Christina (Reading Thru The Night)'s Reviews > Villa Incognito

Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins
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's review
Dec 17, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2009, adventures, magical-realism


Brace yourself because this summary might just sound all over the place. (And if it does, then I've done an accurate job portraying V.I.). Once upon a time a very long time ago there was a Tanuki, an Asian critter that resembles a raccoon, who loves sake and women. This Tanuki meets and mates with a beautiful Asian woman who eventually bares his child. Now. Let's leap forward. We are in the late 90's and two sisters have seen their brother on the news, dressed as a priest and arrested for smuggling heroin. But wait. It can't be their brother, can it? I mean, he's been MIA since the Vietnam War. It would be ridiculous to think that he purposefully wanted to stay missing right? And even more ridiculous to assume his two best friends (also MIA) are somehow involved in this drug affiliated faux pa! By the way, whatever happened to that Tanuki child?

My Thoughts?

Tom Robbins almost writes folklore. I say almost, because his books also tend to be satire, social (and) political commentary, boundary crossing, awe-inspiring, laugh out loud witty, and a bit startling to boot. I've been a huge fan ever since Still Life with a Woodpecker and my all time favorite Skinny Legs and All (inanimate objects who talk to their owner people. Seriously.)

The best description that I've read about Robbins and his books can be found in the side flap of Villa Incognito.

"A female fan once wrote to Tom Robbins: 'Your books make me think, they make me laugh, they make me horny, and they make me aware of the wonder of everything in life.'"

Villa Incognito is very Tom Robbins. He is the one author who has never disappointed. I've read all of his books (o.k. except for B is for Beer, which I just found out about and a collection of stories that I just picked up) and even though I love some more than others, I've never actually disliked any. Plus I always feel an instant kinship with other TR connoisseurs. It's a quick nod and with an unspoken 'i get it'.

Robbins has a unique way with similes and metaphors. He's just brilliant, really.

"He sounded nothing like Elvis Presley. In fact, he sounded nothing like Dickie Goldwire. he crooned the way a can of cheap dog food might croon if a can of cheap dog food had a voice. Generic Puppy Chow Sings Holiday Favorites. On the Skippy label. His delivery was so flat, so off-key and toneless and awful that his own ears felt violated."

And yet, still, something important is taking place in his works:

" 'You know, when I met you, man, you were really in touch with your feelings. That's what turned me on about you, I guess. You were living in your heart. Now, you've packed up your khaki pants and polo shirts and moved into your head.' She propped herself up on one elbow. 'It's gotta be both, man. It don't matter how sensitive you are or how damn smart and educated you are, if you're not both at the same time, if your heart and your brain aren't connected, aren't working together harmoniously, well, man, you're just hopping through life on one leg. You may think you're walking, you may think you're running a damn marathon, but you're only on a hop trip, man. You're a hopper. The connection's gotta be maintained.' " (104)

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