If I had to pick one book to take to a desert island with me, this would be it. I don’t know how many times I have passed a rainy weekend lost in the rich scenery and amusing characters of this book. Normally the term “magical realism” applies to the works of Latin American writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but this is one of my favourite examples. If you, like myself, are a visual reader who sees a book as a movie in your mind as you read, this will be full of bright colours and incongruous images. Unlike Canadian writers whose backdrop is all muted hues of blue, grey, green and brown with a dark sky and constant drizzle, Fierce Invalids is full of yellow, red, bright shades of green and blue and, of course, orange. The cover doesn’t lie, folks.
It is the story of Switters, a CIA agent unexpectedly confined to a wheelchair by a mystical event. The chair does nothing to slow him down, however. He galavants throughout much of the world in search of answers and comes across an oasis of nuns in the middle of a desert, travels to the rainforest to set free his grandmother Maestra’s parrot and throughout the whole book has a lecherous email correspondendce with his young step-sister, Suzy. By turns fascinating, magnetic and despicable, Switters is one character who will not cease to entertain and surprise you. Read it. You will love it.