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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (book)

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Title: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (book)  
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Subject: Gus Van Sant, Tom Robbins, List of University of Washington people, List of people from North Carolina
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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (book)

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author Tom Robbins
Country United States
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date 1976
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 365 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-395-24305-X
OCLC Number Dewey Decimal 813/.5/4
LC Classification PZ4.R636 Ev PS3568.O233

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

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 (US). 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).

In 2008, Seattle's Book-It Repertory Theatre adapted the novel into a stage production.


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 paperback novel.


External links

  • The Aftrlife: A Tom Robbins Playground
  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues – Language Over Story, Dan Geddes, The Satirist, November 1999

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