Working name of US writer Thomas Eugene Robbins (1936- ), whose novels, beginning with Another Roadside Attraction (1971), incorporate fantasy elements as aspects of his vision of a fable-choked USA. The pixillated mythopoesis of this first novel – in which the mummified body of Christ, guarded by Jesuits in the mountains of Washington State, focuses various loose-limbed Quest episodes – already bestows a sense of Belatedness upon the hippie consciousnesses at its heart. In this, TR's work resembles early stories of his near contemporary, William Kotzwinkle.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976), Still Life With Woodpecker (1980) and Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (1994) have relatively minor fantasy elements; but Jitterbug Perfume (1984) cannily invokes a wiseacre though fading Pan to preside over a fabulated paean to Sex and Immortality. Skinny Legs and All (1990) features five characters who have been brought to life after thousands of years by a Phoenician love Goddess in the throes of sexual intercourse, as by-blows. Intersecting with their tales is an ongoing plot by a fundamentalist Christian preacher to bring about the End of the World through the reconstruction of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.
TR's books lack bite for some; but for others their playful dance-like intricacies seem joyous. [JC]
Thomas Eugene Robbins