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Another Roadside Attraction

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  31,009 ratings  ·  970 reviews
What if the Second Coming didn't quite come off as advertised? What if "the corpse" on display in that funky roadside zoo is really who they say it is - what does that portend for the future of western civilization? And what if a young clairvoyant named Amanda reestablishes the flea circus as popular entertainment, and fertility worship as the principal religious form of o ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published January 10th 2004 by No Exit Press (first published 1971)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  31,009 ratings  ·  970 reviews


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Mario the lone bookwolf
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: robbins-tom
The legend begins with the first epic strike of one of the most underrated and ingenious, both comedy and cutting criticism using, authors.

Do you know how he writes these unique pieces? Robbins is so obsessed and perfectionistic that he rewrites it, again and again, word for word, sentence for sentence, until it fits his standards and just continues after that. I´ve 2 to 3 other authors with similar, pedantic work schedules and techniques in mind, but can´t remember them, just that one called i
...more
BlackOxford
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american
Evangelical Hippie Dippie-dom

I can remember this stuff; so by definition I suppose I wasn't there. But I must have been near enough to notice. Robbins’s modern (well, 1971) re-telling of the Gospel in the genre of the Age of Aquarius brings back memories of a softer, kinder time when all the world had to worry about was a crook named Nixon rather than a psychopath like Trump.

Not just the characters and their illicit herbal remedies, but Robbins’s baroque New Age language as well captures the m
...more
Bryon Cahill
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Tom Robbins writes one sentence at a time. I read that in an interview once. He has a general outline or story arc for his books but he starts out by writing the first sentence, and then perfecting it. Once he is totally satisfied, he moves on to the second sentence and then perfects that one... and so on. I'm not sure if it's 100% true but reading his work certainly makes me believe it.

Another Roadside Attraction has always been in my top 5 of all time. Is there a way to mark that? Guess not. O
...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed parts of this book and it did refrain from long tangents unlike many Tom Robbins books, but there was just too much silliness. Because of the content, I was hoping for a ridiculously cool ending and, because I am an atheist, I felt sort of let down. ...more
Brian
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“History is a discipline of aggregate bias.”

“Another Roadside Attraction” is the first Tom Robbins novel I read, many years ago. I recall that read being a bit of a slog for me, and I had no desire to pick up any more Robbins.
Years later I was forced to read Robbins again, as another novel of his was a selection for my book club.
I fell. I fell hard.
Something had changed in the intervening years, and I really enjoy his work now. I have read all but 2 of his published texts, and they vary in ter
...more
Nora
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"There are three mental states that interest me. These are: one, amnesia; two, euphoria; three, ecstasy. Amnesia is not knowing who one is and wanting desperately to find out. Euphoria is not knowing who one is and not caring. Ecstasy is knowing exactly who one is - and still not caring."
MJ Nicholls
Aug 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: merkins, novels
Tom Robbins was recommended to me aeons ago by a friend (now an occasional friend). I confess a little disappointment with Another Roadside Attraction, but the depth and range of ideas explored in the book is amazing.

I loved the ludicrous metaphors, the freewheeling insanity of language, the satirical humour and the intelligently argued discourses on the death of religion.

On a craft level, I felt the plot could have used a huge pair of scissors, and many of the characters suffered from having th
...more
David
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a book! I honestly can’t believe it myself, but this will be my third five-star rated book in a row. A cousin of mine sent me Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume for Christmas, and then a co-worker advised me to read Another Roadside Attraction, describing Robbins as “C.S. Lewis on mushrooms.” That seemed interesting, so I picked up the book and started reading it. Immediately, it seemed reminiscent of the works of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea (most notably, The Illuminatus Trilogy). And it t ...more
Edward
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Based on the synopsis, Another Roadside Attraction sounds exactly like the kind of novel I’d enjoy. But mostly it just left me underwhelmed and bored. Robbins is much too obsessed with his quirky, idealised characters, who frankly are not that interesting. The vast majority of the novel is essentially a drawn-out setup to the promised climax in the final act, which, when it finally arrives, falls completely flat.

