Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

Tom Robbins, Author Bantam Books $23.95 (386p) ISBN 978-0-553-07625-7
Robbins (Skinny Legs and All; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) begins this disappointing novel just before Easter weekend, as commodities broker Gwen Mati-half-Filipina, half-Irish-is in her favorite Seattle bar, mourning the stock market's nosedive. A devout materialist, Gwen is concerned that an honest-to-goodness crash might expose some of her less-than-ethical maneuvers. By the time the market opens again on Monday, however, her life will be altered in ways she can't imagine. Among those promoting the changes are an obese spiritualist named ``Q-Jo,'' a pizzazzy character who exits too soon from the story; Larry Diamond, Robbins's requisite mystery man on a bike; and Andre, Europe's most notorious simian jewel thief. Devotees of the serious should avoid Robbins-this volume, for instance, contains discussions about extraterrestrials who take the form of amphibious humanoids and about the effect of eating asparagus on a person's urine. All of this is, for Robbins anyway, fairly safe territory-a quirky female protagonist undergoing life changes at the last minute-but something goes wrong here. The biggest problem may be Gwen herself: an unpleasant character, she's greedy, manipulative and without a trace of remorse. Though Robbins, who narrates to Gwen in the second person, can still put together clever turns-of-phrase (``Tim-buk-tu. One of the phonetic wonders of the world''; ``haughty as an unpaired chopstick''), he seems unable to distinguish details and characters worth hanging a plot on from those best discarded. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-553-37787-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 9 pages - 978-0-7871-0382-8
Paperback - 390 pages - 978-1-84243-036-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59040-207-8
Open Ebook - 264 pages - 978-0-553-89791-3
Paperback - 477 pages - 978-1-56895-091-4
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