Wild Ducks Flying Backward

So does this latest Tom Robbins installment indicate that he’s giving up fiction, perhaps getting more secure in his retirement and less concerned with social commentary (and muff)? Wild Ducks Flying Backward is not standard Robbins fare. Simply, it’s a peek into his top desk drawer: old essays, tributes and travel pieces mingle together at a soiree for his short writings. Travel pieces like “Canyon of the Vaginas” (Esquire, 1988) display his ever-present reverence for the feminine, and his eclectic, witty humor. Robbins explores themes he’s touched on in his other books: kissing, redheads and the Genius Waitress. The poems are all right, but suggest why Robbins is remembered for his fiction. Most interesting and inspiring are Robbins’ “Responses.” He answers the questions: “Why Do You Live Where You Live?”, “How Do You Feel About America?”, and “What is the Meaning of Life?” This is about as close to a personal interview as most would hope to get from the elusive author. Here’s to Robbins for compiling his work for the lazy aficionado. And here’s to hoping that he hasn’t forgotten his fiction.