Angie's Reviews > Still Life with Woodpecker

Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
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Feb 19, 08

Recommended for: redheads, people who used to meditate religiously but now feel kind of sheepish about that
Read in February, 2008

Tom Robbins is Tom Robbins is Tom Robbins, and you like him or you don't; I do. There is something about the stoner-cowboy vernacular of the thirty-something 1970s-era male that I find endlessly endearing. It is this vernacular that I am holding responsible for this book's tendency to remind me, constantly and throughout my entire reading of it, of The Executioner's Song. I thought that maybe it was the fact that the main characters of the two stories shared a lot of similar traits, like bad teeth and criminal tendencies and a not entirely commendable fondness for hot-tempered, barely-adult females. Then I thought that it was the photo of Tom Robbins on the back of the book, because Tom looks almost exactly like Gary Gilmore looked in my imagination. But in the end I decided that it was the tone and rhythm of the narrative, a casual, grinning, shaggy-haired, budweiser-downing, dirt-under-the-fingernails sort of sound that you can imagine enjoying having as a neighbor, until it lost it one night and shot out its girlfriend's windshield after a drunken fight and the cops kept you up until 3 a.m. with their lights and bullhorns. Still Life with Woodpecker reads like a story that Gary Gilmore might have written. This says something about their shared generation, and something (potentially negative) about Tom Robbins, but I think it says the most about Norman Mailer, whom I must genuflect to once more for so flawlessly capturing so many characters in so much three-dimensional detail. Still Life with Woodpecker is not Robbins's best work, and it won't challenge you or linger in your mind after you've finished it. But if you are looking for an easy-going friend to drink a couple of beers and discuss your hazy theories on the grand scheme with on your porch some Saturday night, this is your guy.
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