For a book marketed as a philosophical novel, its philosophy is pretty shallow. Mos
...more
Dustin Reade
Jun 12, 2011 rated it liked it
three stars might be a bit harsh. I really liked this book, and wanted to give it four, but I just couldn't do it.
For you see, I have discovered something terrible: Tom Robbins has almost no re-read value.
Seriously. It is almost nonexistent.
While reading his books for the first time can be an eye-opening, hyper-enjoyable experience, trying to go through them a second time proves taxing, irritating, and slow-going. All of the surprises have been used up. THe joy of language has been dulled. In e
...more
Tracey
Sep 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: interested in discussions of faith & science
A couple of "flower children" types open a hot dog stand in the Pacific Northwest and correspond with a friend who has inadvertently joined an order of assassin monks. They are joined by Marx Marvelous, a self-proclaimed scientist who believes that Christianity is drawing to a close. And about that mysterious Corpse that shows up at one point....

Written in 1971, aspects of this novel seem awfully dated (drug & counter-culture references abound - plenty of sex, too!), but the underlying philosoph
...more
Katherine Furman
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it
The best word for this book is choppy. It is flashes of brilliance surrounded by a multitude of metaphors that are sometimes poignant and touching, but often flat and feel as if they're there for shock value. But being that this is only Tom Robbins' first novel, you can tell how he would grow to become brilliant.
The characters are intriguing and captivating, but there were many, many times when I found myself wishing the author would stop describing their minute nuances and just get on with it a
...more
Robert
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
What do a hot dog stand, the art of unarmed combat, the Vatican, a jazz musician/film-maker/magician, a baboon, and the second coming of Jesus Christ have in common? If you've read any Tom Robbins novel then you'll not be surprised the answer is a lot. This is Robbins' first novel, which I somehow managed to miss along my own journey. Better late than never. For some, this may feel like an outdated read (first published in 1971). There is definitely a counterculture feel, but Robbins has always ...more
Jenn(ifer)
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hippies of all ages
this book made me want to make all kinds of meals with mushrooms... no, not the hallucinogenic kind silly
Ms.pegasus
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the craft of writing
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: Robert B
Shelves: fiction
Robbins resists convention in this improbable story told through the multiple voices and expository styles of his characters. He opens in the present with a straight-forward description of events. The narrator is a fictional writer oscillating between third person objectivity and the confiding first person plural of “we.” The narrative shifts between past and present scenes, interspersed with biographical notes, journal excerpts, reconstructed conversations, unspoken thoughts, emotions of the ch ...more
Shannon
Jun 03, 2009 rated it liked it
My first Tom Robbins (and his)... This book taught me that he is indeed the literary guru that he and all the coffeehouse cave-dwellers who can't pry their cigs away from their rot stained teeth long enough to save their lives... save 9$!... save my airspace... think he is... and like most egomaniacal freaks who are sure that their spiritual dick is bigger than everyone else's this work is fairly masturbatory-did he not have an editor, a friend, someone to help curtail the gluttony? Did he have ...more
Paloma
Feb 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is all over the place, simply put. I could probably not tell you what it was about even if I were on the strongest of hallucinogenic drugs that it probably took to write this book. Sorry Tom Robbins, but I personally prefer books in which I can actually understand what’s going on.

This book follows a reckless, sexually loose girl named Amanda and her husband, as they open a roadside stand and meet many eccentric characters along the way as they discover many of life’s lessons. Don’t be
...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The language of Another Roadside Attraction is lush and flowery while the plot is trippy and hallucinogenic.
“The fact is, what I hated in the Church was what I hated in society. Namely, authoritarians. Power freaks. Rigid dogmatists. Those greedy, underloved, undersexed twits who want to run everything. While the rest of us are busy living – busy tasting and testing and hugging and kissing and goofing and growing – they are busy taking over.”
Christianity has some hideous secrets and it has some
...more
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
I think there are probably a lot of men who will love this still.
Patrick Gibson
The story of how a gypsy princess, a free-spirited giant with a bone through his nose, a drug dealer, and a baboon come to possess the mummified body of Jesus Christ at their small roadside hot dog stand and zoo is nothing short of brilliant. Like other Robbins novels, the storyline often derails into monologues, flashbacks, and especially fables or twisted fairy tales. It's always astonishing how close he can come to skirting dated 60's rhetoric without losing his edginess.
Despite all of its p
...more
Stewart Sternberg
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Man, I loved me this book. Perfect? No, but neither is Nature, dude.

