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Skinny Legs and All

Skinny Legs and All [Kindle Edition]

Tom Robbins
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In a phantasmagorical, politically charged tale you wish would never end, Robbins holds forth--through a variety of ingenious, off-beat mouthpieces--on art (with and without caps), the Middle East, religious fanaticism of many stripes, and the seven veils of self-deception. Salome, skinny legs and all, belly-dances rapturously at Isaac & Ishmael's, a much-molested restaurant located across the street from the U.N., founded by an Arab and a Jew as an example of happy, peaceful and mutually beneficial coexistence. Ellen Cherry Charles, artist and waitress, heir to the most positive legacy of Jezebel, works at the same joint, nursing a broken heart inflicted by Boomer Petway, redneck welder/bemused darling of the New York art scene. Meanwhile, Can o' Beans, Dirty Sock, Spoon, Painted Stick and Conch Shell traverse half the world on a hejira to Jerusalem--where Conch and Painted Stick will resume religious duties in the Third Temple, dedicated (of course) to Astarte. Unless, mind you, Ellen Cherry's boil-encrusted uncle Buddy, a radio evangelist who gets turned on by Tammy Faye Bakker, manages to start WW III first. . . . Robbins's ( Jitterbug Perfume ) lust for laughs is undiminished; this prescription for sanity couldn't be better. 125,000 first printing; first serial to Esquire; BOMC and QPB selections; author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A painter's struggle with her art, a restaurant opened as an experiment in brotherhood, the journey of several inanimate objects to Jerusalem, a preacher's scheme to hasten Armageddon, and a performance of a legendary dance: these are the diverse elements around which Robbins has built this wild, controversial novel. Ellen Cherry Charles, one of the "Daughters of the Daily Spe cial" in Jitterbug Perfume ( LJ 1/85), takes center stage. She has married Boomer Petway and moved to New York, hoping to make it as a painter. Instead, she winds up a waitress at the Isaac and Ishmael, a restaurant co-owned by an Arab and a Jew. Robbins's primary concern is Middle Eastern politics, supplemented along the way with observations on art, religion, sex, and money. Few contemporary novelists mix tomfoolery and philosophy so well. This is Robbins at his best. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/90.
- Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 743 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (June 17 2003)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBFNW4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,314 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Deserves Six Stars March 11 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's important to remember while you're being absolutely blown away by this work of genius that it was written before God had George W Bush to speak to personally about his wishes for the Middle East, making it a work of uncannily accurate prophecy as well as a masterpiece of prose fiction. I have to laugh at the reviewers who whine that they need a thesaurus to read this book; I challenge anyone to find any other author who hangs more concrete, abstract, brutal, poignant, lyrical imagery on more colloquial metaphors than Robbins. This book is so good that it defies review. Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Book of All Time Oct. 1 2004
This is Robbins's best novel, and that's saying something.
It is a work which is at once both immensely entertaining and extremely insightful. Robbins manages to make the subject of religion - particularly Christianity - spicy and interesting. This is NOT a bible study book; it frankly defies an easy description. How could it not when the first chaper opens with a large mechanical turkey traversing the country; the second chapter features a sock, a wooden stick, and a can of beans also on a long journey, and in the third chapter we learn of an Arab and a Jew, one of whom has a "thing" for ladies' shoes, who plan to open a deli together in New York? Like a Douglas Adams novel (he's the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe guy) all these very offbeat and seemingly irrelevant forces eventually dovetail seamlessly in ways that will make you wonder how the author could have envisioned such a plot all at once.
Not only will you be unable to set "Skinny Legs" aside, you'll feel changed and challenged by this book. In the end, Robbins demonstrates that he is a wise and self-actualized writer, comfortable in a unique but very sensible and well-rounded philosophy. He writes in such a way as to make us question the assumptions and conventions of modern religion, and gets into the nitty-gritty of what we really care about without ever - not even for one second - sounding preachy or didactic. In fact, Robbins may have chosen the only viable writing style for communicating and facilitating the digestion of such a large and outwardly controversial subject. In the tradition of the world's greatest satirists - Swift comes to mind - his story stands so well on its own that few would feel threatened by his themes. Indeed, this book manages to maintain a level of stimulation, humor and engagement that never waivers. The only thing wrong with it is the fact that I didn't write it...
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1.0 out of 5 stars Bloated and offensive? Aug. 14 2003
By T. Graf
This is a bloated 479-page horizontal novel about the end of the world in which the world does not actually end. The closest we get to the Apocalypse is when New York wins the Super Bowl (whether it's the Jets or the Giants is unspecified).
