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.
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1 . One of his best
Posted May 13, 2009 by bookworm , TorontoTom Robbins at his best
December 31, 1985
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Excerpt from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
The citadel was dark, and the heroes were sleeping. When they breathed, it sounded as if they were testing the air for dragon smoke.
On their sofas of spice and feathers, the concubines also slept fretfully. In those days, the earth was till flat, and people dreamed often of falling over edges.
Blacksmiths hammered the Edge Serpent on the anvils of their closed eyelids. Wheelwrights rolled it, tail in mouth, down the cart roads of their slumber. Cooks roasted it in dream pits, seamstresses sewed it to the badge hides that covered them, the court necromancer traced its contours in the constellation of straw on which he tossed. Only the babes in the nursery lay peacefully, passive even to the fleas that supped on their tenderness.
King Alobar did not sleep well at all. He was as awake as the guards at the gate. More awake, actually, for the guards mused dreamily about mead, boiled beets, and captive women as their eyes patrolled the forested horizon, while the king was as conscious as an unsheathed knife; coldly conscious and warmly troubled. Beside him, inside the ermine blankets, his great hound, Mik, and his wife, Alma, snoozed the night away, oblivious to their lord's distress. Well, let them snore, for neither the dog's tongue, not the wife's could lap the furrows from his brow, although he had sent for Alma that evening mainly because of her tongue. Alma's mouth, freshly outlined with beet paint, was capable of locking him in a carnal embrace that while it endured forbade any thoughts of the coils beyond the brink. Alas, but it could endure for so long, and no sooner was Alma hiccuping the mushroom scent of his spurt than he was regretting his choice. He should have summoned Wren, his favorite wife, for though Wren lacked Alma's special sexual skills, she knew his heart. He could confide in Wren without fear that his disclosures would be woven into common gossip on the concubines' looms.