Scribe by Night
I'm reading Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates at the moment, and it's pissing me off rather seriously. After the Villa Incognito debacle, perhaps I should have written old Tom off, but in the interim I read Still Life With Woodpecker, which came nowhere near the brilliance of Skinny Legs and All or Jitterbug Perfume, but at least had a little of that certain something that makes those two what they are.
It's notable that Skinny Legs, Jitterbug, and Still Life are told largely from the point of view of the heroine; Villa crawls inside the hairy, unpleasant mind of its male characters to a much greater degree (although the the Toy Surprise Lady Tanuki Tamer is nominally a main character), and Fierce Invalids, at least so far, is almost exclusively from the main (male) character's vantage point—so nearly exclusively, in fact, that it was almost not worth bothering with a 3PO narrator.
As for his disservice to womenfolk in Fierce Invalids, we're left to accept the word of his Robbins' "hero" that the object of his lust (said hero's 16-year-old stepsister) is just so gosh-darn desirable that any sane man would be dying for her. And when I say we have to accept the hero's word, I mean that the lust object isn't even introduced until 1/3 into the book, and she has no redeeming qualities beyond a unique smell and a cliched rump, both of which are hyperdescribed to the point that I'm spontaneously slipping into a state of transcendental meditation every time they come up.
But this is only tangentially about the book pissing me off. I took what I'd hoped to be a brief bath (it was already late) tonight, and found myself at what promised to be a critical point in the book. This being Robbins, the plot-critical elements were put off in favor of some justification-critical ruminations on the Virgin Mary, particularly her incarnation at Fatima. Catholic visionary twaddle, particularly late at night, when visions of 69-in armadillos are dancing through my head, still has some power to freak me out just a little bit. Call it trickle-down mania or proof that no one escapes my natal home entirely unscarred, but the big VM is particularly freak making.
So anyway, off to bed I went, now trying to banish Portugal as well as Georgia from my overactive mind. I gave sleep the old college try, but it was pretty clear from the get go that it wasn't happening. So I got up, figuring I'd read for a bit. As I came down the stairs, I noticed that the front hall was pulsing with blue light. Virgin on the brain notwithstanding, my first thought was:
So I moved to the big window to peer around the screen, expecting—I don't really know, now that I think about it: I guess a squad car sitting on top of my innocent Corolla in the driveway? But the further I moved into the room, the clearer it was that ZOMG! The light was coming from inside the house!
Rest easy, fellow passengers on the swift boat to hell, the Virgin has not sought me out to convey her demand for a new and exciting appellation, complete with superfly street tag. It was just M's geeky new umbrella sending messages to the mothership. I've said from the first that thing is the first pebble of the avalanche leading directly to the robot holocaust, but at least it's unlikely to demand that we build a shrine to its aspect as the Radio-Controlled Aluminum Co-Redemptrix. So there's that.