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Still Life with Woodpecker Paperback – April 1, 1990
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This is a story about a tarnished princess, an outlaw bomber with bad teeth, a scene stealing if somewhat undomesticated loyal servant, toads - both real and plastic, an exiled King and his "Oh-Oh, spaghetti-o" Queen, a CIA not-so-secret agent, an outraged Middle Eastern playboy, blackberries, Camels, Ralph Nader, pyramids and aliens from Argon.
What more could you possibly want in a book?
Tom Robbins has a genuine talent for words and puns, and those with active funny bones will be tickled throughout. His casual use of words like "slishy" and phrases like "I have a black belt in haiku" abound, to be discovered with unbridled delight.
This is a book to be enjoyed within one lunar cycle without fear of repercussions.
Robbins reminds me of Jonathan Lethem--a world-class author with a visionary imagination, a densely intellectual approach to writing, and a skewed worldview of epic proportions. Still Life is in reality pretty much an "average" Robbins novel, but that is in fact sort of like saying that the Hope Diamond is your "average" 80-carat diamond.
What sets Still Life apart for me is that, though written many years ago, it's totally contemporary. Ralph Nader is a major minor character--and what you see here about him is as relevant as it was when the book was written. The Woodpecker is essentially a professional bomber--but is he merely a criminal (terrorist?)or an outlaw (freedom fighter?)? There are Arabs as major characters--all in a state of internecine hostility. And the symbolic hooey--and there's plenty of it here--is as New Age as New Age gets, even though it predates New Age by an eon.
I'd read the book years ago and recently reread it and found it as engaging, thought provoking and quirkily amusing as ever. It's not many novels that can be a contemporary masterpiece of different decades. So, though there are better Robbins books out there, I definitely think Still Life with Woodpecker is a "must read" even today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Try to read it once every 5 years, or so. Keeps your heart open & the idea that tequila and Maui may be the most perfect combination. Yum!Published 1 month ago by Rachel
Quirky, fun, imaginative and downright bizarre. I loved it. I laughed all the way through. The story alone is absolutely wacky but yet it makes sense. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alisha A.
It's the third book of Tom Robbins that I have read. And even though I am still amazed by his extraordinary mastery of the English language (and that what makes this book a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The story is unconventional and interesting to read. Each character is very unique, but some chapters feel much like filler.Published 2 months ago by Dominique
Re reading after thirty years I remain in awe -- the more things change the more they rain the same. Still the best commentary on the human condition. Read morePublished 3 months ago by James West