Book #54

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. 

I loved and hated this book all at once. At times gorgeous and engaging, at others confusing and mind-numbing, I am truly at loss as to how I can clearly put my feelings into words.

Robbins tells the tale of a princess who meets an outlaw. He tells this piecemeal, with other elements bookending the love story. The other elements include Robbins himself making cameo appearances purely to complain about his typewriter, and pontification about matters of the heart, the moon, or humankind. The tale was great, the bookends were not.

He’s an engaging writer, and I loved the way he wrote. His metaphorical prose allowed me to make considerations from directions I’d never come from before, his plot devices raised many a smile, and his humour was electric.

I had many an issue with Robbins’ constant descriptions of our female protagonist’s nether regions. He tried to reach such a poetic apex that it just came off creepy and strange. One moment I was appreciating her for her vitality and urge to explore, the next I was eyeballs into her vulva. It’s the curse of the male writer.

Yeah, it was nice. It was just okay peppered with glorious moments. I can understand why this is hyped by romantics, but it’s just not anywhere near the masterpiece I was expecting.