Book: Villa Incognito

Angie BrownTom Robbins has been one of my favorite authors for many, many moons. Villa Incognito is one of his newest books. It’s got all the familiar Robbins tropes—the distinct spicy flavor and colorful phrasing, outlandish plots and kooky characters… but sadly, the story doesn’t really hold together very well. Tom was quite advanced in age at the time of Villa’s writing (2003); and since he’s previously written many  a brilliant and delightful book in his career, he will be forgiven for …this hot mess.

Tom was still kickin’ it in the Pacific Northwest last time I checked. Hope what I said about this book doesn’t get back to him. I love Tom, I do. See how I put his name down at the bottom with the tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog/trickster spirit)? That’s my tribute, see.

If you’ve never before read a Robbins, don’t start with this book. Get you some Skinny Legs & All, or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, or Another Roadside Attraction, anything from that era.

Truth be told, I stalled out on this bookcover, having finished the book months ago—but I had no ideas whatsoever, and was overwhelmed with a certain malaise of disappointment and inertia. And weirdly, I felt like I couldn’t move on and read another book until I’d fulfilled my commitment to draw a cover for this one. Afterall,

…a promise one makes to oneself hurts twice as much when it’s broken.

And now I am finally free to move on to the next great read, yay!

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