Invalids follow the wheelchair bound protagonist, Switters, across four continents as he experiences love and danger. Robbins "explores, challenges, mocks, and celebrates virtually every major aspect of our mercurial era."(Quote from the hardcover book jacket.)
Robbins has stated in numerous interviews that in this book he was trying to deal with contradiction, but rather than avoiding his contradictory nature, his character embraces it. He's a CIA agent but despises the government. He's a pacifist but carries a gun. He's as much in love with his 17-year-old stepsister as he is with a 46-year-old nun. Switters feels that the core of the universe and the basis of human existence, is the paradox of light and dark co-existing together. One is not separate from the other; they just co-exist . This is the main idea of "Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates", along with an interest in the Lady of Fatima and a squawking parrot. The title of the novel comes from Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell , in which he daydreams about becoming one of "ces féroces infirmes retour des pays chauds."