Known for his meaty seriocomic novels–expansive works that are simultaneously lowbrow and highbrow–Tom Robbins has also published over the years a number of short pieces, predominantly nonfiction. His travel articles, essays, and tributes to actors, musicians, sex kittens, and thinkers have appeared in publications ranging from Esquire to Harper’s , from Playboy to the New York Times , High Times , and Life . A generous sampling, collected here for the first time and including works as diverse as scholarly art criticism and some decidedly untypical country-
music lyrics, Wild Ducks Flying Backward offers a rare sweeping overview of the eclectic
sensibility of an American original.
Whether he is rocking with the Doors, depoliticizing Picasso’s Guernica , lamenting the angst-ridden state of contemporary literature, or drooling over tomato sandwiches and a species of womanhood he calls “the genius waitress,” Robbins’s briefer writings often exhibit the same five traits that perhaps best characterize his novels: an imaginative wit, a cheerfully brash disregard for convention, a sweetly nasty eroticism, a
mystical but keenly observant eye, and an irrepressible love of language.
Embedded in this primarily journalistic compilation are a couple of short stories, a sheaf of largely unpublished poems, and an off-beat assessment of our divided nation. And wherever we open Wild Ducks Flying Backward, we’re apt to encounter examples of the intently serious playfulness that percolates from the mind of a self-described “romantic Zen hedonist” and “stray dog in the banquet halls of culture.”
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Wild Ducks Flying Backward|
|Release Date: 08-29-2006|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Wild Ducks Flying Backward
Canyon of the Vaginas
When one is on a pilgrimage to the Canyon of the Vaginas, one has to be careful about asking directions.
I mean, there’re some pretty rough ol’ dudes in west-central Nevada. One knows the ol’ dudes are rough when one observes that they eat with their hats on.
Nine days I was in the high desert between Winnemucca and Las Vegas, during which time I never witnessed a male Homo sapiens take his noontide nor his evening repast with an exposed bean. In every instance, a grimy bill or brim shaded the fellow’s victuals from the vulgar eye of light. I assumed that they breakfasted en chapeau as well, but by the hour that your pilgrim sat down to his flapjacks, the rough ol’ dudes had already gone off to try to strike it rich.
When a man’s brain is constantly heated by thoughts of striking it rich, thoughts that don’t fade much at mealtime, perhaps he requires some sort of perpetual head cover to cool the cerebral machinery. On the other hand, since they live in relatively close proximity to America’s major nuclear test site, a nerve-gas depot, several mysterious airfields, and numerous depositories for our government’s nasty toxic secrets, maybe the rough ol’ dudes are just trying to prevent their haircuts from ever flickering in the dark. If I lived in west-central Nevada, I might dine in gloves and a Mylex suit.
Naturally, one has to wonder if the men of Nevada also sleep in their hats. More pointedly, do they sleep with their wives, girlfriends, and thoroughly legal prostitutes in their hats? I intended to interview a Nevada woman or two on the subject, but never quite got aro