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Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas
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About the Author

Tom Robbins has been called "a vital natural resource" by The Portland Oregonian, "one of the wildest and most entertaining novelists in the world" by the FT, 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. He is the author of six other novels including Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, Even Cowgirls get the Blues and Still Life with Woodpecker. (published by No Exit Press)

Reviews

Robbins (Skinny Legs and All; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) begins this disappointing novel just before Easter weekend, as commodities broker Gwen Mati-half-Filipina, half-Irish-is in her favorite Seattle bar, mourning the stock market's nosedive. A devout materialist, Gwen is concerned that an honest-to-goodness crash might expose some of her less-than-ethical maneuvers. By the time the market opens again on Monday, however, her life will be altered in ways she can't imagine. Among those promoting the changes are an obese spiritualist named ``Q-Jo,'' a pizzazzy character who exits too soon from the story; Larry Diamond, Robbins's requisite mystery man on a bike; and André, Europe's most notorious simian jewel thief. Devotees of the serious should avoid Robbins-this volume, for instance, contains discussions about extraterrestrials who take the form of amphibious humanoids and about the effect of eating asparagus on a person's urine. All of this is, for Robbins anyway, fairly safe territory-a quirky female protagonist undergoing life changes at the last minute-but something goes wrong here. The biggest problem may be Gwen herself: an unpleasant character, she's greedy, manipulative and without a trace of remorse. Though Robbins, who narrates to Gwen in the second person, can still put together clever turns-of-phrase (``Tim-buk-tu. One of the phonetic wonders of the world''; ``haughty as an unpaired chopstick''), he seems unable to distinguish details and characters worth hanging a plot on from those best discarded. (Sept.)

Robbins offers a wild and wacky trip featuring, among other things, a stock market crash and various philosophies about meaning and the origins of cultures. Gwen, an endangered stockbroker, is involved with strait-laced Belford and his born-again monkey. When she is attracted to Larry-who has cancer and is currently between trips to Timbuktu-she must choose among the American dream, the Timbuktu alternate, and something else. The book is a whirlwind of mad incidents, semiprofound observations, and an endless supply of great lines. The author of Skinny Legs and All (LJ 3/1/90) has come up with a very funny book that might incite a bit of thinking as well as laughter. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/94.]-Robert H. Donahugh, formerly with Youngstown & Mahoning Cty. P.L., Ohio

"This is one of those special novels--a piece of working magic, warm, funny, and sane -that you just want to ride off into the sunset with." - Thomas Pynchon

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