My first Tom Robbins book. I struggled a little to start, but the back story and the present story blended nicely together, and caught my attention quickly. He has an interesting writing style, and I will probably check out some of his more recent work.
Alobar was a really interesting character for me, and I connected with him on many levels. It was his struggle with life and immortality that kept me reading. His interaction with Pan was funny and at times touching, while his lessons in life, and his attitude towards death were amusing, challenging, and eventually rewarding. In contrast, the stories of Priscilla and the perfumers were not as enjoyable, and I found myself waiting for the story to return to Alobar.
I could tell pretty quickly that the style of Mr. Robbins' writing is what allows readers to either enjoy his work, or turn away. Much of the prose was witty and imaginative, and I sometimes found myself chuckling over the juxtaposition of ideas and thoughts in a single sentence. Alas, at other times he resorted to simply long pedantic lists of objects or characteristics that I honestly started skipping.
I have seen comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams, but to me he falls more closely in line with Terry Pratchett. If his writing tended more towards the creative language and less the rambling descriptions as his career continued, I think I will enjoy his new material greatly.