Number six on my list of the 10 books left off of everyone elseís best 100 books of the 20th century list:
Another Roadside Attraction, by Tom Robbins
Itís simply criminal to leave Tom Robbins off of any top 10 list (unless itís a list of the ten most dastardly things to come from Satanís sock drawer). To omit him entirely from the top 100 best books of the 20th century is practically a crime against humanity.
As with any Tom Robbins book the plot is nearly impossible to summarize and still have it make any sense. Suffice it to say, it involves the mummified corpse of Jesus, a magicianís underpants, the nature of human belief systems and the animistic properties of hot dogs.
This is Tom Robbins first book, going way back to 1971, if you can believe it. Like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Another Roadside Attraction deals with the aftermath of the collapse of the sixties. But this book is the other side of the coin. Where fear and Loathing is a drag race through the burning ruins of a revolution fueled by adrenachrome and cocaine, Another Roadside is a stroll through a crumbled graveyard while munching mushrooms and smoking pot.
Other then the same general themes, the two books have nothing in common and I probably shouldnít have even compared them-- like apples and star fruit, thatís how alike they are. But itís too late now. Too Late I tell you!
Another Roadside Attraction has some of Mr. Robbins most glorious prose and should be read if only to fully enjoy the poetic possibilities of the English language. Along the way though you might just fall in love with the lisping gypsy that is Amanda, and learn from a trained baboon named Mon Cul the only word in the English language that rhymes with orange. The mere possibility of such a thing is reason enough to read this book and treasure it as one of the most overlooked and under recognized works of literature.