Searching for an intriguing book
October 31, 2006 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Help my roommate locate a certain book about an ancient king who discovers the secret to immortality, lives for hundreds of years, and now owns a fragrance shop in Paris.

The king ran away because the custom in his land was for the king to be killed upon the first grey hair on his head. He ran to India and met a girl who was running because the custom in her land was to bury the bride alive with her husband. They get married and discover the secret to long life from a tribe of Kamasutrics - it involves bathing at a certain temperature and making love constantly. But you the reader have no idea any of this is coming, because the first chapter is all about the difficulties of making a long-lasting fragrance, and specifically about beads.

It sounds like a wonderful book. When my roommate first read it it had no cover and he never knew the title. He's searched for it before but never found it. He mentioned it today because 'Little Shop of Horrors' is on TV and Mushnick's flower shop reminded him of the king's fragrance store.
posted by PercussivePaul to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 8:39 PM on October 31, 2006

Response by poster: Bam. that must be it.

posted by PercussivePaul at 8:44 PM on October 31, 2006

Wow, in 60 seconds, too.
posted by zek at 8:45 PM on October 31, 2006

Response by poster: I know. It's really impressive and why I love this site.

Spiro- d'oh!
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:49 PM on October 31, 2006

Now that I have a sec I'll fill in some details. It was one of my hippie ex's favorite book. It's bawdy and earthy like most Robbins but is on a more epic scale. IMHO it's his best book, though Another Roadside Attraction where the hippies steal the body of Christ from the Vatican basement and have Catholic hit squad chasing them is pretty good too. I see it in used bookstores everywhere around here (central Alabama) so cheap copies should be easily available.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 8:53 PM on October 31, 2006

Response by poster: Well, my roommate was so excited that I think he's already ordered it from Amazon. I've actually never read any Tom Robbins but he's an author I've been meaning to check out so I look forward to borrowing the book when it arrives! Thanks.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:16 PM on October 31, 2006

Great guys... I just spent 40 bucks in the used bookstore the other day. But this book sounds good (I've never read Robbins before) and I'm now on the look out for it over at ABE books. I love ABE.
posted by aristan at 9:17 PM on October 31, 2006

My favorite book. Meet me in Cognito, baby. In Cognito, we'll have nothing to hide.
posted by beetsuits at 9:26 PM on October 31, 2006

His metaphors are out of control.
posted by granted at 9:53 PM on October 31, 2006

That's BEETS, not beads, the kamasutrics are the Bandaloop, there is a perfumery in France whose owner is wearing a whale mask, then there's the Jamaican with bees on his head, a moody waitress, and the Great God Pan.

I love that book.
posted by disclaimer at 4:57 AM on November 1, 2006

I picked Jitterbug Perfume up on a whim because the cover caught my eye. After enjoying the books whackiness twice I bought a copy for a friend and another for myself. :)

Though I haven't taken to his other books in such a way Jitterbug has made my top five.
posted by jofuu at 7:19 AM on November 1, 2006

Response by poster: Beets - of course! Now it makes sense. My roommate has a bit of an accent and I thought he was saying beads. But this is another reason why he suddenly remembered the book: he had just finished cooking a pot of sugared beets!

Still it looks like he got most of the story right. He said he first read it in 1984 so that's pretty impressive.
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:56 AM on November 1, 2006

My favorite book as well.
posted by toastchee at 9:31 AM on November 1, 2006

I second the out of control metaphors. He is an evil genius.
posted by Darth Fedor at 10:29 AM on November 1, 2006

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