Sunday, September 7, 2014

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

"Still Life with Woodpecker is a 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."

So, this was recommended by a friend (incidentally, the same one who gave me Good Omens, so I tend to trust her judgment. This one did pretty well, too). Remember when I said Kurt Vonnegut required a certain type of person to enjoy his stuff? Yeah, that's what's going on here, too. Even more so, if possible. That's not to say it wasn't good--it was. It was pretty unexpected, from every angle, but funny and with some spot-on themes presented very uniquely. The characters were all very colorful, though admittedly none were really completely sympathetic. The problem was just that their choices and actions were, every once in a while, a bit strange or not understandable. The friend who lent me this explained it perfectly: something about a Tom Robbins book just gives you a faint suspicion that you might not like the author very much if you met in person. That's the best way I can find to form it into words. But that's not to say that it was an unenjoyable book, on the whole. He has an interesting relationship with the English language and metaphors/similes that captures things unexpectedly and perfectly (it only occasionally strays into weird nonsense) and there are some really priceless themes in it. Overall, it's a book about a redheaded princess living in Seattle, the redheaded bomber she falls in love with, and the central question of how to make love stay. If you're into Kurt Vonnegut or surrealism, this might be a hit. I think it's one that you kind of just have to form your own opinion about... it's at Kettleson in the fiction section. Try it!

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