Stranger than fiction

Print This Page

First Posted: 5/26/2014

There is a name that appears when traveling in small circles. All around the world, it comes off the tip of the tongue like the most delectable treat you have ever eaten. A man, a strutting scribe with a gift of humor and creative vivacity who weaves everyday life into gold is the one, the only, Tom Robbins.

Tom Robbins is a name that should be recognized by now. Spanning over four decades, Robbins published his first novel, “Another Roadside Attraction,” in 1971. After that, one by one, his books would grow to become cult classics. Understandably so, as Robbins’ fiction is unlike any other — the wonderful and the weird all wrapped up in exhilarating prose. But, in Robbins’s most recent work, “Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life,” readers are finally given a backstage pass into his real life — one, as you might imagine, that is stranger than fiction.

While the work may be true, Robbins hesitates to call it an autobiography. After all, as Robbins notes, such works err on the side of arrogance, whereas his account, as I can now express, only results in hilarity. The first memories Robbins shares with readers definitely have potential to shock; perhaps it was all the toxic concoctions he managed to imbibe by age five or his first attempts to hitchhike with a babe in hand. Robbins’ tales of ridiculousness would ensue thereafter, from his child dictations to his mother about aspirations of writing and onward to the present, with his very own editor.

However, all eccentric behaviors aside, at 81 years old, Robbins has stayed true to himself. As exemplified in his previous works, Robbins continues his adored writerly traditions of bright, imaginative, and deeply stimulating language. His expressive use and understanding of language has always been structured in such a way that, while articulate and expansive, it remains conversational, carrying a singsong cadence throughout.

Robbins’s conclusion remains poignant and true: “If I have been given any gift in this life, it’s my ability to live simultaneously in the rational world and the world of imagination.” Indeed, Robbins’s life has been one of great adventure. From his beginnings as a child growing up in North Carolina and Virginia to his expeditions with mythologist Joseph Campbell in Latin America, Robbins, both in writing and life, has proved that he is anything but ordinary. Beckoning back to one of his first novels, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” Robbins reminds readers to “live for the beauty of our own reality.”

‘Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life’ by Tom Robbins Rating: W W W W W