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Wuf! So long, and thanks for all the frogs
on May 26, 2007
This book is classic Tom Robbins in the sense that almost every page has some hilariously humorous play on words, or unreal observation about real events, including a lot of incisive commentary on the subject of Washington's allegedly wooden teeth. (I kept wondering if he got knot holes instead of cavities, and whether he used Terminix for dental services*)
That said, this is not one of his best books by a long shot. It starts slowly, works up to a purple passion and then lands flat on its squatty Buddha-esque rear end. The tortuous tale twists around a feckless female Filipino stock broker, facing the fall of the fickle stock market over the Good Friday weekend, frantically forming far-fetched formulae to foil her forthcoming firing. Her acquaintances include a traditionally built psychic, whose fall-back occupation is watching home movies of the lonely and attention-deficient, a philanthropic Lutheran real estate broker who desperately wants to marry her, and last of all, a born again Barbary ape with a yen for banana popsicles and larceny.
While living through the worst days of her lives, she meets a tattooed ex-broker recently back from Timbuktu, and tracks him to his den of decadence beneath a bowling alley. Through this earth shaking incident, not all of which could be blamed on the rise and fall of the bowling pins, she has an Alice in Wonderland experience involving a distant planet, a toothy Japanese doctor who is said to have found a cure for cancer, an inscrutable Indian and a whole lot of amphibians.
Highly pseudo-philosophic, with unlikeable characters and flimsy plot, the main thing this has going for it is the dry humor of the word play, and all the rain in Seattle can't wash that away.
*Not a Tom Robbins quote, but it might have been if I didn't write it first