This bit of psychedic beauty published in 1971 like really encapsulates a movement. You know. The spiritualism, mystism, and various other isms that were part of the questing thriving mass that was the briefly lit hippy movement of the late sixties. Free sex, free dope, free god. Free god, dude, from his prisons in the prisons of the world and embrace the Oneness that is all the minute specks of everything that is the Universe.
...more
Irene Muller
Jan 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book makes me want to climb trees and wear scarves around my head and count stars and leave home to make meaningfully self-indulgent music in the desert with people I don't know but trust unconditionally. It also sort of makes me want a pet baboon quite badly.

"Amnesia is not knowing who one is and wanting desperately to find out. Euphoria is not knowing who one is and not caring. Ecstasy is knowing exactly who one is - and still not caring." Robbins makes such broad claims, yet they always
...more
Rich
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Robbins is a mad genius. All of his books are uniquely his; there isn't another author out there mad enough or genius enough to even try to emulate his voice.
I read this many years ago. Most of the details have faded, but he central plot remains clear: some friends discover the body of Christ, thereby disproving the resurrection and making pretty much all of Christianity a lie. What else to do but to set it up in a roadside attraction (like the giant ball of twine, or the two-headed baby) in Wa
...more
Laura Harcourt
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
What do you get when you take a teenage hippy, a magician, a hot dog stand, and a mysterious Corpse? ...Probably something involving the law, but in the mind of Tom Robbins this unlikely combination arrives to unleash a Catholicism-crippling truth.

Robbins' first novel is less obscure than his later ones; you won't find barely recognizable metaphors in Another Roadside Attraction, but the drawn-out speeches on religion, truth, and humanity are front and center throughout. The novel switches hapha
...more
Parker East
It is obvious that this is Robbins' first book if you have already read his later efforts. However, I still loved it, perhaps more so in some ways for it's compositional naivete. In his later books the prose turns tight corners with the polished efficiency of an indy driver and the whimsy of a circus clown, but this book has outrage in its mind and whisky on its breath. You can feel Robbins' getting out every jab and gripe he had percolating in his brain after years within the machine, and it's ...more
Susan
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I used to be a huge Tom Robbins fan when I was younger. As I've grown older, I've kind of come to the conclusion that he really is just kind of a dirty old man. I've had a copy of this for it seems like all of my adult life, it's been boxed up and moved I don't know how many times, but it's probably been over ten years since I've read it last. It was always one of my favorites, and after my disappointment from recent re-visitations of other Robbins classics, I was a little leery of it. This one ...more
Hannah Watts
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was my first of many Tom Robbins books. I read it for the first time when I was probably 16 and it completely opened me up to entirely new ways of thinking and over the years I would definitely say Robbins has had a significant influence on my general perspective. The way that he entertains and (perhaps subliminally) teaches while making you uncomfortable at times while extracting intense emotions at others is truly unique and remarkable. Over the course of reading this novel one experience ...more
Ann Prehn
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago when it first came out, but I guess I was too stoned to follow the plot. It's not an easy read. I also remember feeling somewhat self-conscious about it, somewhat embarrassed. Now I find it delightful, if a little off the mark - if you're looking for a period piece, this ain't quite it, though I think it was billed as such. It is a joyful romp with language, something I'm looking for more and more in the books I read.

I want prose to be surprising and complex. I'm in rebell
...more
Liz
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Loved it. I would put this as my third favorite TR books, the first being Jitterbug and the second Fierce Invalids. I just loved the Amanda character. Sometimes I have trouble getting into the heads of his female protagonists, and even though she was so "out there," I feel I really got to know and respect Amanda through her conversations and random musings. I didn't fully understand Ziller, but that was less important to me and I think that was part of the point - that his character remains esot ...more
Jennifer Ochoa
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015, read-borrowed
Robbins is one of those writers I probably should have read in college, when my English Lit friends were raving about him. I probably would have liked him more then, but my tastes have changed. Neo-mystical hoo-ha doesn't charm me like it once did. I also find his portrayal of Amanda disturbing. The male characters seem to worship her as a mother Earth goddess figure, but on closer inspection they only thing they care about is getting the chance to bang her. She's merely a highly objectified din ...more
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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.

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