The first half of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is about as much fun as you can have listening to a book. Robbins really found his voice in this 1976 novel, and in full flight he is glorious-gaudy, giddy, ungodly, as original a creator of images as ever wrote. Mostly, this is the story of Sissy Hankshaw, she of the thumbs the size of watermelons, born to hitchhike. The tale takes us to the place where whooping cranes, peyote, yams, cowgirls, the Badlands, feminine hygiene products, and magic intersect. Who knew they intersected? Sadly, Robbins interrupts the fun midway to pummel us with ideas, many of them pretty half-baked, and the book never quite recovers its momentum. What a pity he momentarily ignored his own advice on treating subversion playfully. This edition features Michael Nouri's bravura reading, which captures both Robbins's manic energy and his smart-ass smugness. This is a counterculture classic, so libraries should buy it.-John Hiett, Iowa City P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.