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Still Life With Woodpecker
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Still Life With Woodpecker

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  64,161 Ratings  ·  2,599 Reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 257 pages
Published (first published 1980)
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Holly If you are old enough to read "Twilight" this instead!
Mary Kelley Sorry you lost it. My favorite among so many is about her red hair looking like ironed catsup. Mjkelley. Ironed catsup. Who thinks like that. Only Tom…moreSorry you lost it. My favorite among so many is about her red hair looking like ironed catsup. Mjkelley. Ironed catsup. Who thinks like that. Only Tom Robbins.(less)

Community Reviews

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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
Mar 06, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cute-funny
Πρώτη μου επαφή με βιβλίο του Τομ Ρόμπινς, τα συμπεράσματα μου είναι απλά και είναι τα εξής, λάτρεψα την αφήγηση όμως αδιαφόρησα παντελώς για την ιστορία που μου αφηγούνταν.

«Ο Άλμπερ Καμυ έγραψε πως το μόνο σοβαρό ερώτημα είναι αν πρέπει ν’ αυτοκτονήσεις ή όχι.
Ο Τομ Ρόμπινς έγραψε πως το μόνο σοβαρό ερώτημα είναι αν ο χρόνος έχει αρχή και τέλος.
Σίγουρα όταν το έγραψε ο Καμύ θα’ χε στραβοκοιμηθεί κι ο Ρόμπινς θα’ ξεχάσει να βάλει ξυπνητήρι.
Ένα είναι το σοβαρό ερώτημα. Κι αυτό είναι:
Ποιος ξέρει
Jun 27, 2007 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
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, favorite-books
Ε, τι να πούμε... Τομ Ρόμπινς.

EDIT: Του είχα βάλει 4 αστέρια. Γύρισα και διάβασα όλα τα quotes που έχω αποθηκεύσει από αυτό το βιβλίο. Οκ, η αδικία διορθώθηκε.
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
Kyriakos Sorokkou
Υποσχέθηκα σήμερα το πρωί ότι αν μέχρι τα μεσάνυχτα απόψε διαβάσω λιγότερο από 10 σελίδες το παρατάω. Διάβασα 0. . . .

Δεν μπορώ να πω, προσπάθησα. Και στο πλοίο το πήρα, και στο κρεβάτι το πήρα, και στο βεσέ το πήρα, αλλά που να πάρει· 5 μέρες 106 σελίδες, που ισούται με 21,2 σελίδες την ημέρα, άρα 13 ημέρες χρειάζομαι για να το τελειώσω· άρα αν συνεχίσω θα το τελειώσω στις 23 του μήνα, και το θέμα είναι ότι έχω 3 βιβλία να διαβάσω για το Halloween και αυτό το βιβλίο στέκεται εμπόδιο.

Ίσως να φ
Sep 29, 2007 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
May 07, 2014 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
Aug 30, 2008 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.
Kristin Myrtle
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!"
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
Jan 04, 2008 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
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lett-americana
"Non è mai troppo tardi per farsi un’infanzia felice"

Strampalato, divertente, romantico, ironico, commovente, surreale, illogico e anche profondo (a suo modo). Leggere questo libro è stata una corsa a perdifiato per tenere il passo di Tom Robbins, a volte arrancando, ma sempre con un’espressione beata sul viso.
Re e regine, principi azzurri bombaroli e principesse dai capelli rossi, rospi, pacchetti di Camel, macchine da scrivere saputelle, lunacezione… e su tutto, sotto tutto, dentro tutto sor
Aug 31, 2007 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
Feb 20, 2009 rated it liked it
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.

Aug 22, 2007 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
carri farrand
May 17, 2007 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
Adam Floridia
Apr 28, 2012 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.
MJ Nicholls
Jun 20, 2011 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
Yasemin Şahin
May 17, 2016 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..
Stavrakas Arsenal
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Ο παρωπιδισμός είναι μια ασθένεια όπου η αντίληψη περιορίζεται από την άγνοια και διαστρεβλώνεται από τα συμφέροντα. Προκαλείται από ένα μύκητα του οπτικού, που πολλαπλασιάζεται όταν ο εγκέφαλος είναι λιγότερο δραστήριος απ' τον εγωισμό. Παρουσιάζει επιπλοκές όταν εκτίθεται στην πολιτική. Όταν μια καλή ιδέα υποχρεώνεται να περάσει μέσ' απ' τα φίλτρα και τα κομπρεσέρ ενός κοινού παρωπιδισμού βγαίνει σε μειωμένη κλίμακα και αξία, αλλά η καινούργια δογματική της υπόσταση φέρνει το αντίθετο ακριβώς ...more
Ümit Mutlu
"‘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
Murat Gonul
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo-collection
Ay ışığında renklenmiş dinamit lokumlarıyla tatlanmış sıradışı bir hikayeydi. Karakterler, zaman ve mekan eğlenceli ve anlatım fazlasıyla yazara özgüydü. Keyifle okudum tavsiye ederim :)
Jul 13, 2008 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
Mar 06, 2015 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
Jun 05, 2008 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
Apr 15, 2007 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
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One of my favorites... 10 112 Jan 06, 2018 12:32PM  
Booze & Book Club: Still Life with Woodpecker (General Discussion) 1 3 Jul 06, 2017 09:29PM  
The Bookhouse Boys: Still Life With Woodpecker Schedule/Discussion 44 31 Sep 17, 2011 08:17AM  
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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.” 1390 likes
“It's never too late to have a happy childhood.” 947 likes
More quotes…