Monday, November 01, 2004

Jitterbug Perfume

Tonight at the book group we discussed Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

I’d not read anything by him before but love the film Even Cowgirls Get the Blues that is adapted from one of his other novels.

I didn’t have time to finish Jitterbug Perfume, but definitely due to lack of time rather than any lack of interest or enthusiasm. It seems my impressions to date were in line with the majority of the group who enjoyed its boisterous energy and flights of fancy.

A couple of people were more ambivalent about it, struggling with the whole lack of structure and conventional form that is eschewed by the fantasy genre. This led to a fascinating discussion about how and why some people can ‘go with the flow’ and let a book take them where it wants, whereas others struggle with the lack of rules and control.

It seems that these feelings transfer into other areas of the arts as well, with the same division between those who love abstract and expressionist paintings and those who prefer works that follow more conventional rules.

Personally I love being able to escape my everyday world of control, logic and form into art that takes you out of this to new unimagined places. Letting go is a definite pleasure when led by the skilled and safe chaperon of the talented author or painter.

However if a novel is going to dispense with the ‘inconvenience’ of reality, then something more is surely demanded of it as a result. If your plot and characters are unrestricted, then personal I want to see poetry and beauty in the places your imagination takes me…and through that beauty a truth of its on emerges.

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