i hope to live for many, many more years and read each and every day of my life, but i never expect to read anyone remotely like tom robbins. i think it is safe to say that there is no one out there that writes like this man. he's quirky, funny, cerebral, bizarre. but mostly, and most importantly, he's exciting. it's exciting to turn the pages of his book because you know you're guaranteed to read something different than what you've ever read before. he has such a unique way of looking at things and of phrasing them. you never know what is going to come next with him. i love reading him. i love the excitement that reading his books gives me.that said, this man is weird. i love it, but i understand that not everyone would be into it at all. (as an example, he has a couple of 'normal' main characters like you'd expect in a book, but also a few that are out of the ordinary - characters that feature prominently or briefly include a conch shell, a painted stick, a silver spoon, a dirty purple sock, a can of pork and beans, a drawer full of underwear, and a vibrator.) but seriously, i remain so impressed by his vision and his writing. and i said this before (i think about even cowgirls get the blues) but i'll say it again - i love reading a book written by a man who genuinely seems to understand (and use the terms) misogyny and patriarchy. i just don't feel like i have found that with anyone else under the 'general fiction' heading.in this one he (as always) hits upon a lot of different themes, but a few are more highlighted than the others: politics, art, religion (and history), and the intersection of those 3 things. the politics he focuses on is the middle east and the arab-israeli conflict, but his message is more global.as always, i really love reading him. here are a few of my favorite of his passages, some more weird than others:"What is politics, after all, but the compulsion to preside over property and make other people's decisions for them? Liberty, the very opposite of ownership and control, cannot, then, result from political action, either at the polls or the barricades, but rather evolves out of attitude.""Early religions were like muddy ponds with lots of foliage. Concealed there, the fish of the soul could splash and feed. Eventually, however, religions became aquariums. Then, hatcheries. From farm fingerling to frozen fish stick is a short swim.""The next morning started up like a fine German car. It was Ellen Cherry's day off, and she slumbered late. When, at last, she was fully awake, motor purring, she wiped the vibrator with a damp cloth, kissed it, and secreted it in a drawer where cotton underpants lived simply but proudly, without envy of satin or lace.""'Anyone who maintains absolute standards of good and evil is dangerous. As dangerous as a maniac with a loaded revolver. In fact, the person who maintains absolute standards of good and evil usually is the maniac with the revolver.'""Information about time cannot be imparted in a straightforward way. Like furniture, it has to be tipped and tilted to get it through the door. If the past is a solid oak buffet whose legs must be unscrewed and whose drawers must be removed before, in an altered state, it can be upended into the entryway of our minds, then the future is a king-size waterbed that hardly stands a chance, especially if it needs to be brought up in an elevator. / Those billions who persist in perceiving time as the pursuit of the future are continually buying waterbeds that will never make it beyond the front porch or the lobby. And if man's mission is to reside in the fullness of the present, then he's got no space for the waterbed, anyhow, not even if he could lower it through a skylight."