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Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

October 20, 2008

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins is “A sort of a love story.”

There is a love story, and that is what holds all the randomness, such as redheads, Red Beards, miscarriages, cheerleaders, $20 million pyramids, sex, isolation, bombs, cocaine, Ralph Nader, and royalty together.

Did I mention Ralph Nader? If nothing else, I suggest one read this book because the protagonist has a thing for Ralph Nader. And by thing, I mean she both adores his ideas and wants to hump him.

Still Life is one of those postmodern treats where the author interacts with the reader. Robbins achieves this through occasional rants about his new electric typewriter, a Remington SL3. He isn’t sure about this newfangled device: he senses “the novel of my dreams is in the Remington SL3” (ix), but he can’t keep up with how fast it allows him to type. So if he gives up on the typewriter, and finishes his novel in longhand, does that mean this awesome book isn’t the novel of his dreams?

I haven’t read any of Robbins’ work besides this, so I can’t say if it gets better than this. But this book is pretty damn good. I didn’t want to put it down, for a few reasons:

1. The plot is entertaining with some good twists (even if some are predictable)
2. It is naughty; definitely not for the prude
3. Non-sequitur city
4. Those of the Ginger persuasion may be controlling human fate
5. What secret is the Camel pack trying to tell us?

The main question of the novel is “What makes love stay?” Princess Leigh-Cheri really wants to know. Can an outlaw bomber help her figure it out? You may be surprised. I was expecting the Princess to be scorned by the self-proclaimed outlaw Bernard (the Woodpecker), but it didn’t quite happen. Maybe outlaws are like cocaine, and that’s the lesson. You know you shouldn’t do it, but you can’t stop yourself. Because you are addicted.

Then again, I know nothing about cocaine… and nothing about dating Outlaws. One time this guy I dated returned a bicycle to Target claiming it was broken when really, he just got sick of riding it to work… and that’s the closest I’ve come to outlaw love.

So, back to the novel:
I recommend you read it. It is wholeheartedly enjoyable. I forgot to mention this, but there is an alien subplot.

KK

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One Comment leave one →
  1. The Chalange permalink
    November 27, 2008 6:06 pm

    Your breakdown of pluses of Robbins’ book makes it the first fiction book other than Raise High the Roof Beams by Salinger that I will have picked up in a long time.It was mostly the ‘non-sequitur city’ part.Humming birds are the only type of bird that fly backwards.

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