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Still Life with  Woodpecker
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Still Life with Woodpecker

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  58,025 Ratings  ·  2,284 Reviews
Still Life with Woodpecker is 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 che ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 277 pages
Published November 1st 1984 by Bantam Books (first published 1980)
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Who knows how to make love stay?
1. Tell love you are going to the Junior's Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half. It will stay.
2. Tell love you want a memento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your fac
Aug 18, 2008 Colinski rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Let me first tell you that I dislike modern jazz. You know the type: the free-form kind that only musicians can appreciate. I dislike it because it abandons all the structural qualities that I find appealing about old-fashioned jazz and is all about technical skill. What does this have to do with this book? The comparison came to me early on in reading this book which I begrudgingly forced myself to finish: I liken modern jazz to watching a performer masturbate musically on stage, getting off on ...more
I first read this book in 1981 or thereabouts when I was married to my first husband. I had three children and felt completely trapped in a dangerously toxic, dead-end relationship that I saw no way out of.

Still Life with Woodpecker, more than anything else, is about CHOICE. About using it, about the freedom it offers, and about being willing to accept the consequences for exerting it. Sometimes I would be reading and have to close the book up suddenly because I couldn't handle the implications
sweet jane
Jul 18, 2016 sweet jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Η Λη Τσέρι είναι μια έκπτωτη κοκκινομάλλα πριγκίπισσα που ζει στο Σηάτλ με τον έκτωτο τζογαδόρο βασιλιά πατέρα της και την έκπτωτη πάστα φλόρα βασίλισσα μητέρα της. Μετά από κάτι ερωτικές αποτυχίες δίνει όρκο σύνεσης και αγαμίας στον εαυτό της και αποφασίζει να κλειστεί στη σοφίτα του σπιτιού. Λίγο αργότερα μαθαίνει για την διεξαγωγή ενός συνεδρίου Γεωθεραπείας που λαμβάνει χώρα Μάουι της Χαβάης. Ωραίοι οι όρκοι και τα ρέστα, αλλά η περιβαλλοντολογική της συνείδηση είναι φλύαρη. Ξεκινάει για το ...more
Jun 27, 2007 Giambus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a yard sale
I learned that if you have red hair you can write a crappy book and people will love it. I could have written this book in college.

The jokes were forced, the premise was too ridiculous to take seriously, and the payoff was weak, weak, weak. It was little more than a sophmoric creative writing assignment taken, like, way too far.

Plus if you can't write female characters to be anything more then complex sexual fantasies you should just not even try. I got the sense that the lengthy passages disc
Leo Jacobowitz
As my lack of stars indicate, this book is ok. However, the Best thing about the book is the following quote - one of the most influential in my life:

"How can one person be more real than any other? Well, some people do hide and others seek. Maybe those who are in hiding--escaping encounters, avoiding surprises, protecting their property, ignoring their fantasies, restricting their feelings, sitting out the Pan pipe hootchy-kootch of experience--maybe those people, people who won't talk to redne
Oct 01, 2007 Jploof rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love each other
"The most important thing is love," said Leigh-Cheri. "I know that now. There's no point in saving the world if it means losing the moon."
Leigh-Cheri sent that message to Bernard through his attorney. The message continued, "I'm not quite 20, but, thanks to you, I've learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad. And the Beautiful Princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and onl
I remember over the years, I would come across Still Life with Woodpecker every now and then in bookshops and book bazaars. Each time, I would take it in my hands, read the backcover and put it back on the shelve. I don't know why, although it seemed interesting to me, something always stopped me from buying it. Of course I was aware of all the praise about it but that is never enough for me to want to read a book.

I think I get why it became such a big success all over the world. Its romantic an
Kristin Rose
gotta say... this is my favorite book of all time, expertly written... more like prose than an actual novel. who can resist a book whose first sentence is "if this typewriter can't do it, then fuck it, it can't be done!"
Aug 30, 2008 Mariah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book of all time. I used a quote from this book in my wedding vows. It is funny, silly, and romantic.
Jun 19, 2015 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like "quirk," people who want to get swept up in something a little unordinary
Edit, Jan 2013: Funny story, I'm one of those people who totally loves Tom Robbins now, in part for a bunch of the reasons that I decided I didn't like him originally. What can I say, tastes change, and I've come to respect him a ton--in part, for his incredible similes/metaphors, which are worth anyone who ever wants to write picking up one of his books for.

Original review:
I'm not one of those people who hates or loves Tom Robbins, which I guess puts me in the minority.

I'm a redhead, thus why I
Oct 03, 2007 Dale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ninth book I read on my commute in 2007. I read this right after Ulysses, as kind of a palate-cleanser, since Tom Robbins is pretty far from James Joyce. But I kept thinking as I read this one about how both it and Ulysses were so very much products of their respective times - Ulysses of Ireland in the 1930s, and Still Life with Woodpecker of the U.S. in the 1970s.

