VILLA INCOGNITO by Tom Robbins

VILLA INCOGNITO

KIRKUS REVIEW

Magic-drawing-pad paragraphs from psychotropic child genius Robbins (Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, 2000, etc.).

What can a poor reviewer do when attempting to skimble-skamble through that celebrated cerebellum in search of storyline when each page fades immediately? Might Robbins not review himself and quote heavily from a hairy bonfire of half-naked similes, the kind that leave a girl mellowed out, disrobed, lustful, and movie-going on the living-room rug? And yet, something serious, a playfulness and sense of fun, deep-surging in the lingual circuits, rises from the verbal infinitudes whispering from Robbins’s midbrain, a heroic antitoxin to the electronic wasteland of sitcoms and feel-good flicks. Using his outsized scrotum as a parachute, Tanuki, a potbellied, nearly tailless East Asian wild dog that walks on its hind legs, falls to earth from the Other World. After much success with country girls, Tanuki fails to seduce cosmopolite femmes and so spends a winter shape-shifting into human form. Now incognito, thieving Tanuki enters Kyoto—and so begin Candide-like adventures in counter-Zen philosophy: Tanuki’s philosophical duels with Kitsune the fox, his marriage to Miho, and his fathering of daughter Kazu. Centuries later, Tanuki’s descendants turn up in Seattle. Then, too, we meet American MIAs who prefer Asia to the States; Miss Ginger Sweetie, a Bangkok whore studying comparative literature; the guitar-playing Dickie Goldwire; godawful Elvis impersonator Elvisuit, who sometimes sings at Patpong’s Cherry Bomb Club; and Madame Ko and her tumbling tanukis in the Southeast Asian circus. All leads to an autumnal farewell: “All across the clearing, the dying grass and sun were practically the same shade of yellow. Last-minute shoppers crowded the pollen parlors, and every other flower-head drooped from bee-weight . . . Already rubbed red by nights of foreplay, boughs, each leaf alert, awaited the transformative ejaculation of frost.”

Soulful on a subliminal seafloor.

Pub Date: May 6th, 2003
ISBN: 0-553-80332-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003




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