First I must admit to being a bit of a Tom Robbins fan. I simply love Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Skinny Legs and All has some wonderful commentary on international peace efforts and the connections between human beings. It is entirely possible that I will post quotes from these, and other, novels by Tom Robbins at some time in the future.
Can you feel the ‘but’ coming?
Yep, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates will stand as the exception. The main character is a CIA agent with violent tendencies and a drug habit – all of which are pretty standard character traits incorporated into the character of international spies (See: James Bond) and elements that are covered in other Tom Robbins novels. The one thing Switters, the main character, indulges in that separates this novel from others is pedophilia. Specifically, he likes teenagers and extremely young looking international prostitutes found in countries where child sex-trafficking is disturbingly common. He is also entirely unrepentant about and comfortable with his ‘tastes.’
Add onto that the fact that his primary love interest is his 17-year-old step-sister, thus crossing the boundaries of incest; and he would make the perfect bad guy. If he were the bad guy, this novel might be more palpable; but he’s not the bad guy, he’s the highly sympathetic main character who stands as the voice of reason and the source of wonderfully philosophical statements on the nature of life and universe.
I gave it my best shot, but I simply cannot read this book.