Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Still Life with Woodpecker

Still Life with Woodpecker

4.4 130
by Tom Robbins

See All Formats & Editions

Still Life with Woodpecker is sort of a love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes. It reveals the purpose of the moon, explains the difference between criminals and outlaws, examines the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism, and paints a portrait of contemporary society that includes powerful Arabs, exiled royalty,


Still Life with Woodpecker is sort of a love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes. It reveals the purpose of the moon, explains the difference between criminals and outlaws, examines the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism, and paints a portrait of contemporary society that includes powerful Arabs, exiled royalty, and pregnant cheerleaders. It also deals with the problem of redheads.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Robbins’s comic philosophical musings reveal a flamboyant genius.—People

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:

Read an Excerpt

If this typewriter can't do it, then fuck it, it can't be done.

This is the all-new Remington SL3, the machine that answers the question, "Which is harder, trying to read The Brothers Karamazov while listening to Stevie Wonder records or hunting for Easter eggs on a typewriter keyboard?" This is the cherry on top of the cowgirl. The burger served by the genius waitress. The Empress card.

I sense that the novel of my dreams is in the Remington SL3--although it writes much faster than I can spell. And no matter that my typing finger was pinched last week by a giant land crab. This baby speaks electric Shakespeare at the slightest provocation and will rap out a page and a half if you just look at it hard.

"What are you looking for in a typewriter?" the salesman asked.

"Something more than words, " I replied. "Crystals. I want to send my reader armloads of crystals, some of which are the colors of orchids and peonies, some of which pick up radio signals from a secret city that is half Paris and half Coney Island."

He recommended the Remington SL3.

My old typewriter was named Olivetti. I know an extraordinary juggler named Olivetti. No relation. There is, however, a similarity between juggling and composing on my typewriter. The trick is, when you spill something, make it look like part of the act.

I have in my cupboard, under lock and key, the last bottle of Anais Nin (green label) to be smuggled out of Punta del Visionario before the revolution. Tonight, I'll pull the cork. I'll inject 10 cc. into a ripe lime, the way natives do. I'll suck. And begin--

If this typewriter can't do it, I'll swear it can't bedone.