Skinny Legs would be better if it were shorter and more concise. There are a number of interesting characters, like Turn Around Norman, the performance artist who only turns around imperceptibly slowly; Raul, the doorman/budding pop singer (sample lyric: My heart is a Third World Country/And your love is a tourist from Switzerland); and Salome, the belly dancer, who get shorter shrift than they deserve. The conflict is aimless and lacking in suspense and some of the characters we do spend more time with (including 5 inanimate objects trying to "locomote" their way to Jerusalem in time for the establishment of the Third Temple in Jerusalem) are less compelling.
There's a good deal of thought on aesthetics and theology here. Robbins presents a view of Biblical times is in line with the feminist Gaia hypothesis that people worshipped a number of pagan gods and goddesses and life was dandy "before" "patriarchal monotheism" took over. (I'm not quoting but being ironic.) Some of this theology, along with the depictions of religious fanatics and the rampant sexual content in this book, may be offensive, especially to Christians or other monotheists, although the idea in itself of a Jew and an Arab opening a restaurant together to advance the cause of world peace is a nice one.
Robbin's writing is chock full of figurative language. His style has its humorous and poetic moments, but it seems largely superfluous and helped to drag out the length of the book .
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3.0 out of 5 stars You can tell why it's called a July 23 2003
The gimmicks Tom Robbins uses as what are probably supposed to be entertaining devices don't sit well with me, in this book. It's a shame, because you can tell he's a very talented writer, and he has wonderful ideas. But. He resorts to not just a few, but a *lot* of cheap tricks which I'm guessing are supposed to make his work more accessible to the average reader.
Often, novelists will introduce toward the beginning of a book an assortment of trivial facts, concepts, or cross-cultural traditions that they will bring up again here and there throughout the book to produce a sense of even-ness, of being mentally at home within the work. In Skinny Legs and All, this is done a little bit too much, and a little too obviously. You begin to anticipate, during one of Robbins' philosophical digressions or history tangents, that he's going to bring the reader back home again by making a cheap reference to middle-eastern food, pop culture, or the sex life of one of the characters. It happens without fail, every time, and it gets old fast. And as for the pop-culture references, I was six years old when this book was originally published in 1990; I don't know what's being referred to much of the time. That wasn't all that long ago, so Robbins must be harping on some pretty insignificant things. It would have been easy to make the book more slightly timeless with fewer what's-on-t.v.-these-days references, which is important because the points the novel tries to get across are just as interesting and valid as I'm sure they were thirteen years ago. Not that any writer should try to write as if he weren't in his particular time and place, but it is possible not to be so easily dated. After all, Vonnegut makes perfect sense to me.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Storytelling
Newly married Ellen Cherry Charles and Boomer Petway are on their way from Seattle to New York, so Ellen can pursue a career as an artist. Read more
Published on May 11 2012 by Debra Purdy Kong
5.0 out of 5 stars Debunking an American myth
Any novelist can use a thesaurus, but few contemporary novelists mix tomfoolery and philosophy with the magic and mayhem of Tom Robbins. Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2007 by Paul Cocker
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite authors--and books!
This was my first Tom Robbins experience and i thought it was one hell of one. “Skinny legs” and all is an authentic book that couldn’t even be duplicated if it... Read more
Published on March 10 2006 by Beth D.
3.0 out of 5 stars fun, sexy, offensive and, patronizing
This Tom Robbins tale is many things at once. He focuses on some big questions regarding civilization on planet Earth and how the Holy Land seems to be ground zero for our growth. Read more
Published on May 30 2004 by "cosmicomedy"
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps his best work to date (2004)
I have read all of Mr. Robbins' works except Villa Incognito (on its way to me now), and this particular novel is a step above the rest, at least for me. Read more
Published on May 21 2004 by G. Barnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Robbins' Finest Work
I don't care what anyone says, this is by far Tom Robbins' finst novel. There is such imagination and absurdity entwined with profound philosophy that you absolutely won't be able... Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by E. Pardue-Schultz
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion and spirituality
I think Robbins' premise here is that religion and spirituality are forces for good when practiced by the individual, but they are transformed to forces for evil when organized or... Read more
Published on March 25 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars tom robbin's best
this book is the best of the four of his I've read. it's extrememly funny and is very typical tom robbins in it's type of humor and slant on the world.
Published on March 10 2004 by rick bramhall
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For Everyone
I believe I am a spiritual person that understands about religion and the gift of life, but I just couldn't get into this book. Read more
Published on March 8 2004 by R. M. Barnes
5.0 out of 5 stars Skinny Legs and All
This is Tom Robbins' absolute best book and one of my all time favorites!
Published on Jan. 23 2004 by kelly jenkins
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