Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins is one of my favourite novels of all time.It is a book I go back to often. It is like my very own ‘Happy Place’ in the world of books.
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 bottle. The bottle is blue, very, very old and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left. …’It sparkles with original insights, wild ideas, erotic juices, prose poems, extraordinary characters, sermonettes, surprises and sacred monkey-shines’.
This book has everything a book needs, it is original, it brings both the fantastic and the reality to the reader and the words are brimming with wit. It has love and relationships at its heart, with a shot of religion, eternal life, and death thrown in to make you think. And wonder.
‘The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the readish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious’
‘The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being. Still, lovers quarrel. Frequentely, they quarrel simply to recharge the air between them, to sharpen the aliveness of their relationship. To precipitate such a quarrel, the sweaty kimono of sexual jealousy is usually dragged out of the hamper, although almost any excuse will do. Only rarely is the spat rooted in the beet-deep soil of serious issue, but when it is, a special sadness attends it, for the mind is slower to heal than the heart, and such quarrels can doom a union, even one that has prospered for a very long time.’
This book can be rather philosophical but I believe that it gets the juices flowing, the mind thinking, agreeing and disagreeing. The ride is a fantastic one and I couldn’t recommend any other book more highly.