The example that amused me the most is that, in SLWW, a certain famous figure is held up with great reverence and love ... and th
May 30, 2014 Ariel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is like being invited over to someone's house for dinner, and finding that they're serving you a buffet of artisanal maraschino cherries they've made. At first you're like, "Oh, how whimsical!" Then you're like "Oh, and you flavored this one with cardamom! How clever of you." And then you're like "Oh, another one? I really shouldn't..." and as your host just keeps piling on artisanal maraschino cherries they crafted from hand telling you how each one corresponds to an orgasm by ...more
When my brother gave me this book for Christmas, he told me to "drink in the writing." Or something to that effect. Whatever it was, he heaped praise on Robbins' use of language. Several people in my family had read this, or some other Tom Robbins book, and they all enthusiastically agreed that reading him was a pleasure unto itself, above and beyond the enjoyment one gets from reading the actual story. I was promised an actual Reading Experience, and that promise was fulfilled in spades.

carri farrand
May 24, 2007 carri farrand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was the first robbins i ever read. i loved this book. the story is ridiculously wonderful. his writing style is light and fast. this is easy and fun stuff.

i do love how i was introduced to this book (and to the author). the summer before i moved to dc i was living in oklahoma city, living with my best friend and working for an environmental group going door to door collecting money and signatures. we usually traveled from okc to tulsa which also meant a meal on the road. one particular day
Jan 05, 2009 Chloe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Lovers, The Dreamers & Me
Shelves: fiction
Oh my goodness, how is that I always forget how much I love Tom Robbins? The man knows how to turn a phrase that is without equal in modern literature. If my funny bone could write love songs they would sound like him.

I find it hilarious that he writes constant asides about the typewriter that he's using, the Remington SL3. I can't tell if this is because the asides are actually funny or if it's because I have a long and storied history with that same beast of a machine. When I was young, eight
MJ Nicholls
Jun 22, 2011 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, merkins
Tonight I feel generous. Tonight I feel enchanted by the purpose of the moon. So tonight, I will allow four glittering stars to orbit this frustrating crank of a novel. Without parroting the sensible assertions from the hundred or so Goodreaders, let me be brief and say: I agree, in part, with every criticism and praise in some small way about Robbins. I do. And yes, this book does contain sentences like:

As he throbbed in her throat, pumping jet after jet of that steamy translucent mucilage with
Kathy Worrell  ツ
4.5 stars

Tom Robbins captures my mind and imagination in his quirky, eccentric, bizarre, and outlandish story of a Princess and her love interest.

I actually went to the dictionary to look up the word : Quirky. "Quirky" means lovable because of your faults, not in spite of them.

The perfect word for this story.

Tom Robbins is in a class all his own. His humor is closely related to Carl Hiassen, Tim Dorsey, John Kennedy Toole in his classic buffoonery, "A Confederacy of Dunces." (By the way, is m
May 17, 2016 Yasemin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yabancı-roman

Tom Robbins'i bir dönem ne çok sevdim. Sonra yavan gelmeye başladı ama müthiş hayalciliği ve derinliği beni hep kendisine hayran bırakmaya devam etti... Ağaçkakan da bu minvalde benim için çok özeldir..
Adam Floridia
May 17, 2012 Adam Floridia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-star-books
I expected crazy-weird-awesome:


So far it's:


To sum up, I looked forward to reading this and walked away very disappointed.

Not sure if I'll ever bother writing a proper review or quoting any of the god-awful similes, stupidly-inane tangents, or sententiously-prosaic truths.
Marilou K.
Jul 08, 2016 Marilou K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: όσους αντέχουν τρελές αφηγήσεις, άνω των 16-κάτω των 300 ετών
Πραγματικά....τι πίνει αυτός ο Ρόμπινς όταν γράφει;
Το λάτρεψα το βιβλίο! (πολύ καλύτερο απ' τη Villa Incognito που θεωρείται must)
Πραγματεύεται τον έρωτα μιας πριγκίπισσας με έναν παράνομο, τα βάσανα που τραβάει η πρωταγωνίστρια μας,όταν αναγκαστικά χωρίζουν και....άντε, δε λέω άλλα!
Τέλος πάντων, μέσα σ' αυτό το κατά τ' άλλα φυσιολογικό πλαίσιο, ο συγγραφέας φιλοσοφεί..πολύ...για το φεγγάρι, για εξωγήινους, για τη σχέση μας με τα αντικείμενα,για τη σημασία των Κοκκινομάλληδων...
Πολλά λέω!Διαβάστ
Mar 13, 2015 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness gracious where to begin with this one?

This thing was nuts, absolutely crazy ... or was it! I don’t know. It confused me, befuddled me, induced laughter and suppressed snickers at inopportune moments, made me cringe and blush at its crudeness and lewdness (over the years I’ve heard tons of street slang describing human genitalia but never before have I heard a vagina referred to as peachfish or peachclam), pushed me to reconsider 1970s U.S. history, conjured up images of Patty Hea
Feb 22, 2011 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robbins has one of the most unique narratives I've encountered. He's genuinely funny, witty, and shares a penchant for the absurd and punny. He's a wordsmith and throughout his writing one can't help but feel that he's full-force funneling a rabid faucet of clever and meaningless musings constantly streaming through his hyper-associative mind.

