Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

Tom Robbins, Author Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc $27.5 (432p) ISBN 978-0-553-10775-3
Fans of Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume; Still Life with Woodpecker) will be delighted to find that his first book in almost six years contains many of the elements they have come to expect from this imaginative author. Sex, sedition and similes abound in a tale of loves both indictable and divine. Unlike Robbins's previous work, however, the novel's story line, though typically eclectic, feels contrived. Switters, the protagonist, is an errand boy for the CIA, a secret lover of Broadway show tunes and a pedophile. On assignment in Peru (he has been ordered to verify the philosophical commitment of a new CIA recruit), Switters encounters a Kandakandero medicine man who gives him mind-altering drugs and wisdom, but in exchange inflicts a curse: if Switters's feet ever touch the ground, he will be struck dead instantly. So Switters spends the rest of the novel in a wheelchair, although this in no way slows him down. He returns to Seattle, chases after his 16-year-old stepsister and numerous art students, then embarks on a mission to Syria to sell gas masks to Kurds; there, he beds a nun who even so remains a virgin. In true Robbins style, the writing throughout is lush and sexy, containing a great deal of witty social and political commentary. But this time around, his story fails to catch hold until too far into the text. And although Robbins's signature prose is in effect here--he mentions, for example, ""a pink wink of panty""--he leaves too many loose ends dangling. Agent, Phoebe Larmore. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-1-84243-360-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 10 pages - 978-0-553-52732-2
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-553-37933-4
Open Ebook - 344 pages - 978-0-553-89790-6
Open Ebook - 417 pages - 978-1-74274-847-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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