Wild Ducks Flying Backward

By Tom Robbins

Recognized for his meaty seriocomic novels, Tom Robbins’s shorter paintings has seemed in courses starting from Esquire to Harper’s, from Playboy to the New York Times. gathered the following for the 1st time in paperback, the essays, articles, observations—and even a few untypical country-music lyrics—offer an extraordinary evaluation of the eclectic sensibility of an American original.

Whether rocking with the doorways, depoliticizing Picasso’s Guernica, lamenting the angst-ridden nation of latest literature, or drooling over tomato sandwiches and a species of womanhood he calls “the genius waitress,” Tom Robbins’s briefer writings show the 5 characteristics that maybe most sensible symbolize his novels: an inventive wit, a cheerfully brash put out of your mind for conference, a sweetly nasty eroticism, a paranormal yet keenly observant eye, and an irrepressible love of language. Embedded during this essentially journalistic compilation are brand-new brief tales, a sheaf of mostly unpublished poems, and an offbeat overview of our divided state. anyplace you open Wild geese Flying Backward, you’ll come across the intense playfulness that percolates from the brain of a self-described “romantic Zen hedonist” and “stray puppy within the dinner party halls of culture.”

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To determine the Selous, one hikes and one paddles. And while an irritated hippopotamus is charging one’s rubber raft, one paddles very tough, certainly. whilst I introduced to friends and family that i used to be going climbing and river rafting via an unlimited patch of African cabbage, they didn’t ask why. they need to have learned that once 3 years bent over an idling and backfiring novel, skinning my knuckles on each bolt and wrench within the literary toolbox, i wished to blow a bit carbon out of my very own exhaust. possibly additionally they sensed that once my contemporary dealings with editors, brokers, legal professionals, manufacturers, and reviewers, i would be primed for the corporate of crocodiles. no one was once relatively involved that i used to be off to stroll with the animals, speak with the animals, squawk with the animals. in any case, I as soon as became down a suggestion of manatee steak in a unusual eating place in Cuba, and i've made it a lifelong perform by no means so far ladies who put on leopard-skin pillbox hats. My beast karma used to be beautiful reliable. however, having heard AMA terror tales of schistosomiasis and malaria, of elephantiasis-enlarged testicles so large the negative proprietor has to push them round in a wheelbarrow, and definite, of the narcoleptic legacy of the tsetse fly, friends and family fretted all and sundry approximately tropical illness. it sounds as if, the glaring scares us lower than the invisible: we determine it’s more straightforward to outrun a undergo than a bugbear. good, parents, to not fear. First, i used to be filled to the gullet with malaria prophylactics and pincushioned with inoculations opposed to the main familiar tropical maladies (unfortunately, there’s no [yawn] serum that wards off “sleeping sickness”), and moment, the actual fact that the Selous is unoccupied by means of people or cattle capacity ailment is never reduced in size there. within the Selous, the tsetse is all pester and no siesta. Ah, yet I’d missed something. The Selous itself is a tropical illness: feverish, torpid, unique, achy, sweaty, hallucinogenic, and, as I’ve discovered considering the fact that coming domestic, recurrent. simply whilst i believe that I’m over it, that rush-hour gridlock, income-tax audits, and viewings of Amadeus have labored their acculturizing therapies, I undergo one more assault of Selous flu. It comes on with a moist vapor, with a vibration of membrane, with howls and hoofbeats that no-one else within the room can listen, and even if i'd be in the middle of anything really very important, corresponding to opting for which model of burglar alarm to put in on my newly violated entrance door, it by no means fails to distract me with stories of a sweeter, purifier, if much less cozy position; a spot the place clocks dissolve, the place even loss of life is sincere, and primitive equalities prevail…. It’s our first day within the bush. At this aspect, I’m nonetheless a tsetse virgin. From the port urban of Dar es Salaam, now we have traveled into the internal on a toy railroad: one locomotive, one motor vehicle, and narrow-gauge song, all 3 equipped by way of the chinese language. It used to be certainly no longer a primary line. It used to be a chow mein line. ok, ok, however the chow at the educate was once lovely solid.

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