Thomas Pynchon wrote that Tom Robbins’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues “dazzled his brain,” calling it a “piece of working magic” and Robbins “a world-class storyteller.” Ever the raconteur, Robbins carries us along a magical wonder tour in this high-flying, Zen koan-like, and cinematic tour of some of the episodes in his journey through space and time. Loosely arranged chronologically, we travel with Tommy Rotten—his mother’s pet name for him—from his birth in Statesville, N.C., through his youth in Virginia—including a stint at Hargrave Military Academy—his meteorological training in the military, and his peripatetic pursuit of language and wonder. In San Francisco, three years before he starts his first novel, he “reaffirms his devotion to language, that magical honeycomb of words into which human reality is forever dissolving and from which it continually reemerges, having invented itself anew… a blue dolphin leaping from a sink of dirty dishes.” Along the way, Robbins offers flashes of enlightenment into the writing of each of his novels, from Another Roadside Attraction to Villa Incognito. He reveals that “all those pursuits of mine have been part and parcel of the same overriding compulsion: a lifelong quest to perpetually interface with the Great Mystery (which may or may not be God) or, at the very least, to further expose myself to wonder.” Master storyteller, indeed, Robbins calls us into his tales and with a wink and a nod, never lets us go until we’ve heard it all. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/24/2014 Release date: 05/27/2014 Genre: Nonfiction
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