So my first two posts have been really serious, long winded, and took me many hours to prepare, which swayed me to take a slightly different direction with this post. I would like to, briefly (I promise this time) introduce you to an author. This site will not only be your source of original, long-form articles; it will also be a source of assorted short format, instant gratification. I will be sharing some of the various media, websites, people, concepts, books, tips, how-to’s, reviews, opinions, culture spotting and software reviews ( really anything goes ) that I have stumbled upon over the years.
I discovered the wonder of Tom Robbins with his latest masterpiece : “Fierce invalids home from hot climates”. After reading the first twenty or so pages, I stopped reading, and instantly called the second hand book stores I know, to get as many of his other titles as I possibly could. I then instantly called my sister (who had given the book to me with high regard) and informed her that I was never ever going to give it back to her, and she simply just had to make her peace with that. By the time I had finished it, I had already ordered and received two more titles of his: “Jitterbug perfume” and “Villa Incognito” . I instantly read those two too. This seems to be a trend. I have since recommended this author and specifically Fierce Invalids to several friends, colleges and family. It’s amusing to watch as they will, without fail, almost compulsively be driven to acquire as many of his works as possible, and then try and reverse-recommend another of his novels, to me and others, as if we all don’t all already have the full Tom Robbins bibliography.
I have been told, and witnessed for myself, that when people reach a level of mastery, beyond mere competence, there is usually an aesthetic component. Martial arts masters seem to perform, to dance even and are so powerful, it is beautiful to behold; A master guitarist plays his instrument so convincingly that it seems a part of the performer a natural extension of his mastery; even professors and scientists, such as Richard Feynman, express idea’s so profound yet elegant, they seem to be a living form of beautiful thought. When I first experienced Robbins, it became clear to me that, for the first time, I was witness to the same sort of beautiful mastery, except with words.
It seems to transcend the need for plot and any hint of story could almost be accidental and unnecessary. In my opinion, the plot somehow, while translucent is so novel and coldly solid the author’s novels exists in a genre of it’s own. When people ask me what a book is about, my response is usually: “Once you start reading it, you’ll know why it doesn’t matter.”
His style is so refreshing, and far beyond anything I’ve ever read before, I was not only willing, but convinced (by the author and his hero) that there is a correct word for every need, and an author should use only the correct words for it’s specific situation. I simply do not care how big you thing your vocabulary is, you will need a dictionary handy when you read a Robbins. Actually most “pocket” dictionaries will be useless, you will either need internet access or plan to read the book in the reference section of your local library.
OK hotshot, so you think, you know all the words then? Pop quiz : define phrontifugic without looking it up.
You looked it up didn’t you, and what did you find? Most of Google’s results reference it’s use in Fierce Invalids.
His unrivalled vocabulary is rivalled only by his ability to use it. You will be reading several hundred pages of metaphor so crisp and enlightening, you will be forced to exorcize your own powers of mental imagery.
The contrasts of laugh-out-loud (while reading quietly at the airport) and taboo-smashing intensity, gives his works a real world sense of scale and believability.
All the Robbins love aside, my favourite part is recommending him to others. Do so for yourself and see how fun it is to bask in the proxy glory of their appreciation for having discovered this author.
I don’t try and hide my fan-love for Robbins. Do you have an author that you absolutely adore? Who would you recommend first and above all? Let us know in the comments!
Click through to take advantage of the “Look inside” feature from Amazon to read some of the book.