Jitterbug Perfume

After my last exposé on Tom Robbins' unusual style, I had the following conversation with my friend Tracy who initially recommended him to me...
TRACY: So where are you going with this? I can't tell if you like [Tom Robbins] or if you're mocking me. :-) Not that I'm going to be upset, just curious. :-)

ALEX: I'm just putting it out there.  They're humorous whether you find them clever or desperate.

TRACY: That's a nice, safe answer.

ALEX: Well, I'd like to think he was imitating bad writing as a joke, but then again, this is a guy who has a talking can of beans as a major character.

TRACY: Interesting.  I've always loved his writing specifically for his similes/metaphors.

ALEX: Jitterbug Perfume has more concise similes and more metaphors.  Lengthy similes make it look like the author is reaching for a comparison by description because he can't find the words.  When you end up with a simile like "There was a Spoon-rattling crash of thunder, and the rain began to leave the sky like refugees fleeing a revolution, arriving with nothing but the clothes on their backs and whatever skills they might have acquired in their dark villages," it reads like he's trying to reach a word count his editor dictated as the minimum requirement for his manuscript, else he'll be left out in the rain as a washed-out hack and soon-to-be starving artist who substituted quantity for quality and cobbled-together form for any semblance of true literary substance.

TRACY: Apparently imitation is also the sincerest form of disdain. Your point of view is noted, if not shared. The prosecution may rest, counselor.

The following are from Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume (1984).

Again, I left out all the similes that were literal or very nearly so.  For example, "...were he not panting like a Saint Bernard on avalanche patrol. His face was as red as a Christmas sock, and his heart was pounding so hard that his bow tie was bouncing."

Page copyright 2006 Alexplorer.  Similes copyright 1984 Tom Robbins.
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