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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (novel)

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Title: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (novel)  
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Subject: Tom Robbins, Gus Van Sant, Another Roadside Attraction, Villa Incognito, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (novel)

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
First edition (hardcover)
Author Tom Robbins
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 365 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-395-24305-X
OCLC 1993290
LC Class PZ4.R636 Ev PS3568.O233

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a 1976 novel by Tom Robbins.[1]


  • Plot summary 1
  • Film, TV or theatrical adaptations 2
  • Literary significance and criticism 3
  • Influences 4
  • Development history 5
    • Partial publication history 5.1
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Plot summary

Sissy Hankshaw, the novel's protagonist, is a woman born with enormously large thumbs who considers her mutation a gift.[2] The novel covers various topics, including free love, drug use, political rebellion, animal rights, body odor, religion, and yams.

Sissy capitalizes on the size of her thumbs by becoming a hitchhiker and subsequently travels to New York, United States (U.S.). The character becomes a model for The Countess, a male homosexual tycoon of feminine hygiene products. The Tycoon introduces Sissy to a staid Mohawk named Julian Gitche, whom she later marries. In her later travels, she encounters, among many others, a sexually open cowgirl named Bonanza Jellybean and an itinerant escapee from a Japanese internment camp happily mislabeled The Chink. The Chink is presented as a hermetic mystic and, at one point. states, "I believe in everything; nothing is sacred. I believe in nothing; everything is sacred. Ha Ha Ho Ho Hee Hee." A flock of whooping cranes also makes frequent appearances throughout the novel, which includes details of their physical characteristics and migratory patterns. Robbins also inserts himself into the novel (as a character).

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

The novel was made into a 1993 film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, Pat Morita, Angie Dickinson, Keanu Reeves, John Hurt, Rain Phoenix, Ed Begley, Jr., Carol Kane, Victoria Williams, Sean Young, Crispin Glover, Roseanne Arnold, Buck Henry, Grace Zabriskie, and Treva Jeffryes. Robbins himself was the narrator.

Literary significance and criticism

Cowgirls ... has been considered a hippie novel by Van Sant.[3] Robbins writes short chapters filled with philosophical asides and quips (such as noting that because amoebae reproduce by binary fission, the first amoeba is still alive), often speaking to the reader (chapter 88 begins with the narrator noting that the book now has as many chapters as a piano has keys).


Development history

The novel was originally to be published by Doubleday as they had right-of-first-refusal to Robbin's second book. However Robbins terminated his contract with Doubleday for a better offer from editor Ted Solotaroff and Bantam Books. Bantam was mass-paperback publisher and they sold auctioned the rights for hardcover to Houghton Mifflin.

Partial publication history

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues was first published in 1976 by Houghton Mifflin. It was concurrently released as both a hardcover and trade paperback novel. It was later released as a mass-market paperback by Bantam Books.

  • First hardcover edition: ISBN 0-395-24305-X, Houghton Mifflin, 1976.
  • First trade paperback edition: ISBN 0-395-24510-9, Houghton Mifflin, 1976.
  • First mass-market paperback edition Bantam Books, 1977. Reissued in 1990 with ISBN 978-0-553-34949-8


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External links

  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues – Language Over Story, Dan Geddes, The Satirist, November 1999
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