Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

  • by Tom Robbins
  • Narrated by Keith Szarabajka
  • 16 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 cyber whiz 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). And as we dog Switters' 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. 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 the embroidered memories of old Terry and the Pirates comic books."

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What the Critics Say



Winner, 2001 Audie Award, Fiction, Unabridged
"Tom Robbins... has again deputized himself to carry the freak flag of irreverence and fleshly indulgence." (The New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What a riot!

Perhaps the funniest audiobook I've heard. Add to that Tom Robbins' entertaining use of the language and rich character development, and this is one of the all-time best.
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- Andy Spooner

Wildly entertaining-excellent naration!

If you find the beginning slow or confusing, stick with it, after ten or fifteen minutes it will all begin to congeal and you will be hooked and submersed completely.

I've been an avid audio book listener for about fifteen years, an Audible member for several years, and this is quite possibly my all-time favorite. The narration of this is perfect, in my opinion. Keith Szarabajka did such an outstanding job reading, his characters came to life more vibrantly than any other audio book I have listened to. The story is engrossing and seductive, with moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity. Obvious high points include Maestra's character and her relationship with Switters, which is hysterical. The voices of the random and vastly different characters were so well done that at no point did I ever have to try to figure out who was speaking (which does happen rather often with heavy dialog in audio books). Robbin's entertaining use of language and his skillful weaving of cultural details makes reading or listening to this book feel like a journey. To anyone who has traveled in third world countries and ventured outside the beaten path of the big cities, the descriptions of Switters' adventures will ring bells.

Being a woman and a feminist, I beg to differ with the two reviewers who claim this book is not suitable for most women. It's likely to offend the people who don't "get" Robbins voice. He addresses taboo subjects in a very unapologetic way, but his stories are like onions--they have layers. Pay attention.

Sixteen hours of good stuff. What a bargain! And so many great one-liners that you will be insisting your friends read or listen to it so they will get your jokes. I laughed so hard at a few passages that I had to loan my headphones to the stranger sitting next to me on a flight, in order to explain, and even though he only listened to a few minutes of it, he was laughing out loud himself and writing the name of the book down, thanking me. You will too!
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- Rupa

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-30-2000
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio