Modern Fiction Tom Robbins Villa Incognito

ISBN 13: 9780553803327

Villa Incognito

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9780553803327: Villa Incognito

Imagine that there are American MIAs who chose to remain missing after the Vietnam War.

Imagine that there is a family in which four generations of strong, alluring women have shared a mysterious connection to an outlandish figure from Japanese folklore.

Imagine just those things (don’t even try to imagine the love story) and you’ll have a foretaste of Tom Robbins’s eighth and perhaps most beautifully crafted novel--a work as timeless as myth yet as topical as the latest international threat.

On one level, this is a book about identity, masquerade and disguise--about “the false mustache of the world”--but neither the mists of Laos nor the smog of Bangkok, neither the overcast of Seattle nor the fog of San Francisco, neither the murk of the intelligence community nor the mummery of the circus can obscure the linguistic phosphor that illuminates the pages of Villa Incognito.

A female fan once wrote to Tom Robbins:
“Your books make me think, they make me laugh, they make me horny and they make me aware of the wonder of everything in life.”

Villa Incognito will surely arouse a similar response in many readers, for in its lusty, amusing way it both celebrates existence and challenges our ideas about it.

To say much more about a novel as fresh and surprising as Villa Incognito would run the risk of diluting the sheer fun of reading it. As his dedicated readers worldwide know full well, it’s best to climb aboard the Tom Robbins tilt-a-whirl, kiss preconceptions and sacred cows goodbye and simply enjoy the ride.

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About the Author:

Tom Robbins, maverick author of eight juicy, daring and sagacious novels, is one of those rare writers who approach rock-star status, attracting SRO crowds at his personal appearances in Europe and Australia as well as in the United States. He lives primarily in the Seattle area.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It has been reported that Tanuki fell from the sky using his scrotum as a parachute.

That is not so ridiculous when we take into account the unusual size of Tanuki's scrotum.

Well, okay, it's still pretty ridiculous--and no less so just because in relation to his overall body mass, Tanuki's scrotum is proportionately larger than the scrota of elephants, whales, and the Jolly Green Giant. In those days, his testicular balloon bag may actually have been even more voluminous than it is today, though that's difficult to imagine since his balls very nearly drag the ground as it is, and any increase in volume would surely have been an impediment to mobility if, indeed, not a source of some pain. There is also the possibility that Tanuki had (and perhaps still has) the power to increase or decrease scrotum size at will.

Yet, having said all that, we must concede that the role of anatomical size per se in Tanuki's descent is not easy to determine, and a more pertinent question might be not how the badger managed to use his significant seed sack to parachute to earth but, rather: Where did he parachute from? And why?

Knock! Knock!

"Who's there?"

"Tanuki."

"Tanuki who?"

"Don't be stupid. Tanuki. Himself."

"Oh, I see. Well, where did you come from, Tanuki himself?"

"From the Other World."

"What other world?"

"The one before this one, moron. The World of the Animal Ancestors." His voice could have been shoveled from a gravel pit.

"Ah so. Excuse me, then, honorable animal ancestor. How did you get here?"

"Parachuted in. It's strictly forbidden, of course. Against all the rules. But what the hell. . . ."

The farmer looked around for signs of equipment, for a silk canopy, specifically, and a harness.

"Never mind that," growled Tanuki.

"Well, what is it you want here?"

"To drink rice wine."

"Sake? Understandable, but I don't think so. From the look of the grin on your face, you've drunk too much sake already. Anything else?"

"Yes. Girls. Young, pretty girls."

The man snorted such a laugh that something shot out of his nostril. "Forget about it. No girl would have anything to do with a funny-looking creature like you."

"Don't be too sure, old fool," snarled Tanuki, and with that he butted the farmer in the midsection with such force that the man fell to the ground, speechless, gasping for breath. Then, on his hind legs, round belly jiggling like a Santa Claus implant, the badger waddled over to the well where the man's daughter was filling water jars, and fixed her with his toothy, high-voltage grin, a smile so overheated and manic and wild it could crack a funhouse mirror or peel the lacquer off the chopsticks in a maiden's hair.

What immediately follows is a brief, and only partial, clarification concerning Tanuki's nature. To wit: while virtually everyone refers to him as a "badger," to the point where

"Badger" is practically his second name, the scientific truth is, Tanuki is not a badger at all. Any zoologist will gladly point out that tanukis are a species of East Asian wild dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), possessing the long snout, coloration, and markings of a raccoon, although lacking the raccoon's famous ringed tail.

The fact that tanukis are nearly tailless, coupled with their penchant for standing upright on their hind legs, undoubtedly plays a role in Tanuki's being so generally regarded in an anthropomorphic light. At the edge of a dark forest, it would be fairly easy for the impressionable to mistake a tanuki for a little man. But, thanks to his otherworldly powers, there happens to be an even more legitimate reason for Tanuki's anthropomorphic reputation, as we shall soon enough find out.

Before moving on, however, we must address the probability that the perceptive reader will have noticed in our narration an apparent and perhaps troubling inconsistency. Unless the author is simply too careless and sloppy to be trusted, why does he sometimes write "Tanuki" (singular, individual, a capitalized proper noun) and at other times, even in the same paragraph, write "tanukis" (plural, generic, an uncapitalized common noun)? The explanation is simple. This badgerish creature, like God, is both one and many.

Both. In the same instant. Like God.

As anybody who knows anything about the Unknowable well knows, "God" and "gods" are interchangeable. The exclusivistic patriarchal Jehovah/Allah freaks are not incorrect when they insist that there is but one Supreme Being and that "he" is immutable and absolute. However, neither are the wide-eyed inclusive pagans and primitives wrong when they recognize gods of fire alongside gods of rivers; honor a moon goddess, a crocodile spirit, and deities who reside in, among countless other places, tree trunks, rain clouds, peyote buttons, and neon lighting (especially the flashing whites and the greens).

Thus, if the reader is wise enough not to try to impose

human limitations or narrow notions of uniformity on the

Divine Principle, is nimble-minded enough to realize that he or she can be (perhaps should be!) simultaneously monotheistic and pantheistic, then he or she will have scant problem in accepting the paradoxical essence of our small friend, Tanuki of the tanukis.

At first, the daughter at the well seemed prepared to accept Tanuki's invitation to lie down with him. She was a farm girl, after all, and the mating activities of animals were as familiar to her as the sprouting of rice or the ripening of plums. Likewise, bestiality was not unknown to her, for she had brothers, cousins, and young male neighbors who, from time to time, were prone to so indulge. If we seldom if ever hear of girls participating in such sordid practices, it's certainly not because rural girls are any less lustful than their masculine counterparts. Perhaps it's due, rather, to the universal girlish character, which is cleaner, more restrained, sensitive, and finer-grained than that of the hopelessly coarse adolescent male. Or, it may only be a matter of logistics: it's one thing for a hormone-racked boy to mount a ewe, but a maid presenting herself to a ram is so awkward an enterprise as to be nearly unthinkable. It would test the girl's ingenuity and probably confuse the ram.

Still, Tanuki was no ordinary beast. He walked upright, had a charming accent, a confident and exotic manner, and a riveting, if somewhat unnerving, grin. So cute was he, and so persuasive, that she soon found herself loosening her kimono. Alas, when he commenced to boast about how he had recently parachuted to earth from the Other World, she grew frightened, ran away, and bolted the farmhouse door behind her. "I thought I saw a demon," she told her mother, to explain her blush and why she'd returned home without water.

Dejected, Tanuki stole a small jar of sake from its cooling place in the well and lumbered off into the forest to brood. At some point during the night, when he was quite tipsy, he began to drum on his protruding belly, as tanukis are wont to do, and the pla-bonga pla-bonga sound of his drumming eventually attracted a kitsune. A fox.

"You idiot," Kitsune scolded him, after Tanuki had bemoaned his woeful failure. "How could you be so naive as to tell a human being the truth? Men live by embedding themselves in ongoing systems of illusion. Religion. Patriotism. Economics. Fashion. That sort of thing. If you wish to gain the favor of the two-legged ilk, you must learn to fabricate as wholeheartedly as they do. Actually, by sabotaging their static illusions, we can sometimes help turn their stale deceptions into fresh possibilities for their race, but that's probably a mission you're neither interested in nor suited for. So, just lie to people any way you see fit and reap what benefits you can--but do bear in mind that you should never, ever lie to yourself."

Much of the fox's wisdom was lost on the drunken badger, but he'd grasped one important fact, and the following dusk when he approached the farmer's daughter at the well, he took a different tack. "My pretty cherry flower," he rasped, "I am, in fact, merely a simple beast of the woods who has become enchanted by your beauty and yesterday was driven to misspeak due to the intensity of my desire to hold your sweet hand and nuzzle your exquisite neck."

"Oh my," gasped the girl. And she watched him with a mixture of pity, vanity, and awe as his tiny fingers undid her sash.

Afterward, leaving the girl exhausted on the moss, Tanuki rapped at the farmer's door. "Ten thousand pardons, honorable sir," he said, bowing deeply. "In addition to the impolite interjection of my head bone into yesterday's conversation, I'm afraid I also told a little fib. Look at me, sir. Look me over. Obviously, I'm no Animal Ancestor. Damned ridiculous! No, I'm merely a poor orphan of the woodlands, temporarily down on his luck and maddeningly hungry. Both frogs and wild onions are scarce this season, and my ravenous self would be forever in your debt if you might spare . . ."

Somewhat apprehensively, the farmer set a bowl of boiled rice by the kitchen door. Tanuki proceeded to eat, taking deliberately dainty bites, chewing very, very slowly; and when his host grew bored and turned his attention to some household chore, the badger suddenly seized a cask of sake quite as large as himself and, short legs pumping, heavy scrotum swinging, escaped with it into the brush, one step ahead of the farmer's ax.

That night Tanuki got snockered so enthusiastically that the sake got snockered along with him. He thumped his full belly--pla-bonga pla-bonga--and his grin fought a duel with the moon.

Tanuki relished homemade sake. He liked dancing his drum...

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Robbins, Tom
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ISBN 10: 0553803328 ISBN 13: 9780553803327
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Descrizione libro Bantam Books, New York, New York, 2003. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Condizione sovraccoperta: New. Bill Slater (illustratore). First Edition. Brodart protected dust jacket. "Imagine that there are American MIAs who chose to remain missing after the Vietnam War. Imagine that there is a family in which four generations of strong, alluring women have shared a mysterious connection to an outlandish figure from Japanese folklore. Imagine just those things (dont even try to imagine the love story) and youll have a foretaste of Tom Robbinss eighth and perhaps most beautifully crafted novel--a work as timeless as myth yet as topical as the latest international threat. On one level, this is a book about identity, masquerade and disguise--about "the false mustache of the world"--but neither the mists of Laos nor the smog of Bangkok, neither the overcast of Seattle nor the fog of San Francisco, neither the murk of the intelligence community nor the mummery of the circus can obscure the linguistic phosphor that illuminates the pages of Villa Incognito". Size: 8.52x5.84x.94 in. Codice libro della libreria 000736

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