Woodpecker is, at heart, a take on a classic fairytale story disguised in an absurd set of characters and an abnormal setting. Robbins leads one through h
"‘Özgürlük kanunsuz hâle getirilince sadece kanun kaçakları özgür olacak.’ Bu, Anacortes'de görülmüş bir duvar yazısıdır ve ben bu lafa âşığım."

Ben de aşığım! Bu lafa değil belki ama, genel olarak, birisine ve birçok şeylere aşığım. Ve diyorum ki aşk üzerine yazılmış en harika şeydi bu okuduğum!

Tom Robbins'in bu pek ünlü, Remington SL3'ünden çıkma romanı nicedir aklımdaydı zaten, kısmet bir İstanbul-İzmir arasında okuyup bitirmekteymiş. Saçma sapan ilişkilerin yaşandığı, saçma sapan bir çağda aş
David Hartzheim
May 02, 2014 David Hartzheim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take a couple dozen or so running gags that have several hundred punchlines, add a liberal dose of rum-logic philosophy and you get the basic structure of Still Life With Woodpecker. Tom Robbins is a sit-down comedian with mostly good material. Maybe his schtick would get old, but he knows how to keep throwing in zingers at just the right times. Besides, how could you not like a writer who comes up with similes like “as ruddy and indiscreet as a plastic sack full of hickeys,” “ ...the stars were ...more
Oct 27, 2008 Meika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meika by: sarah
I've been trying to think of how to review this book, but the only things that come to mind are metaphors for other senses... it's hue saturation is high, and it's gritty, bluesey and edgy the way Led Zeppelin is Metal.

The plot tends towards the absurd, which allows the story to perform some philosophical acrobatics without giving into the pedantic or pretentious. Robbins tends to express these sorts of things in dichotomy: outlaws as opposed to criminals, activism as opposed to idealism, ideas
Oct 30, 2009 Jasmine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
I just realized that Greg gave me a default recommendation...

I don't know the book is good though. It is tough to thing of what to say about this book. It is a giant joke, but it also is pseudo philosophical, and then it also seems to be trying to give some kind of weird advice.

Spoilers!!! not. The last line that has nothing to do with the story is "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." A perfect example of this weird advice thing that Robbins does without telling you anything about t
Aug 10, 2007 Kasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I read this book as a teenager and I loved it. I loved the style and the language and the story, the irreverent rebelliousness. Then I read it again after college and, while I still enjoyed it, a lot of things bothered me. I don't like his sexual objectification of his female characters. Many of his books seem to be wishful thinking sexual fantasies on the part of the author. And gratuitous descriptions of breasts and bodily fluids do not exactly constitute character development. Now I think of
Apr 15, 2007 Julz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A relative who rarely reads fiction recommended this author, so I knew he had to be good. I'll definitely read him again. Robbins manages to skewer just about every facet of American society all while developing a colorful cast of characters who manage to become compelling in spite of being beyond cartoonish.

It's one of those books that makes you wonder what the author was smoking, so you have to be in the mood for the absurd when you read it. If you're never in that mood, beware, because, as Ro
Eva Sinner
Λοιπόν, τώρα που το τελείωσα μπορώ να πω με σιγουριά ότι τα 2 αστέρια και το "it was ok" τους είναι ακριβώς αυτό που ένιωσα για τον Τρυποκάρυδο, τον οποίο, βέβαια, οφείλω να πω ότι είχα αγοράσει με μεγάλο ενθουσιασμό βασισμένη στα όσα άκουγα. Διαβάζοντας το, βρήκα κάποια σημεία τα οποία ήταν εξαιρετικά, σημεια απο αυτά που θα 'θελες να χεις ενα μολυβάκι να τα σημειώσεις στην ατζέντα σου, να τα διαβάζεις κατα τη διάρκεια της ζωή σου μια στο τόσο. Αλλά συνολικά βαρέθηκα. Είναι περίεργη η γραφή του ...more
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One of my favorites... 9 104 Dec 01, 2013 08:05AM  
The Bookhouse Boys: Still Life With Woodpecker Schedule/Discussion 44 26 Sep 17, 2011 08:17AM  
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  • Witch Baby (Weetzie Bat, #2)
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  • Run With the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader
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  • Turtle Island
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  • Cosmic Trigger: Die letzten Geheimnisse der Illuminaten oder An den Grenzen des erweiterten Bewusstseins
Thomas Eugene Robbins (born July 22, 1936 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina) is an American author. His novels are complex, often wild stories with strong social undercurrents, a satirical bent, and obscure details. His novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976) was made into a movie in 1993 directed by Gus Van Sant.

More about Tom Robbins...

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“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.” 1298 likes
“It's never too late to have a happy childhood.” 840 likes
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