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Villa Incognito

Narrated by: Barrett Whitener
Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Summary

Imagine that there are American MIAs who chose to remain missing after the Vietnam War.

Imagine that there is a family in which four generations of strong, alluring women have shared a mysterious connection to an outlandish figure from Japanese folklore.

Imagine just those things (don't even try to imagine the love story) and you'll have a foretaste of Tom Robbins's eighth and perhaps most beautifully crafted novel - a work as timeless as myth yet as topical as the latest international threat.

On one level, this is a book about identity, masquerade and disguise - about "the false mustache of the world" - but neither the mists of Laos nor the smog of Bangkok, neither the overcast of Seattle nor the fog of San Francisco, neither the murk of the intelligence community nor the mummery of the circus can obscure the linguistic phosphor that illuminates the pages of Villa Incognito.

©2003 Tom Robbins (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Here we have weirdness personified, a quirky, outrageous concoction that is a joy to the imagination." (Publishers Weekly)
"It's a fun read." (Booklist)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J. Houlding
  • J. Houlding
  • 18-05-03

More excellent Robbins

If you love Tom Robbins, then you will like this book. The narration is fantastic, and the story is compelling. The classic problem is that it is difficult to wrap up so many stories at the end, so he uses an epilogue to finish the book, which was a little bit of a let down. That being said, it has some great characters, storylines and made me laugh out loud.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Susan
  • Susan
  • 09-05-04

Not his best effort...

I am a big Tom Robbins fan and have read almost all of his books. He has a very unconventional sense of humor and a joie de vivre that some people find disconcerting. I did like this book, but I didn't think it was one of his best. The story is complicated and you do have to stick with it at times, as it gets kind of confusing. But that is Mr. Robbins' style: to twist a familiar theme until you begin to see it from the inside out. I have gotten some great insights from his books in the past, but I couldn't get close to any of characters in this novel or their predicaments. Part of the difficulty may be with the reading itself. The reader's attempts at the various accents, especially the asian ones (which sound like something from a Monty Python sketch), were highly stereotypical and difficult to relate to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Noah
  • Noah
  • 09-12-06

Some great sentences, but an incomplete story

Many people would argue that Robbins never focuses very much on plot or story, but I have found his stream of consciousness adventures to be some of the most fun, clever and engrossing books that I have read.

That being said, Villa Incognito was a bit of a dissapointment. This novel follows the same formula as his other books, and it seems that half way through, he got bored with writing another novel about absurdity, gurus, and wahoo and decided to just end it. This really feels like a story that he just got tired of writing and so he tied it together at the end real quick.

Still, it is Robbins, so you'll find some of the most playful use of English and structure around. I still got a happy fizzy feeling reading this, but with the rapid conclusion of developing plots, the reader is left feeling a bit cheated in the end.

If you like Robbins and have read his other work. You will definitely enjoy this, but I would recommend reading his other titles first.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David Shear
  • David Shear
  • 21-05-13

Great story but the narrator ruins it.

I love Tom Robbins. I had read Villa Incognito years ago and was excited to listen to it. I've enjoyed all the other Robbins books in audio format. This narrator is terrible. His Thai accent and "cowboy" accents are terrible to the point of distraction. Robbins books are naughty and glib and don't take themselves seriously, that's the beauty of his story-telling. They need a subtle touch. Robbins books, as most great stories, need the narrator to become invisible and let the story shine through. This performance was so disappointing.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daniel
  • Daniel
  • 18-06-07

bored through

I've read a lot of Mr. Robbins' books, and this is one Im forcing my way thorough. He can be great, but this one just doesnt grab me enough to enjoy as an audiobook. It loses my attention too often, and I feel like it may be better enjoyed as reading material. The book starts out with the narrator doing these Mr. Magoo accents, and when it persisted, I thought I was going to flip out and chuck my ipod. But they let up, thankfully. Try Jitterbug Perfume.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kate Barattini
  • Kate Barattini
  • 08-04-18

Incredible narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I mean, Tom Robbins, if you enjoy his books you're obviously going to enjoy this one...but THAT NARRATOR! I feel like he did a wonderful job.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All of them. Madam Ko was badass.

What about Barrett Whitener’s performance did you like?

He was a natural.

If you could take any character from Villa Incognito out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Hmmm...Either Stubblefield or the fox whose name I cannot spell.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kathryn
  • Kathryn
  • 15-11-08

Fantastic!

This entire book is underrated, but the audio reading of the book is even better than the book itself. The reader does a fabulous job, using accents and varying voices for the unique characters. This is truly a must hear! I even named my dog after the main character...


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Douglas Easterly
  • Douglas Easterly
  • 15-07-19

Decent storytelling, stereotypical accents

I struggled through the terrible, dated, stereotypical Asian accents to appreciate this novel. my wife loves Robbins and knows my interest in stories of yokai, but man, the way that Asian accents are depicted in verbal yellowface was really off-putting.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Seif
  • Seif
  • 15-05-19

Didn't complete the book

i didn't complete the book as its a very bad book and learned recently through an ad that i can exchange it

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Badger McBadger
  • Badger McBadger
  • 19-03-19

Relies on weirdness

I read Robbins quite a bit 10 years ago and it captured my imagination more as an early 20 something. Now, he seems to rely on sophistry and strangeness to make up for a lack of real substance. His prejudices are apparent in this one particularly and there is a fair number of new-liberal propaganda and cliches throughout. What is left after attacking politics and religion and tradition is basically sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I was left feeling uniformed and kind of hollow. I will say, he has some good metaphors though. And there are some funny parts in the details