A single sentence from Robbins is worth the price of admission.” –Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
“Hilarious.”—New York Times Book Review
“A treat. Robbins is fearless, original, mind-expanding and funny as hell.”—San Diego Union-Tribune
Fans thirsty for books by Tom Robbins will welcome the arrival of this collection of his short stories, travel writings, essays, celebrity profiles, and poetry. This generous sampling exhibits Robbins at his eclectic, freewheeling best. The pieces appeared originally in Esquire, Harper's, The New York Times, Playboy, Life, High Times, and elsewhere. Topics include Thomas Pynchon, Ray Kroc, Picasso, talented waitresses, big-game hunting, and traveling with the Doors. Irrepressible fun.
The author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Still Life with Woodpecker has regularly published shorter pieces in Esquire, Playboy, the New York Times and elsewhere. The whimsical, quixotic nature of that work comes through in this hit-and-miss affair-one that remains woefully short on fiction, focusing mostly on the author's travel writing, essays, celebrity profiles and poetry. The best travel piece, "The Day the Earth Spit Wart Hogs," finds Robbins traversing a big game park in Tanzania. His commentary on the '60s, the legacy of burger mogul Ray Kroc and the prose of Thomas Pynchon remains trenchant and provocative; other pieces are dated to the point of irrelevance (his foreword to Terrance McKenna's 1992 The Archaic Revival). As a poet, Robbins is obvious and heavy-handed, but occasionally he hits the kind of mystical note that characterizes "Catch 28" and makes his florid imagery work. The fiction is brief and mostly forgettable. But an essay called "In Defiance of Gravity" starts as a riff on an obscure club and winds up being an ode to the combination of unconventionality and humor that define Robbins's career as a writer. Agent, Phoebe Larmore. (Sept. 6) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A cult novelist turns to nonfiction, some of it published for the first time. There's even an ode to the tomato sandwich. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The whirling dervish lit-hippie of Seattle fires off a shotgun-full of enthusiasms at whatever strikes his fancy-and occasionally hits. Novelist Robbins (Villa Incognito, 2003, etc.) is hardly the kind of writer to exercise restraint, and indeed a restrained Robbins wouldn't be any fun. But even just a little bit of Robbins can be too much, and the proof is in this collection of short fiction, nonfiction, ruminations and poems. The feast of stories included were originally mostly magazine pieces-for Esquire, GQ, Artforum, High Times, etc.-that span almost four decades. Robbins has a lot of likes, and what he likes he really, really likes. Take his spastic review of a Doors concert: "Their style is early cunnilingual, late patricidal...carnivores in a land of musical vegetarians." He can wax enthusiastic on everything from Wonder Bread and mayonnaise (two of the main ingredients of his last dinner, should he ever be on death row) to his rain-soaked hometown of Seattle. Sometimes it all gets drowned in tidal waves of excess. There are still some gems amid the hollering and clowning. On Leonard Cohen: "Nobody can say the word 'naked' as nakedly as Cohen. He makes us see the markings where the pantyhose have been." On Thomas Pynchon: "Pynchon has got both hands on the thunderbolt machine." He even makes a good travel piece out of a search for Nevada's legendary Canyon of the Vaginas. But then there's that awfully unfunny fake feature film treatment and all the poetry. Lord, the poetry. Fun for a time, but marred by the suspicion that Robbins may be trying too hard.