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Still Life with Woodpecker 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 130 reviews.
Modern_Day_Philosopher More than 1 year ago
"Sharks are the criminals of the sea. Dolphins are the outlaws." Most people view outlaws as outlandish and destructive people, but only few have been able to phonetically explain what depth and "laws" an outlaw must live by. In the story Still Life with a Woodpecker written by Tom Robbins, he is remarkable in his ability to make such deep ideas come out at a humorous level and yet still be thought of in a serious way. The story involves two abstract and opposite people who meet, love, and hate each other in a mere 3 pages. The characters, romance, and morals to this novel make it a classic. The main character is a woman named Leigh-Cheri, but she is no ordinary actually she is a princess living hidden in the United States. She strictly believes in peace amongst everything, and just wants no one to feel any harm. She lived in solitude for a while due to her miscarriage as a cheerleader at a football game, and in her embarrassment dropped out of school. Now the second character is known as the Woodpecker. He loves dynamite and feels that everything can be fixed if dynamite is used correctly. He lives outside the law, and feels that it is his duty to go against the government for government to exist. He is a very intellectual individual and strange man. He is quoted saying, "The lung of the smoker is a naked virgin thrown as a sacrifice into the god fire", which just shows his abstract views on things. I have never really been a fan of romance novels, but the romance in this is very different and deeper than most love we see in movies and shows. The Woodpecker and Princess meet at a peace fest in Hawaii under strange circumstances. He was trying to blow up part of the fest, but placed the dynamite in the wrong location. After she places him under citizen's arrest he woos her without even trying. It is very humorous how they both have very strong beliefs in different things and yet love overcame them. Although most themes within the story were underlying ones they were still apparent in the novel. For example, "Funny how we think of romance as always involving two, when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense" this was said by the Woodpecker when he had lost someone he loved. It really shows that a person can live without a partner as long as they love themselves. Also he talks about how outlaws are actually a necessity to society, but somehow not part of society. This really shows how our world is today if you think about it. In Conclusion, Still Life with a Woodpecker is a great read for anyone who loves an easy read with a deep story and an occasional laugh. I would highly recommend it.
judianne727 More than 1 year ago
I love this book. So far I have purchased atleast 3 copies and borrowed it twice (somehow mine keep disappearing.) It took me all of two days to read it, for the simple fact that I simply couldn't put it down. I adore Tom Robbins, and have also read Even Cowgirls, Another Roadside Attraction, and Fierce Invailds Home from Hot Climates; and I can honestly say that of them all, this book is my favorite and will always remain close to my heart.
alivalentine More than 1 year ago
Engaging in 'Still Life' should cure such ailments, if only temporarily (which is far better than Never, mind you). As an avid Robbins fan, I can confidentally say that 'Still Life' is my favorite book of his- if not my favorite book that I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The quirky, witty writing style, in a bit of a stream-of-consciousness form (yet not overly so), hooked me immediately, and the unique nature of the book, characters, and love story is brilliant. A truly remarkable read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this fable and romance set in the late 20th century, humorist Tom Robbins pulls out all the literary stops as he plays with language and narrative. He interrupts the story to sermonize and explain a bit too much for my taste. Still, I enjoy his unconventional style and countercultural mindset. Without giving any of the plot away, I think this unconventional book about a princess and an outlaw can be best summarized by what one of the lead characters says near the end: 'Ah, Leigh-Cheri, life is too short for us to be deprived of any one of its joys by the sad, sick androids who control laws and economics.' Indeed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
as with the first reviewer i agree, this book wasnt as great as his previous works. the only one that i have read besides still life with woodpecker is skinny legs and all and that book just resonated with exitement, thrill, and laughter. i found still life with woodpecker to be lacking in many areas of the storyline. for one thing, there wasnt any daffying style humor that i was accustom to know him having in his works. second, i found that the main character (leigh-cheri) was quite familar to another of his characters in a completely different novel (ellen-cherry charles). for those who are familiar with the latter character, as you are reading this book its sort of hard to get into the storyline of still life with woodpecker. another disappointment was the structure of the format of the book; mainly, the placements of a prologue, several interludes, and an epilogue. all of which are highly annoying and didnt seem best fitted in a tom robbins novel. they just didnt belong there. the constant mentioning of his Remington SL3 and whether or not it was up for the task of taking on such a story was just out of place. the way the interludes and god the end, it gave me the impression that he must of been drunk or on a hangover when he was actually working on this novel. all in all, i think that if a reader were to attempt to enjoy this novel that he/she should read this book within one or two sit ins. maybe that will change the pace and drama of the storyline and actually make the mentioning of the Remington SL3 seem relevant. its a quite funny storyline when you think about it but there were definitely room for that robbinesque swagger. there are still some questions that i would have loved to have seen pertinent to the outcome of the characters if they would have been incorporated within the story. maybe even making the fate of the constructed pyramid a little more interesting or maybe ending the story with them being rich, deaf, and as an ambassador to the Carefest/Argon convention. also keep in mind that this was a work that he published in 1980, when he was relatively finding himself as a writer and after ten years of evolving one of his most funniest/exhilirating/popular novels was published in 1991. in the end, its best if you read the book and see for yourself. you'll definitely find the woodpecker to be a very comical and vibrant character. p.s. whatever happened to leigh-cheri's love for ralph nader. it would have been so funny if he was mentioned as a proponent to pyramidology and had a crazy idea to have it incorporated as a white house department if he were elected into the next election, as well as the surreptitious govt. study of lunaception and whether the queen of england knew about it all along and carelessly gratifited herself with its discovery. you see, the possibilites of this storyline is endless......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gtgtb bbt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She sits coverring her ears
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Is something wrong?" She asked, notising her slight change in mood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hunts for a while
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*orange female tabby with white boots slows down* Hi!!! Im gingertail. Sorry tho. My question got answered.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Wait for me!" Grabbing her squirrel, she bounds over and pads beside him. (What's the question?)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jumps on her back"hi!!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*He sneaks in and spots a vole and pounces onto it and breaks its neck and pads out of the bushes in front of wolf heart and muffles a hello*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im sorry. Its not stupid its just that we had been here for a while and we didnt want anyone here. Thank you for leaving
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can i
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Last minute Reherses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*looks at everyone* It WAS 20. Dumb Shelby...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mgoodrich718 More than 1 year ago
Still Life With Woodpecker By Tom Robbins 4 Stars cross posted to Share A Shelf What a spectacularly wonderful month of reading this has been! This is a fairy tale of sorts. When fairy tales involve princess' and royalty, purity, romance, and being saved by an outlaw? Leigh Cheri is the princess, an environmental princess that is that takes up all the important causes. Her royal family is in exile in the northwest of the united states. She lives with her father the gambler, her mother the opera loving socialite and one loyal subject. Leigh Cheri is a fallen cheerleader who had an unfortunate outcome with her supposed prince charming culminating in her search for reliable contraception. Princess' are to be pure to marry a great prince and she can't do that without it. Especially given that she is of all things a redhead. Leigh Cheri goes on a trip in search of answers and a better way to live. Happier with good contraception and knowing how to make love stay. What happens while on the islands of Hawaii is mayhem. Running into Argons which believe redheads are the bane of existence. They are to blame for everything of course. Along comes the Outlaw, the Woodpecker. What secrets and answers does he hold? Will they live happily ever after? This book was very funny. Especially since I am of the redhead persuasion. I pondered the moon, romance, the environment and what's really important in this life. Quotes - "Don't you understand that you've been mutated by solar radiation acting upon the excessive sugars and sex hormones in your body? You can't fool the sun." "I asked Mr. Wrangle what you were like. He said you were hornet juice and rosebuds in a container of gazelle meat. He does speak colorfully, doesn't he?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lewabb More than 1 year ago
Mr Robbins is one of the most gifted writers alive today; almost too good. Perhaps he came from another planet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago