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Another Roadside Attraction

Another Roadside Attraction

4.2 57
by Tom Robbins

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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


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.

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

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

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.

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.

Brief Biography

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

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Another Roadside Attraction 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Sam Kirby More than 1 year ago
Good read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book turns Western civilization on its ear, without hurting it! It's been very difficult to read anything else since.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RF81 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Right behind 'Jitterbug Perfume' as my favorite Robbins novel, it's another quirky wild ride through the imagination of one of our best writers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.  
mrmodel-t More than 1 year ago
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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