Every once in a while a writer emerges who is so fresh, so original they
become the prototype for a new style. They become elemental. You can tell
that a writer has achieved this status when their name is used in a sentence
like this: "This spare, hilarious, angst-ridden story is equal parts
Carver, Sedaris, and Salinger." For the past three decades, Tom Robbins's
name has helped describe countless exuberant, subversive, cerebral, libidinous,
psychedelic romps through the weirdly conflicted mores of the late 20th
century. However, as Robbins reminds readers in this, his spectacular,
seventh novel, there's still nothing like the original.
Like all of Robbins's fiction, the compellingly convoluted plot of Fierce
Invalids Home from Hot Climates revolves around a spectacular, larger-than-life
character. And, even by Robbins's standards, Switters is a doozy. Propelled
through life by the most improbable, outrageous collection of contradictions
in all of literature (he's an anarchist working for the CIA, a wheelchair-bound
world traveler, etc.) Switters finds himself in the strangest situations
(plowing through the South American jungle in order to free a decrepit
parrot), in league with the oddest people (misshapen shamans, renegade
nuns), and humming the least likely tunes ("Send in the Clowns").
That Robbins used this mess of material to effect a sort of clandestine
clarity is evidence of his underlying seriousness, and of his continued
mastery of the genre he invented. Martin, Powells.com
About the Author
Tom Robbins has been called "a vital natural resource" by the Portland Oregonian, "one of the wildest and most entertaining novelists in the world" by the Financial Times of London, and "the most dangerous writer in the world today" by Fernanda Pivano of Italy's Corriere della Sera. A Southerner by birth, Robbins has lived in and around Seattle since 1962.