Thursday, 24 July 2014

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

The perils of reading books that have some similarities too close together. (Or, at least partly, at the same time.) One of them suffers by comparison. So while Ghostwritten was a strong 4, almost 5 stars, Jitterbug Perfume squeaks into a 4, just barely.

Not that, in tone, Jitterbug Perfume and Ghostwritten have much in common. But they are both books with stories that initially seem unrelated, and later are revealed as interconnected, and both of which incorporate some otherworldly elements.

And Jitterbug Perfume suffers by comparison. It's an unfair comparison, I fully admit that. But there it is.

Jitterbug Perfume is a story of passion, immortality, and beets.

The best perfume makers across the globe find themselves receiving daily deliveries of mysteriously-appearing beets.

Paired with their evolving stories of trying to discover the source of the beets, while trying to make the perfect perfume, is the story of Alobar, a Bohemian king from pre-1000s, who is personally offended by death, and manages to figure out how to say "screw you" in a grand and life-affirming manner. Along the way, he meets a woman in India, and they have sex and breathe deeply across Eurasia.

This novel was funny, and fun, but I doubt it'll stick with me. But if you're looking something fairly light, with a side order of a desperate but enjoyable search for immortality on the side, and digressions about life and the way it could be lived, I would recommend giving this a read.

But, due to pure happenstance in my case, Jitterbug Perfume is linked in my mind to Ghostwritten, and suffers by comparison. Better luck next time!

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