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Still Life with Woodpecker [Paperback]

Tom Robbins
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.95
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Book Description

April 1 1990
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 cheerleaders. It also deals with the problem of redheads.

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“Robbins’s comic philosophical musings reveal a flamboyant genius.—People

About the Author

Tom Robbins has been called “a vital natural resource” by The Oregonian, “one of the wildest and most entertaining novelists in the world” by the Financial Times of London, and “the most dangerous writer in the world today” by Fernanda Pivano of Italy’s Corriere della Sera. A Southerner by birth, Robbins has lived in and around Seattle since 1962.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great wordsmithing May 6 2004
It appears that four out of five people did not find this review helpful. That does not sit well with me because I would hope above all else to be helpful in my reviews; so I will re-write this one.
"Still Life with Woodpecker" is the only Tom Robbins novel I have read and so I cannot compare it any other work of his. But fundamentally it is a tale of love about a redheaded deposed princess living with her deposed king and queen parents just outside of Seattle. Her search for love and meaning in the world while trying to save it from the horrors of destruction, all while falling in love with another red-head who finds purpose in blowing things up, is the majority of the story.
Yet in essence "Still Life with Woodpecker" is less of a story than it is a very long aside about the nature of things and emotions. At least in the end I felt that the plot, in its outrageous plausibility, along with none of the characters being totally worth sympathy, became a side note to the appreciation I had for its wordsmithing and poignant insights, particularly how the narrative exposes its emotions out in the open for all to notice. Unfortunately at various points Tom feels the need to explain in asides what this is all about when I think the story was doing a fine job on its own doing that.
Plus, being a red head myself, it was nice to see how certain aspects of humanity and personality may or may not be embodied in the symbols of our ginger scalps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book - Ever! July 9 2003
Still Life with Woodpecker changed my life the first time I read it. Always one to believe in the power of the moon and the ancient mysteries of the pyramids, I fell in love with this book. Princesses and Outlaws being my favorite heros, and red headed to boot, who could ask for more?
Appoach with your best sense of humor and a copious amount of metaphoric magnanimousness.(snicker...)
Peace, Love and Moonbeams
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars repetitive Sept. 19 1999
I liked it for a while, but I got bored of the same theme, especially since he talks about it so directly. There's only so much you can say about how to make love stay. Actually, it's not really that, it's just that he seemed to keep saying the same thing about how to make love stay. It may not be that either. I just didn't like it all that much, on a somewhat intuitive level, if that means anything at all. I'm not sure why I bothered writing this review, but since I did I suppose I might as well submit it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love redheads Jan. 3 2012
Tom Robbins is genius. That's a fact proven time and again by his incredible stories. This book is captivating and hilarious from the very first sentence!
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5.0 out of 5 stars TOm Robbins is a literary genius Sept. 10 2010
By Bee
This is one of my favourite books of all time. It's so, so funny, smart and beautifully written. The writing is by far its best asset, but the other aspects - the plot, characters, concept etc., are all close seconds. It includes adventure, romance, love, imagination, philosophy, suspense and so many other brilliant things! If you're even the least bit intelligent, you will like this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What ever happened to the golden ball? May 10 2008
This novel is the absolute perfect blend of comedy, romance, adventure and philosophy. Tom Robbins' masterpiece examination of objectification and love, how the two are inseparable, and how "everything is a part of it," speaks true even today, some twenty years after he wrote it. This is the all-important story of two redhead rejects, one an outlaw and one a princess of a small American-occupied country, who fall in love and create explosions. From its synopsis, it might not seem like much, but Robbins has a knack for packing his novels full of much more subtext than the plot line alone can describe.

Hopeless romantics like me, look out... despite its rare, sometimes gory approach to to the question of how to make love stay, you won't be able to stop reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing still about this great book March 30 2005
*Still Life With Woodpecker* is a hilariously funny book about two insane people in love. Bernard M. Wrangle and Leigh-Cheri both move to Hawaii for two different reasons. Leigh-Cheri was visiting Hawaii because she wanted to attend a banquet for environmentalist, and on the way there she meets Bernard. Bernard is a pyromaniac who runs around with sticks of dynamite strapped to his chest. He enjoys lighting fires and blowing up buildings in his spare time. This dynamic duo runs amuck through the Island. Soon the couple falls madly in love with one another and Leigh-Cheri asks Bernard to come back home with her to meet her family. They all have dinner together and it turns out to be a complete bust, her parents hate him and they end up turning him into the FBI. Bernard is in jail now and Leigh-Cheri gets completely depressed and ends up locking herself in her room and comes up with some crazy ideas about the world. Another book I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed was Jackson McCrae's THE CHILDREN'S CORNER which is both disturbing and funny in places. Highly recommended for those with a pulse.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Study of Redheads July 5 2004
By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is a light and entertaining book from a word-play genius. What is amazing is the way he weaves so many stories into a tidy, compact little package - almost the size of a pack of cigarettes, as a matter of fact.
This is a story about a tarnished princess, an outlaw bomber with bad teeth, a scene stealing if somewhat undomesticated loyal servant, toads - both real and plastic, an exiled King and his "Oh-Oh, spaghetti-o" Queen, a CIA not-so-secret agent, an outraged Middle Eastern playboy, blackberries, Camels, Ralph Nader, pyramids and aliens from Argon.
What more could you possibly want in a book?
Tom Robbins has a genuine talent for words and puns, and those with active funny bones will be tickled throughout. His casual use of words like "slishy" and phrases like "I have a black belt in haiku" abound, to be discovered with unbridled delight.
This is a book to be enjoyed within one lunar cycle without fear of repercussions.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Oscar Wilde in a bong
If you're looking for a smooth romance story then move on. The plot is a drug crazed raving which serves as a meagre bookshelf for Robbins to display his mastery of the absurd... Read more
Published on July 5 2004 by R Rheaume
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexy and Hilarious
Still Life With Woodpecker is a love story about an exiled princess and a crazy bomber in Hawaii. Definitely one of my top ten favorite novels of all time; it is kooky, weird,... Read more
Published on June 24 2004 by Melissa McCauley
5.0 out of 5 stars An Experimental Absurdist Masterwork Of A Novel!
Tom Robbins is perhaps one of the most winsome and unforgettable novelist of the late 20th century. In a series of absurdist novels, he has memorably stretched the boundaries of... Read more
Published on June 3 2004 by Barron Laycock
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best In A While...
When a writer can spiderweb philosophy, comedy, romance, genius, and suspense, and make it look like an accident... he places up towards amazing in my book. Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by Lindsay Rego
2.0 out of 5 stars Had possibilities
Tom Robbins is in need of a braver editor or a stronger writing coach. Some of what he says is truly clever, such as "I have a black belt in haiku. Read more
Published on March 23 2004 by A. Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Please excuse me while I hurl...
This book was absolutely horrible. I found it wedged in a crevice next to my rack. Looks like somebody forgot to throw it away. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2004 by Jason S. Southworth
5.0 out of 5 stars being a redhead...
I was recommended this book by a dear friend who, on seeing my mane of bright red hair for the first time, simply handed me the book with a smile on her face. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by Amazon Customer
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