obsession with Volkswagens. Charles Lederer, recently deinstitutionalized former member of Parliament, hitchhikes through England in a fugue state, discovering that ``wherever there's trouble, there's always a Volkswagen'' and concluding, therefore, that the Bug is ``quite clearly the car of the devil.'' Barry Osgathorpe, a Zen environmentalist loath to drive because of the pollution it causes, is propelled back into his souped-up black Beetle to search variously for Lederer, a missing Veedub collector and the cause of an epidemic of mysterious Volkswagen explosions. Phelan, a sinisterly charismatic retro-Nazi, leads a band of skinheads in a fleet of evilly customized Bugs on a demented hunt for the ultimate piece of Volkswagen memorabilia. Nicholson deftly adds more bizarre characters, all linked by their Volkswagen mania. In addition to his motley pit crew, Nicholson also crisscrosses their story lines with vignettes of famous Beetles-Bugs of Elvis, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and, the ur-Volkswagen fan, Adolf Hitler. The novel's pile-up finale has a bit of deus ex machina to it. But so what. It's a mad, mad, mad world, and Nicholson's satiric talent has enough horsepower to make thrilling a meandering ride to nowhere in particular. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The title of this new comic novel by the gifted British author of Hunters and Gatherers (LJ 10/1/94) is, of course, a takeoff on Tom Robbins's Still Life with Woodpecker (LJ 10/1/80), and the chapter headings are similarly full of witty allusion: "Bonfire of the Volkswagens," "A Book of the Volkswagens," "Volkswagen Descending a Staircase." Nicholson's hilarious tale of obsession, in which everyone from Adolf Hitler to Charles Manson makes a cameo appearance, features a gang of Beetle-driving skinheads and centers on one Barry Osgathorpe, a.k.a. Ishmael the Zen Road Warrior, who puts the pedal to the metal to find out who's been going around blowing up his beloved VWs. It's a wickedly funny read from beginning to end that invites comparison with the best of Robbins and both Amises. Highly recommended.-David Sowd, formerly with Stark Cty. District Lib., Canton, Ohio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780879516949
Publisher:
Overlook Press, The
Publication date:
09/01/1996
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.18(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Geoff Nicholson is the author of twenty books, including Sex Collectors, Hunters and Gatherers, The Food Chain, and Bleeding London, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. He divides his time between Los Angeles and London

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