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Skinny Legs and All by [Robbins, Tom]
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Skinny Legs and All Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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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: 1236 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: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,528 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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. That they're traveling in a silver motor home customized to look like a giant turkey is your first clue that this book is going to be not only funny but quite different.

Skinny Legs and All has been on my to-be-read pile for years. When I finally picked it up I was surprised to find an old newspaper clipping by W.P. Kinsella tucked inside. Kinsella wrote that Skinny Legs and All was one of the best books published in 1990. Although I haven't read the other titles mentioned in his article, I wholeheartedly agree on this one.

During the first 50 pages, I thought the book was stunningly strange. By the halfway point I decided that the book was also really funny. By the end, I realized that it was absolutely brilliant. Tom Robbins' novel is an incredible mix of religious and philosophical renderings spiced with humor, romance, fanaticism, and the quest for love and meaning. Add to this, five inanimate objects that come to life during an intimate encounter between Boomer and Ellen, and you've got an interesting situation using multiple viewpoints, including the narrator's. Robbins employs one hilarious and clever metaphor after another to tell the story. The book has been described as controversial, and I can see why. A fanatic out to destroy other religious groups will likely offend some readers. Still, Robbins' storytelling ability is absolutely marvelous.
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Format: Paperback
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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