29 December 2008

Still Life With Woodpecker

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
This book took a long time to get my interest and never got me to that point where I wanted to know more of the story. Mostly all I wanted was to finish it so I could read something else, but, I did finish it. That is more than I can say for some other books. At least it was good enough to finish.

It was overly descriptive of everything. This could have been a 100 page book, but describing minute details of things in five or six different ways each ballooned the word count. 277 pages of overly descriptive, overly philosophical, obviously cocaine inspired word play. The ideas and theories behind all those words must have been thought up while under the influence. :-)

The story itself was interesting. It had an exiled king and queen living in Seattle, a coming-of-age princess, a "worldly" love interest who just happens to be a terrorist, sheiks, outlaws, redheads, aliens, pregnant cheerleaders, CIA, revolution, conservation, social activism, prison, etc etc. So many of the elements of a good story, and it was a good story. It was a good story that was polluted with wordiness.

An example (just one of a zillion):
This is from page 50 of the book. Here the author is describing tequila.
"Now, tequila may be the favored beverage of outlaws, but that doesn't mean it gives them preferential treatment. In fact, tequila probably had betrayed as many outlaws as has the central nervous system and dissatisfied wives. Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, creme de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!"

It is a nice descriptive picture of tequila. Now imagine every page having this same type of stuff done for a pack of cigarettes, a banyan tree, an attic, a blackberry bush, a boat, the scent of lovemaking, the moonlight shining in a window. Description after description. Ugh.

Between that and the psychological parts where people are thinking up all kinds of crackpot theories for the meaning of life, the purpose of the moon, how to make love stay, and the origin and real reason for pyramids made it hard to read at times.

Something good? OK, the main characters were redheads (hence the Woodpecker). They spoke many times about the superiority of the redheads, and described it in thousands of words. LOL

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