Jitterbug Perfume

By Tom Robbins,

Book cover of Jitterbug Perfume

Book description

Jitterbug Perfume is an epic. Which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn't conclude until nine o'clock tonight [Paris time]. It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Jitterbug Perfume as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I love Tom Robbins. I love his preposterous plots. I love his audacious metaphors. I love the never-ending details of one world crashing into another.

Like an 8th C King as well as a 20th C “genius waitress,” an aging “Queen of Good Smells,” and the skyscraper-housed “LeFever Parfumarie.” Spanning 13 centuries, bouncing from Bohemia to India to Paris to Seattle to New Orleans, Jitterbug Perfume wonders if Christianity will kill Pan and whether immortality is all it’s cracked up to be.

But, you ask, what about the beets? Yes, through all this Tomfoolery, Mr. Robbins loves him some natural…

From Jeffrey's list on where imagination and nature run free.

This book is so absurd and ambitious, I couldn’t help but laugh and marvel at it the entire time.

It combines so many of my favorite things like myths and craft (in this instance, perfume-making).

It is so wild, weird, and wonderful, I always return to it when I remember that reading should be fun and writing should be like playing! I was hooked from the very first page.

From Ling's list on the power of music.

Tom Robbins improbably sets his tale in the world of perfumery, dividing it between the ancient world and the present, both peopled by unforgettable characters. And who knew that beets played such an important role in the realm of manufactured scents? The writing feels as deliberate as it does offhand, his arch sense of humor leaping from the pages to make me laugh aloud. At the beginning of the novel, Mr. Robbins warns, “A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil,” and then pulls readers into his story by telling them, “That is a risk we…

A sweeping tale of profound, everlasting love. Like Vonnegut, I could pretty much put any of Tom Robbins’ books on this list. His ability to effortlessly balance difficult subjects with a wink and a smile while presenting deft character examinations and convoluted plotlines fascinates me. One moment he will be discussing the history of man and our atrocities only to eventually explain how a stone tossed 500 years ago informed the creation of the taco. While some may find Robbins sardonic at times, I’ve always perceived a level of warmth for his characters and in his commentary that draws me…

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