Summary and book reviews of Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins

Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

by Tom Robbins

Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins X
Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2000, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2001, 480 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A provocative, rascally novel that takes no prisoners - and yet is upbeat, romantic, meaningful, adventurous, edifying, and fun.

In Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, his seventh and biggest novel, the wise, witty, always gutsy Tom Robbins brings onstage the most complex and compelling character he has ever created.

Switters is a contradiction for all seasons: an anarchist who works for the government, a pacifist who carries a gun, a vegetarian who sops up ham gravy, a cyberwhiz who hates computers, a robust bon vivant who can be as squeamish as any fop, a man who, though obsessed with the preservation of innocence, is aching to deflower his high-school-age stepsister (only to become equally enamored of a nun ten years his senior).

Yet there is nothing remotely wishy-washy about Switters. He doesn't merely pack a pistol. He is a pistol.

And as we dog Switters's strangely elevated heels across four continents, in and out of love and danger, Robbins explores, challenges, mocks, and celebrates virtually every major aspect of our mercurial era.

As many readers well know, to describe a Tom Robbins plot does not begin to describe a Tom Robbins novel. Moreover, the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author, with his love of language, nuance, and surprise, is as opposed to story summations as J.D. Salinger. It is revealing, however, to learn what things Robbins lists as having influenced the writing of Fierce Invalids:

"This book was inspired by an entry from Bruce Chatwin's journal, by a CIA agent I met in Southeast Asia, by the mystery surrounding the lost prophecy of the Virgin of Fatima, by the increasing evidence that the interplay of opposites is the engine that runs the universe, and by embroidered memories of old Terry and the Pirates comic books."

Robbins also has said that throughout the writing of Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates he was guided by the advice of Julia Child: "Learn to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. Above all, have a good time."

Perhaps that is why he has managed to write a provocative, rascally novel that takes no prisoners--and yet is upbeat, romantic, meaningful, adventurous, edifying, and fun.

Lima, Peru
October 1997

The naked parrot looked like a human fetus spliced onto a kosher chicken. It was so old it had lost every single one of its feathers, even its pinfeathers, and its bumpy, jaundiced skin was latticed by a network of rubbery blue veins.

"Pathological," muttered Switters, meaning not simply the parrot but the whole scene, including the shrunken old woman in whose footsteps the bird doggedly followed as she moved about the darkened villa. The parrot's scabrous claws made a dry, scraping noise as they fought for purchase on the terra-cotta floor tiles, and when, periodically, the creature lost its footing and skidded an inch or two, it issued a squawk so quavery and feeble that it sounded as if it were being petted by the Boston Strangler. Each time it squawked, the crone clucked, whether in sympathy or disapproval one could not tell, for she never turned to her devoted little companion but wandered aimlessly from one piece of ancient wooden furniture to ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

New York Post
In his seventh, and perhaps most complex novel to date, Robbins shines as brilliantly as he has in the past...superb current social commentary.

Kirkus Reviews
A lot of fun, but less so if an overdeveloped sense of reader-duty wont let you pass by the plot-stopping diatribes that have become Robbins' habit.

Author Blurb Thomas Pynchon
Tom Robbins has a grasp on things that dazzles the brain and he's also a world-class storyteller.

Reader Reviews

Biscuit

Brilliant, witty, sick but yet what everyone thinks (or should)!

Bob

Tom Robbins has slipped the dream into reality, fiction into history, and Switters into Bangkok. Philisophically brilliant, religiously enticing, and downright histerical, I'll never look at a nun the same way!!!

Brian Hartley

The best central character i have ever read.

Ruby Lipps

This is Tom Robbins at his finest...again. His mind's eye allows him to put out incredibly creative narrative descriptions. His command of language is impressive. Some of his “action” might not be for everyone but his writing is so exquisite I would ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Tom Robbins

If you liked Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, try these:

  • Bowlaway jacket

    Bowlaway

    by Elizabeth McCracken

    Published 2019

    About this book

    More books by this author

    A sweeping and enchanting new novel from the widely beloved, award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin bowling alley.

  • Luminous Airplanes jacket

    Luminous Airplanes

    by Paul LaFarge

    Published 2012

    About this book

    More books by this author

    A decade after the publication of Haussmann, or the Distinction, his acclaimed novel about nineteenth-century Paris, Paul La Farge turns his imagination to America at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join & Save $10!

Discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten. One-year membership: $29

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: One Night Two Souls Went Walking
    One Night Two Souls Went Walking
    by Ellen Cooney
    In One Night Two Souls Went Walking, we follow a young interfaith chaplain as she carries out her ...
  • Book Jacket: Truthtelling
    Truthtelling
    by Lynne Schwartz
    The word "unsayable" can mean something is too vast to be put into words. Alternatively, it can ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book Collectors
    The Book Collectors
    by Delphine Minoui
    About halfway through The Book Collectors, I was disappointed. I came into the book with a ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Sky Kingdom
    Blue Sky Kingdom
    by Bruce Kirkby
    Who hasn't dreamed of escaping all of the trappings of today's modern life and finding a secluded, ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
    by Ursula Hegi

    Set on a German island in 1878, perfect for fans of Water for Elephants.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline
The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.