Wild Ducks Flying Backward: The Short Writings of Tom Robbins

Tom Robbins, Author . Bantam Dell $25 (257p) ISBN 978-0-553-80451-5

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)

Reviewed on: 07/11/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
Open Ebook - 164 pages - 978-0-553-90294-5
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-84243-171-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-2174-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-2175-1
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5180-4
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-0-553-38353-9
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