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Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life

Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life

4.1 13
by Tom Robbins

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Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe.

Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels—including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates—provide an


Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe.

Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels—including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates—provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.

In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward, stitching together stories of his unconventional life, from his Appalachian childhood to his globetrotting adventures —told in his unique voice that combines the sweet and sly, the spiritual and earthy. The grandchild of Baptist preachers, Robbins would become over the course of half a century a poet-interruptus, an air force weatherman, a radio dj, an art-critic-turned-psychedelic-journeyman, a world-famous novelist, and a counter-culture hero, leading a life as unlikely, magical, and bizarre as those of his quixotic characters.

Robbins offers intimate snapshots of Appalachia during the Great Depression, the West Coast during the Sixties psychedelic revolution, international roving before homeland security monitored our travels, and New York publishing when it still relied on trees. Written with the big-hearted comedy and mesmerizing linguistic invention for which he is known, Tibetan Peach Pie is an invitation into the private world of a literary legend.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Dwight Garner
The story of how Tom Robbins became Tom Robbins is a pretty good one, and in relating it, he's written his best book in many years. Tibetan Peach Pie should be sold in one of those marijuana vending machines now extant in Colorado. Like them, it provides an afternoon's affordable buzz.
Publishers Weekly
★ 03/24/2014
Thomas Pynchon wrote that Tom Robbins’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues “dazzled his brain,” calling it a “piece of working magic” and Robbins “a world-class storyteller.” Ever the raconteur, Robbins carries us along a magical wonder tour in this high-flying, Zen koan-like, and cinematic tour of some of the episodes in his journey through space and time. Loosely arranged chronologically, we travel with Tommy Rotten—his mother’s pet name for him—from his birth in Statesville, N.C., through his youth in Virginia—including a stint at Hargrave Military Academy—his meteorological training in the military, and his peripatetic pursuit of language and wonder. In San Francisco, three years before he starts his first novel, he “reaffirms his devotion to language, that magical honeycomb of words into which human reality is forever dissolving and from which it continually reemerges, having invented itself anew… a blue dolphin leaping from a sink of dirty dishes.” Along the way, Robbins offers flashes of enlightenment into the writing of each of his novels, from Another Roadside Attraction to Villa Incognito. He reveals that “all those pursuits of mine have been part and parcel of the same overriding compulsion: a lifelong quest to perpetually interface with the Great Mystery (which may or may not be God) or, at the very least, to further expose myself to wonder.” Master storyteller, indeed, Robbins calls us into his tales and with a wink and a nod, never lets us go until we’ve heard it all. (May)
“[Tibetan Peach Pie] bursts with enough joie de vivre to bewitch even the most present-shock-imprisoned 28-year-old and to snag the rest of us with Robbins’ far-out, feel-good sensibility and trademark helical, world-happy prose.”
Kirkus Reviews
The first memoir from the idiosyncratic novelist, who claims that if "it doesn't read like a normal memoir, that may be because I haven't exactly led what most normal people would consider a normal life." Indeed. The narrative—comprised of a series of vignettes from various points in the author's eventful life and appropriately spiked with deliciously mischievous language and philosophical musings—may be "somewhat subject to the effects of mnemonic erosion," but it is piquant and intriguing nonetheless. In roughly chronological order, Robbins (B Is for Beer, 2009, etc.) covers his childhood in Blowing Rock, N. C.; his move to and residence in Richmond, Va., in which he discovered and thrived in the one enclave in town not considered ultraconservative; his time at Hargrave Military Academy and two years at Washington and Lee; his experiences in the Air Force as a meteorologist in Korea and at Strategic Air Command in Nebraska; his post at the Richmond Times-Dispatch; his move to Seattle and eventual assumption of the position of arts critic at the Seattle Times; and his brush with the FBI, who thought he might have been the Unabomber. As can be expected from Robbins, each short section is subject to digressions and thoughtful pauses, only a few of which linger a bit too long. His chronicle of the writing and publication of Another Roadside Attraction (1971) does not occur until nearly halfway through the book, and the author glides through the rest of his oeuvre (Still Life with Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume et al.) with less reflection. Most readers, even die-hard Robbins fans, won't mind, however. They will enjoy this peek into the intelligently goofy and always fertile mind of this inventive writer, who riffs on everything from women and drugs to the publishing industry, conceptions of spirituality and the countless culinary wonders of kimchi. The author's detractors will likely find fault, but this is a fitting cap to a sui generis career, equally satisfying in short installments or read straight through.
Shelf Awareness
“Perhaps the only aspect more impressive than Robbins’s ability to imbue a lifetime of interesting anecdotes with an additional layer of introspection is his trademark style [...]earthy and conversational yet simultaneously intellectual. Fans and newcomers alike will guffaw and marvel at this most extraordinary life
Booklist (starred review)
“Robbins continues to embody Zen coolness and bohemian charm.”
Washington Post
Tibetan Peach Pie is a late, welcome gift from a philosopher-novelist who continues to believe in the transformative qualities of ‘novelty, beauty, mischief and mirth’ - qualities apparent on every page of this lively, large-hearted book.”
Seattle Times
Tibetan Peach Pie is a gift to his fans, the story of a man who had the sense to follow where his imagination led… How lucky for his readers that we got to tag along for the ride.”
O magazine
“The author of such off-kilter bestsellers as Still Life with Woodpecker has written a rollicking reminiscence of his Appalachian upbringing, his spiral through the psychedelic ‘60s, and his unconventional path to literary stardom.”
NPR Books (Online Review)
“Beautiful... Robbins has never met a pun, a blissfully crooked analogy, a magician’s bit of verbal trickery that he didn’t love… He knows words the way a pool hustler knows chalk.”
“As in his many novels, [Tibetan Peach Pie] is buoyed by a palpable sense of the fun Robbins is having with language, in all of its rhythmic and poetic possibilities.”
USA Today (Online Review)
“Wacky, wonder-filled… The fiction master of our times, Thomas Pynchon, once called Robbins a brain-dazzling ‘world-class storyteller.’ Now in his 80s, he still is, even in telling his own story.”
“Hallucinatory and conversational… intertwined with many fun and interesting tales... This is what happens when you let Tom run.”
AARP Magazine
“If you’ve read any of his quirky best-sellers, such as Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, you’ll scarf down this account of Robbins’ Appalachian childhood, his life on the wild, wonderful West Coast in the 1960’s and his world travels.”
Tampa Bay Times
“He’s never lost that voice, and it’s the star of this memoir.”
Seattle Weekly
“Robbins is king of the sidewinder simile, the mixologist’s metaphor. No other popular writer of our time depends as he does on pure verbal dazzle, or delivers as reliably on the deal.”
“Haphazardly ricocheting-but without exception entertaining.”
Santa Fe Pasa Tiempo
“Robbins writes beautifully… In works of pure imagination, like his novels, his style suits the material… A damned satisfying trip to the moon.”
Daily Californian
“Charmingly offbeat… unconventionally literary. [Robbins] excels at compositional oddity, brandishing the creative and the humorous… [Tibetan Peach Pie] is an amusement park of allusions and madcap stories.”
San Francisco Book Review
“For the lover of words and wordplay, humor, and creative and high flying imagination, there is no contemporary writer any better.”
“A perfect bookend to Tom Robbins’ oeuvre, an opportunity to finally catch a glimpse behind this magician’s curtain.”
Houston Chronicle
“At his best, Robbins writes prose that flows like he’s having a blast putting it all down as fast as he can think it.”
Washington Independent Review of Books
Tibetan Peach Pie is vintage Robbins. It’s pyrotechnic in language, labyrinthine in logic, daunting in voice, threaded with his wonderfully esoteric wit… Authentically charming… profound. ”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Readers will enjoy immersing themselves in [Robbins’] adventuresome life, from his remarkably unsupervised childhood to his free and easy adulthood. Tibetan Peach Pie… is a welcome antidote to our current era of helicopter parenting and disciplined conformity and rules, rules, rules.”
“…haphazardly ricocheting—but without exception entertaining.”
Portland Book Review
“Fans of Tom Robbins, the person, the novelist, the introspective jokester and the gifted storyteller, will love this book. It truly is a gem.”
Library Journal
★ 04/15/2014
The imagination behind Still Life with Woodpecker; Skinny Legs and All; Villa Incognito; and a children's book about beer (B Is for Beer), is now the subject of Robbins's newest collection. Although the author insists that this is not a memoir, he admits that "it waddles and quacks enough like a memoir to be mistaken for one if the light isn't right." At any rate, it is an account of the "absolutely true" events of Robbins's life: his early childhood in rural Appalachia; his stint in Korea, in which he sold toiletries on the black market and unwittingly supplied Communist China with Colgate toothpaste; his many loves and marriages; and his path to writing and to the Pacific Northwest. Spanning more than seven decades, and regions as geographically and culturally diverse as Greenwich Village and Omaha, Robbins's life is a metonymy for the 20th-century American experience: the Depression, war, racism, jazz, the psychedelic Sixties—it's all here. VERDICT Memoir or not, the form suits Robbins's digressive style, philosophical musings, and self-deprecating humor. Each piece stands on its own, but when read side by side they develop into a powerful argument about magic and the necessity of imaginative, interior worlds. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/13.]—Meagan Lacy, Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Indianapolis Libs.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Tom Robbins was born in North Carolina in 1932 and raised in Virginia. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, he moved to Seattle to do graduate work at the University of Washington. His internationally bestselling works include Still Life With Woodpecker, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, Jitterbug Perfume, Skinny Legs and All, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, Villa Incognito, and B Is For Beer. Robbins lives with his wife, Alexa D'Avalon, and their dog, Blini Tomato Titanium, in Washington State.

Brief Biography

LaConner, Washington
Date of Birth:
July 22, 1936
Place of Birth:
Blowing Rock, North Carolina

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Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found Robbins writing style to be engaging, intelligent, and irreverent with a quick wit that grabs you and won't let go
okieguy More than 1 year ago
Just about to finish this amazing book. Why so slow? I want to savor every moment of Tom's incredible description and surprises in his life for as long as possible. It is not only an autobiography but gives insights and ah-ha moments into mine. Tom is an amazingly off the wall (love that about him) writer and I find myself smiling and laughing out loud with almost every word I read. If you are looking for something different and/or an affirmation that "thinking outside the box" is truly a gift then this book will exceed your expectations. Enjoy - I am!
zenguy More than 1 year ago
Thoreau said most men lead lives of quiet desperation. Not Tom Robbins! A vastly entertaining narrative!
donxtheWay More than 1 year ago
Wow Tom, way too revealing. Your going to have me walkingh around naked and reaching for the stars. Short chapters in the style of Braughtigan and electrified with a quest for enlightenment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fresh reminder of what was once expressed by the author in "Another Roadside Attraction", (paraphrasing) "Logic gives man what he needs, magic gives him what he wants".
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the Overview and because it is hot off the press there isn't any Rate and Review as of yet.Well now there is one of course if you want to call it that.Things may change once there is more info.But for now"FIVE THUMBS DOWN".>>>>>>>>> Granny B.